John Burrows has come good on his pledge to stay involved with road racing after confirming Stephen Thompson and Nigel Moore will form an all-Ulster line-up on his Cookstown/BE Engineering machines in 2013.
A former mainstay of national road racing, Burrows quit the sport along with fellow Dungannon racer Ryan Farquhar last year following the death of his close friend Trevor Ferguson in a crash at the Manx Grand Prix.
However, the 40-year-old vowed to ‘give something back’ to road racing and officially became a fully-fledged team boss this week when he unveiled Crumlin man Thompson and Manx GP winner Moore as his riders for the season ahead.
Thompson will ride a Suzuki GXSR1000 Superbike for Burrows at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau and selected national events, while Moore - who also hails from Dungannon - will compete in the Supertwin class at the national road races plus the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
In a cruel twist of irony last year, Moore won the ill-fated Supertwin race that claimed Trevor Ferguson’s life at the Manx GP, when both men were competing in Ryan Farquhar’s famous KMR colours.
Given the circumstances, his achievement paled into relative insignificance, but Moore is a largely underrated competitor who should give a good account of himself in the 650cc class this year.
Burrows told the News Letter he would never have been able to sever his links with road racing completely, regardless of his own decision to hang up his leathers.
“I didn’t just want to turn my back on road racing and walk away because I feel the sport is at a point where it is struggling a bit and it will be hard this year with obviously myself, Ryan and Adrian [Archibald] having retired,” he said.
“I feel I have two riders who are very capable but at the same time there is no pressure on them coming from me.
“I’m delighted that I managed to keep Cookstown on board because they are a good, local sponsor and without them none of this would be possible.
“H2 Engineering are on board too and my supporters club and it’s thanks to them that I can run a team this year.”
Thompson - who will ride the ex-TAS Suzuki on which Bruce Anstey set the outright lap record of almost 134mph at Dundrod in 2010 - said he was ‘excited’ to be part of Burrows’ plans.
“I got talking with John a few weeks ago and the more we talked the better it sounded, so I thought I’d go for it. We need to keep people like John in the sport because he does run a good, professional set-up,” he said.
“The TT is the main thing and I’d like to try and lap at over 125mph and I’m hoping John will bring me on a bit because of his experience. If I can lap consistently at 125mph then I don’t think I’d be far away from the top 12,” he added.
“I’m quite excited by it.”
Thompson will also ride a BMW S1000RR Superstock machine with backing from The People’s Bike team plus a Kawasaki Supertwin in the Lightweight race at the TT.