North West 200 star Alastair Seeley has been confirmed in Lee Hardy’s RAF BMW team for the 2016 MCE British Superbike Championship.
The 36-year-old from Carrick will return to the class this season after previously sealing his place in the all-important Showdown during his rookie BSB tilt in 2010, when Seeley was victorious in the damp at Brands Hatch.
Seeley will also ride for the team in the Superbike and Superstock classes at the Vauxhall International North West 200, where he is only one win away from becoming the most successful rider ever in the history of the event.
The ‘Wee Wizard’ equalled Robert Dunlop’s record tally of 15 victories with a brilliant treble in 2015 and is a red-hot favourite to secure the solitary triumph he requires in May to write his name into the history books.
He has already signed a deal to ride the Gearlink Kawasaki in the Supersport races at the North West and along with his new BMW S1000RR machinery, Seeley has the tools at his disposal to challenge for the top step in each class.
A British champion in the Superstock 1000 (2009) and Supersport classes (2011), Seeley has set himself a target of finishing in the Showdown top six this year.
“It is great to be back in the Superbike Championship, the elite class, again. I have been there before and know what it takes - I have had some seasons to regroup in Supersport and Superstock and I want to come back and pick up where I left off in 2012,” Seeley said.
“I have obviously been keeping a close eye on BSB and it looks like it is not going to be easy with the level of riders on the grid and everyone is so close on times, but that is good for me and I am ready for the challenge.
“I feel that my experience on the BMW in the Superstock class will help me this season and I am working with crew that I know already, which is a big bonus for me too. I want to start the season strongly, as when I was in the Showdown before you need to get yourself inside the top six and then to maintain it,” he added.
“We have a really good testing programme, so we should be able to start fighting from the opening round and moving forward from there. The team have proven they can be on the podium so I obviously want to try and make that happen again this year and be back in the Showdown again.”
Team owner Hardy added: “I am very pleased to announce that Alastair Seeley will be competing for the Royal Air Force BMW team this season. For me Alastair has a large amount of unfinished business within the elite class and has a wealth of experience in BSB.
“Previously he has been a Showdown contender and also a race winner so the pedigree is there, we have an extensive testing schedule planned for most of March including many new parts to test.
“I am confident we can get the bike to how Alastair requires it and with confidence comes results; he could be a dark horse and one to watch,” he added.
“It’s great news for the team to have the Royal Air Force on board again for the 2016 season. Briggs Equipment are continuing their support after such a successful season in 2015.
“Andrew and Emma Martin have been instrumental in the success of the team and they are looking forward to the season ahead. Thank you to all the team’s sponsors and supporters and hopefully we can bring you success in 2016.”