Stephen Thompson confirms deal with Bathams BMW

Stephen Thompson at the 2013 Ulster Grand Prix
Stephen Thompson at the 2013 Ulster Grand Prix

Crumlin’s Stephen Thompson will ride for the Bathams BMW team alongside Michael Rutter at the international road races this season.

Thompson also intends to compete at selected national meetings, including the KDM Hire Cookstown 100 on April 26.

“The bikes looks absolutely class in the black livery and I’ve a Superstock bike as well, which I’ve managed to run in already,” he said.

“Michael [Rutter] played a big role in getting this all sorted out for me so I owe him a few pints. The plan at the moment is to race on Easter Saturday at Bishopscourt and again on Easter Monday at Kirkistown as a warm-up for the North West 200.

“I’ll also go to the Cookstown 100 with the Superstock bike and it’ll be more than fast enough for the wee roads. People are interested to see how the Superbike fares this year on the roads and I think it will be right up there at the North West and Ulster Grand Prix,” he added.

“And with Michael Dunlop on a BMW at the TT I think he can make the difference around there too.

“I’d like to try and have a test on the Superbike before the North West 200 but basically that will be my first proper run out on it.”

Thompson, who expects his Superstock and Superbike machines to be closely matched on performance, will also ride a Suzuki GSX-R600 in the Supersport class for the first time at the Isle of Man TT.

“To be honest there’s not a lot between the Superstock BMW and the Superbike. With Bathams running in the British Superbike Championship they’re limited to what they can do with the Superbike, so there isn’t a massive difference between the two engines,” he said.

“I’m pretty excited about it but we’ll take it as it comes. It’s going to be a busy time because after Easter we’ve got the Cookstown and the North West and then it’ll be straight to the Isle of Man for the TT,” he added.

“After the TT I’ll be doing Kells and then I’ve a bit of a break to the Classic TT, where I’m entered in the 500 race and plus I may have a ride in the Formula One race as well.

“So there’s a lot to look forward to and of course I’ll go back to Macau again at the end of the year,” he added.

“I’m running a 600 Suzuki at the TT and the Peoples Bike team are helping me out with a bit of sponsorship with that. I might be a bit big for the bike but I do enjoy riding them and with me coming from a 250cc background it should suit me better on the 600.”

The popular Northern Ireland man has adopted a laid back approach to his racing and it’s a formula that suits Thompson down to the ground.

“I’m not out trying to win championships or anything but I prefer it like this because I can pick and choose what I want to do and it suits me perfectly - I wouldn’t want to be running every single weekend,” he said.

“Over the last few years I’ve really only been riding a Superstock machine and it gives me my best chance because it’s more of a level playing field.

“The bikes are more equal and with a bit of luck we won’t be far away at the likes of the North West 200 in that class.”