Ulster Grand Prix winner Derek McGee will ride a TAS Racing-prepared BMW Superstock machine at the Irish National road races this year.
McGee - who earned his maiden win on the international stage in the Supertwin class at Dundrod last August - will continue to be sponsored by Noel Williamson, who hails from Portglenone but runs a plastering business in Swords near Dublin, where he has lived for the past 20 years.
Williamson has been involved with Mullingar prospect McGee for the past three seasons and has stepped up his involvement with the 2015 Irish and Ulster Supertwin champion, supplying him with a new S1000RR.
The machine will run under the NW Racing banner and McGee will benefit from BMW Motorrad support, with a quick-release swinging arm being provided for the Superbike and Senior races at this year’s Isle of Man TT.
McGee, third in last year’s Irish National Superbike Road Race Championship behind William Dunlop and Derek Sheils, said his key focus in 2016 is the legendary Tourist Trophy races on the infamous Mountain Course, where he made a solid debut last year and lapped in excess of 124mph on Wilson Craig’s Honda Superstock machine in the Senior.
“I’m really happy to do the Irish National meetings, as I feel that the atmosphere is so much better at them and more relaxed,” said McGee, who began last year in Craig’s colours before parting company from the team following the TT, returning to his own Kawasaki Superstock and Yamaha Supersport machines for the remainder of the season along with the Wogan Performance Kawasaki Supertwin.
“The main race for us is definitely the TT and we’ll use the North West 200 to get the speed sorted and then refresh the bike for the Island.
“I’m looking forward to riding the BMW as it’s a proven bike and should be the tool that we need.”
McGee’s sponsor Williamson is confident the unassuming Irish rider will take another step forward this year and is keen to play a pivotal role in his career development.
“I saw the potential in Derek and once I got talking to him I made the move to go with him,” he said.
“I see Derek’s riding progressing and I want to be involved as we go through the process. It seems to be coming together very well and this is the first year that we will have a competitive package from the start.”
“I’m very happy with the big bike and I think that Derek will go very well on it,” he added.
“We’ll know where we are at after the North West, and we’re really looking forward to a good TT.
“BMW Motorrad is really top class and they’ve been brilliant to us so far; we’re looking forward to working closely with them and TAS during the year.
“TAS Racing have given us a lot of help and guidance and they have set up the bike the way we want it and they’ll be there with technical assistance during the year,” he added.
“They’ve learned a lot with William [Dunlop] and Guy [Martin] and they’ve passed so much on to us.”
McGee’s first race will be the Easter Monday short circuit meeting at Kirkistown before the Irish road racing season blasts off the following weekend with the Mid-Antrim 150 on April 2.