TAS Racing boss Philip Neill pays tribute to Adrian Archibald

Adrian Archibald with TAS Suzuki bosses Hector and Philip Neill (right) at the Isle of Man TT in 2003
Adrian Archibald with TAS Suzuki bosses Hector and Philip Neill (right) at the Isle of Man TT in 2003

TAS Racing boss Philip Neill has paid a warm tribute to road racer Adrian Archibald, who this week confirmed that he is unlikely ever to race again.

The Ballymoney rider famously triumphed in the face of adversity in 2003, winning the Formula One and Senior races at the TT following the tragic death of his teammate and Island legend David Jefferies in a horror smash during practice.

Archie, who went on to win the iconic Senior TT trophy again in 2004 for the Northern Ireland team, enjoyed a glittering career that includes six Ulster Grand Prix wins, a North West 200 victory and well in excess of 100 successes at the national meetings.

He has opted to pull out of the sport due to a lack of finances.

Archibald had paddled his own canoe in recent seasons under the AMA Racing banner, but rode for Red Bull Honda prior to his switch to the TAS Suzuki team in his heyday.

Team manager Neill described the self-effacing County Antrim man’s Formula One and Senior double in 2003 as “super-impressive” and hailed the feat as one of the greatest moments in TAS Racing’s extraordinary success story at the TT, despite being achieved against a backdrop of sadness following Jefferies fatal accident.

“He had a great year all round results-wise and obviously it was a difficult year for us as a team,” said Neill in an interview with Manx Radio.

“I think that’s what makes Adrian’s achievements that season – not only during the TT but also during the rest of the year – all the more remarkable.

“I personally probably know more than most the work that Adrian put into that season.

“He had worked harder than he ever had before in his racing life and had got himself into fantastic physical condition.

“We had obviously worked hard on the range of Suzukis as we do every year and the package was right,” added Neill.

“Unfortunately the circumstances were very sad during the Isle of Man TT but David’s family fully supported our decision to continue and Adrian’s desire to continue and they were there backing him when he took the chequered flag twice that week.

“It was never really in doubt [to continue racing] provided we had the support of the Jefferies family, which we did.

“Adrian got the job done and I don’t think there are very many characters who could’ve delivered in that situation the way Adrian did.”