2016 grid takes shape as Harrison confirmed at Silicone Engineering Racing
As with most years, silly season is well and truly underway in road racing, but with Christmas fast approaching the pieces are slowly beginning to fall into place as riders and teams confirm their plans for 2016.
Dean Harrison is the latest name to announce a new deal, signing a two-year contract with Paul Iddon’s Silicone Engineering team for a full assault on the roads on Kawasaki machinery.
One of the brightest young prospects in the sport, Harrison is a TT winner and podium finisher at Dundrod, and after a mixed season the 26-year-old is confident of a return to form in 2016.
Harrison said: “As soon as I met Paul and saw the set-up, from the bike preparation to the calibre of the other riders and their knowledge, I knew it was a great opportunity to join a team on the up.
“The flexibility in how the team is run was another plus for me as I can really have an influence on key decisions on the bike, which I believe will take me to greater levels and hopefully bring success to the team.”
Team manager Paul Iddon said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have Dean come on board and join us for the next two years. It is a massive opportunity for Silicone Engineering Racing to take the step to another level and push the team to new heights.”
“We’re a relatively new team to road racing and with Dean’s success and stature we can really grow our brand name and achieve big things in the next couple of years.”
Already confirmed alongside Harrison next season will be man of the moment Lee Johnston, who remains with his East Coast Construction team, while Ian Hutchinson, joins Tyco BMW and the evergreen Bruce Anstey enters his sixth season with Padgetts Honda.
It has also been officially announced that William Dunlop will be riding Yamaha machinery with the CD racing team, in a move that has been widely expected now for a number of weeks.
The rumour mill remains in overdrive for some of the other leading names however, with Peter Hickman thought to be set for a full factory ride in BSB and on the roads with GB Moto Kawasaki, while it is not yet known who will fill the seat at Mar-Train vacated by Harrison.
Michael Dunlop is another who still hasn’t revealed which manufacturer he will represent next season, but he will surely be one of the men to beat as he rekindles his 2014 form. Equally Guy Martin continues to keep the fans guessing with his plans and whether he will return to the roads once again.
Noel Johnston, Clerk of the Course at the Ulster Grand Prix said: “At this point it looks like the Ulster might be the only international road race Guy competes in during 2016.
“He hasn’t confirmed that he is taking part but we are hopeful that there will be positive news – he’s a favourite with the fans and he’s made no secret in the past for his love of the Dundrod circuit.
“We’d be delighted to welcome him back to the World’s Fastest Road Race, and he’d be joining a fantastic line up of experienced names and young talents.
“It’s great to have Dean confirm his plans, not to mention Hutchy and Bruce, and they are just some of the big names.
“There are still lots more announcements to come and even though it’s still nine months until Bike Week kicks off, the excitement is building with all of the changes and new machinery. I’m sure we’re in for a great season.”