Simon Andrews will return to the Vauxhall International North West 200 in May with Honda UK backing in the RAF Reserves Racing Team.
The Evesham rider is aiming to build on his stunning fourth place result in the main Superbike race last year when he finished behind the experienced trio of Alastair Seeley, Michael Rutter and John McGuinness on only his second visit to the North Coast meeting on the Honda TT Legends Fireblade.
Andrews’ season was blighted by injury soon afterwards following a serious crash in the Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT, which forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
He suffered a broken collarbone, wrist and ankle in the spill at Graham Memorial but made a successful comeback at the Macau Grand Prix in November, finishing on the rostrum in third place behind Rutter and Martin Jessopp.
Andrews will again contest the Endurance World Championship in the TT Legends team this season but has joined the RAF Reserves Honda outfit to challenge for the National Superstock 1000 title and bid for honours at the North West and TT on a factory-supported Fireblade.
The team was established with backing from Honda UK as part of a high-profile recruitment campaign for the Royal Air Force and is managed by former racer Lee Hardy, an employee of the Forward Engineering Support Squadron at RAF Marham.
Andrews – the fastest newcomer at the North West 200 in 2011 – will also benefit from technical support provided by the race engineers of the Samsung Honda British Superbike team.
“The project appealed to me from the outset and I was very interested to be a part of it – being the rider who carries the responsibility of a recruiting campaign is pretty exciting,” he said.
“I am looking forward to working with the RAF Reserves race team this season and it will provide me with an excellent opportunity to keep sharp throughout the season in between racing duties with the Honda TT Legends and the road racing calendar.
“I think together we will make a good team.”
Andrews – best TT newcomer in 2011 – will also ride Honda machinery in the Supersport class this year for Paul Shoesmith’s Ice Valley by Motorsave outfit.