Gearlink Kawasaki team owner Michael de Bidaph sees no need to run a second rider alongside Alastair Seeley as he zeroes in on Supersport silverware at next year’s Vauxhall International North West 200.
Carrick man Seeley will ride for the Salisbury outfit in the British Supersport Championship in 2013 alongside Ben Wilson, who was the 33-year-old’s arch-rival in the series last year, when Seeley prevailed in a final-round thriller to lift the title for Northern Ireland team Tyco Suzuki.
The eight-times North West 200 winner has switched back to the 600cc division after struggling to make his mark in the British Superbike class this season.
Seeley, a hat-trick winner on the North Coast in May in the Superstock, Supersport and Superbike races, retains his status as the rider to beat at the North West, when he will also link up with Nick Morgan’s MSS Kawasaki team for the feature classes.
Gearlink owner De Bidaph plans to devote the team’s resources solely to Seeley as he attempts to seal a high-profile debut roads victory for his British championship team at international level, all but ruling out the prospect of Seeley’s teammate Wilson making his bow at the North West next May.
“We’re determined to put a package together that Alastair can win on at the North West and we’re coming over to win those Supersport races - that’s what we want,” he told the News Letter.
“I want to give him everything we can to try and win and sometimes you can take on more than what you should and then you don’t do quite as well.
“At this moment in time I don’t plan on running anyone else but in my eyes nothing is ever written in stone and we’ll see how things pan out next year.
“Ben’s been over this year for a look around the circuit at the North West because we were there as a team and Steve Plater took him around the track, but I’m not sure the event is for Ben,” added De Bidaph.
“I must say though that Ben quite liked the look of the circuit but I’m not sure he’s ready to do the North West at this moment in time.
“I’ve already had another rider expressing an interest in riding one of my bikes at the North West who’d be quite competitive, but it would be a lot of work to try and put another bike together that would be running at the front and I don’t want to take anything away from Alastair.”
De Bidaph brought his Gearlink Kawasaki team to the North West for the first time this year and had no hesitation in committing to a return, despite suffering a massive setback when Scotsman Mark Buckley was fatally injured in an horrific accident in the Superstock event.
Mr Buckley, from Loch Lomond, was riding the Splitlath Redmond Aprilia when the crash occurred, but was competing for Gearlink Kawasaki in the Supersport races.
It was not the first time the Gearlink team had been left reeling by the death of a rider, with young teenager Ben Gautrey (18) tragically losing his life after a crash in the National Superstock 600 race at Cadwell Park in August 2011.