William Dunlop leads Halsall Racing TT campaign
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Team owner Martin Halsall has been a long standing passionate and loyal supporter of road racing. A regular attendee at the Isle of Man, the Lancashire based entrepreneur has always been open about his desire to one day compete with the team across the International circuits.
“This has certainly been a personal ambition of mine to make a move towards this discipline of the sport”, stated Halsall. “Road racing is a truly unique experience, with so much passion and energy. There has never been a better time to take this step and I am really excited about the prospects ahead.”
Halsall and Dunlop had initially examined options for a partnership back in 2013. “It’s true that we had explored possibilities previously, but the timing was not right. If I cannot give one hundred percent to a project, I won’t do it. It’s that simple. We’ve continually maintained dialogue with a view towards potentially working together in the future. Now is the time and I can give William my full attention for our roads campaign in 2017.”
Halsall arrives on the roads with vast experience and professionalism has been gleaned from years of running a team in the domestic short circuit series. The owner certainly has the knowledge to deliver a leading package and remains highly confident about the task ahead. “This will be a challenge for sure, but I am optimistic about our potential prospects,” stated the owner. “With our proven ability to operate a leading race team, coupled with William’s extensive roads knowledge, we can make this very successful. I know how to build a team and we will be recruiting key individuals with unparalleled experience in road racing to ensure that our package is the best. Our focus and attention will be on William and on him alone. He will have the right infrastructure around him and it will be dedicated to ensuring he has everything he needs to be successful."
No details have been provided on the machinery that the team will be running with a further announcement expected in January. However it is understood that both Halsall and Dunlop are considering a ‘variety of options’. “With no ties to any one manufacturer, this offers the flexibility for us as a privateer team to select the right tools for the job and choose the most suitable bikes for each discipline. Bikes that William feels can give him the best opportunity across each of the classes. He will have whatever he needs for Superbike, Superstock and Supersport. We are being guided by his experience and choice of manufacturer. Our aim is to confirm this fully in the coming weeks and months.” added Halsall.
Having finalised an agreement with Halsall Racing earlier this week, thirty-one year old Dunlop outlined how the opportunity with the Lancashire based team was certainly worth the wait. “Martin runs a very strong team and you only have to look at what he has done and achieved on the short circuits to see that he ensures everything is done in the correct way. It’s sleek, professional and highly driven. To have the team dedicated to me alone, will certainly raise my game. It’s the ride that I have been seeking and it’s been worth the wait to finally get this agreement in place. We’ll be learning a great deal along the way, but I’m confident we can deliver some success in 2017 and I can’t wait to get started. This is also an opportunity for me to express my thanks to the loyal supporters and sponsors that have backed me in 2016 and have been extremely positive about the move to Halsall Racing. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support”, stated the Ballymoney rider.
The team will begin an extensive programme of Spanish and UK testing during the early part of the New Year. “Time on the bike is so important ahead of the new season”, commented Dunlop. “It worked this season as we saw, particularly on the Superbike at the TT for riders that had the preparation before the start of the roads season. I was not as sharp at the start of 2016 because I had very limited time on the bike in those opening months. By the time we arrived at Portrush, that deficiency was very clear for me. It really set the tone for my season and I don’t want to be in that position next year. Our plan with Halsall Racing is to ensure that I am in the best form by the time we arrive for the North West 200”, concluded Dunlop.
The main focus for the team will be the three main International road races, but owner Halsall also indicated that further to discussion with the rider, a number of Irish road events ‘may be considered’ as part of the 2017 schedule, but emphasised that the full programme of events would be released in the New Year.