British Supersport team owner Rob Winfield has tipped Northern Ireland’s John Simpson to make a big impact in 2013 after the Antrim man was confirmed in his Oxford TAG Triumph outfit.
Simpson rode for the Splitlath Redmond team in 2012 and was a surprise winner of the Senior race at the Manx Grand Prix on his debut on the Mountain circuit.
The 22-year-old won the British Supersport Cup in 2011 and began the 2012 season in the European Superstock series before taking up the challenge of the Manx Grand Prix.
He joins the experienced Scott Smart in the TAG Triumph team to contest the 2013 British Supersport Championship, plus Richard Cooper and Shaun Winfield.
“We are delighted to settle our rider line-up before Christmas,” said team boss Winfield.
“The new bikes have just arrived at our workshops and we are working hard to develop them ahead of our pre-season testing programme.
“John’s got a great record on Triumphs, having started out in the T3 challenge before winning the Supersport Cup and experiencing a short spell in European Superstock, all on Daytona 675s.
“At 22, he’s got a great future ahead of him and I hope that we can help take his career to another level.”
Meanwhile, Omagh girl Nicole McAleer will ride in the British National Superstock 600 class in 2013 after signing with Gearlink Kawasaki.
McAleer and British Motostar champion, Luke Hedger, will spearhead Michael de Bidaph’s team in the class.
Ben Wilson and Carrick’s Alastair Seeley will also ride for Gearlink Kawasaki next season, when the pair enter the Supersport championship among the leading contenders for the title.
McAleer (20) took a year out from the British paddock to compete in the Thundersport series in 2012 but returns to the Superstock 600 division with a top team.
“I’m really happy to be riding for Gearlink Kawasaki in 2013 as I’ve always been close with Norma and Michael [de Bidaph] while I was racing at BSB and I always knew it was a great, close-working team,” she said.