Mark Wilkes to partner Tim Reeves, TT 2017
Tim Reeves and Klaffi Racing Honda are targeting more sidecar success at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy in June with the former race winner looking to add to his 2013 victory.
The multiple World and British Champion will continue his association with triple TT winner Klaus Klaffenbock on the roads in 2017 but he has a new passenger, to the Mountain Course at least, with Mark Wilkes taking over from Patrick Farrance.
It will be Wilkes’ debut appearance at the TT Races but he is no stranger to road racing with Reeves with the pairing having dominated the 2015 Southern 100 road races. Despite it being the Kent youngster’s first ever road race, he took to the Billown circuit with consummate ease resulting in two commanding victories including the feature Southern 100 Championship.
The pair have also competed in British Championship races together and looked set to clinch the 2015/16 New Zealand Championship after dominating the early races. However, Wilkes suffered serious neck injuries after a road bike accident although he bounced back last season and, alongside Reeves, won the F2 sidecar races at the re-introduced Imatra road races in Finland.
Reeves is confident Wilkes can cope with the rigours of the 37.73-mile circuit and while competing against the likes of Ben and Tom Birchall, Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle and John Holden/Lee Cain shows the strength of competition, the Kent driver is confident of another successful time on the island. The fastest newcomer in the history of the event, Reeves has been competing at the TT since 2008 and now has a total of six podiums to his name, with his most recent the third place in the second three-lap Sidecar race last year.
Wilkes has started his preparation in earnest, having already visited the island as part of the Joey Dunlop Foundation’s newcomer initiatives. With a number of laps already under his belt, he has a number of other weekend visits already scheduled, as well as studying on-board laps, to ensure he is as fully prepared as possible for his TT debut.
“I’m delighted to be contesting the 2017 International road races with Klaffi once more and I’m fully focused on having a successful campaign. The competition will be as tough as ever but I’ve got a great team and great support behind me and we’re fully focused on success at this year’s TT. Whilst it will be Mark’s first time at the TT, he’s already proven his ability on the roads both at the Southern 100 and Imatra, especially the former, and with a good week of practice under our belts, I’m confident we’ll be there or thereabouts in the two races.”