By Kyle White Belfast Newsletter.
Northern Ireland’s Wilson Craig Racing Team has signed former MotoGP rider Chris Burns to contest the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT in 2021.
The 38-year-old from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne will make his debut at both events on Honda machinery next year.
Burns has a wealth of experience having contested the MotoGP class from 2003-04 with the Harris-WCM Team, joining German rider Ralf Waldmann in the line-up.
He has also competed in the British Superbike Championship, European Superstock, Dutch Superbikes and the IDM German Superbike Championship, when he partnered Formula One legend Michael Schumacher in the Holzhauer Honda Team.
“I had to take a step back from racing in 2012 for various reasons but coming back to try my hand on the roads has always been my plan,” added Burns.
“I am really excited about 2021. Darren and the team have been fantastic and we are all chasing the same goals. I’m looking forward to experiencing the North West 200 for the first time and I’m doing as much homework as I can at the moment learning the TT course.
“I am physically fitter than I’ve ever been so I just can’t wait to get back out there and see what we can achieve.
Darren Gilpin, who took over the Ulster team following former owner Wilson Craig’s death in 2019, said Burns was an exciting addition to the team as he joins up with Antrim’s Steven Smith.
“Pure road racing is something that Chris has wanted to do for some time, and we will build him a Honda CBR600RR for the task in hand,” said Gilpin.
“We are really looking forward to working with Chris. He has extensive experience at all levels of racing including MotoGP, British Superbike, German and Dutch Superbike Championships.
“Obviously Covid-19 may still yet alter our plans for the season ahead; that being the case we are hopeful we can put extra budget in place to compete at selected British Supersport rounds,” he added.
“Although a different discipline to MotoGP, Chris will be able to adapt quickly given his experience.
“It is also very exciting to bring a world championship level rider to the Irish race scene. We are all looking forward to the season ahead.”