The highly experienced MAR British Superbike Championship team has confirmed it will contest the Isle of Man TT Races for the first time in 2009.
Owned and managed by Stoke Golding’s Malcolm Ashley, the MAR squad has been participating in the British Championship since 2003, when Ashley took his Ducati to eighth overall in the Privateer’s Cup.
The next year he secured ninth place, but significant strides were made in 2005 when, following a switch to Kawasaki machinery, Ashley took one win and six podiums on his way to fifth championship. The best year so far came in 2007, when nine more podiums took him to fourth in the championship.
Ashley scaled down his racing activities in 2008, but still claimed another ninth place in the championship table. Australian rider Shannon Etheridge recorded a string of top six finishes for team and took seventh overall, ensuring another successful year for MAR.
For 2009, MAR has signed reigning Irish Superbike Champion Brian McCormack for a full assault on the Daily Star Privateer’s Cup. In addition to the short circuit season, the team will also contest a busy programme at the TT - further proof of the success of the rider recruitment programme and the resurgence of the races.
Waterford’s McCormack was part of the Newcomer’s visit in August last year and immediately signalled his intentions to compete in 2009, something that has now come to fruition with one of the most professional and experienced teams in the BSB paddock.
Speaking about his TT debut, which will see him contest both the Superbike and Senior races, the 25-year old McCormack said:
“I’m delighted to have joined the MAR team not only for the British Superbike Championship, but also for the Isle of Man TT. I really enjoyed my visit to the Island last August and, as it was a longstanding ambition of mine to race at the TT, I made my mind up there and then to compete at this year’s race.’
‘I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do both BSB and the TT with the same team, but MAR are 100% committed to me to do both. I’m really excited about making my debut on the TT course with one of the most respected, professional and experienced teams within the BSB paddock. I have no doubt they will be able to transform their BSB experience onto the roads and it’s a terrific prospect for both myself and the team.’
Team manager Malcolm Ashley said:
‘We are very excited to secure the signature of the reigning ISB Champion and equally excited to be participating in the TT for the first time. We’ve been huge fans of the TT for some time now and with Brian expressing his desire to compete it made perfect sense for us to be able to assist him with that.’
‘We’re well aware of the huge task in front of us, but we’re totally committed to the TT this year and I’m sure our BSB experience and knowledge will be of great value to us on the Island.’
Tourism and Leisure Minister Martyn Quayle added:
‘The profile of the TT is rising every year with more established teams coming across to compete from the BSB than ever before.’
‘Both MAR and their rider Brian McCormack enjoy a high profile and they are welcome additions to our event. I am sure our visitors from Southern Ireland will be following Brian’s progress with interest.’