Bingley Bullet Ian Hutchinson has been handed the chance to ride the Tyco BMW Superbike in this weekend’s MCE BSB Showdown round at Assen.
Hutchinson will join the Moneymore team’s regular British Superbike riders Michael Laverty and Christian Iddon on the full Superbike-spec S1000RR as the Yorkshire rider makes his debut at the legendary ‘Cathedral of Speed’.
The 37-year-old has excelled this season in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship and is currently second in the standings ahead of the final round at Brands Hatch next month.
Scotland’s Taylor Mackenzie wrapped up the title at Donington Park in the previous round for the Buildbase BMW team but Hutchinson has exceeded expectations in the class after initially being entered in the series with the aim of complementing his international road racing programme.
The 14-time Isle of Man TT winner said: “I’m very grateful to my Tyco BMW team for giving me the opportunity to ride in the British Superbike class this weekend at Assen.
“It’s been a great season for me this year with Tyco BMW and although I’ve never been to the Assen circuit, I hope to be able to do both myself, and the team justice on the S1000RR Superbike in both races.”
Hutchinson returned to the sensational form he displayed prior to his career-threatening accident in 2010 this year, winning the Superstock race at the North West 200 and repeating his 2015 treble at the Isle of Man TT with a double in the Supersport races on the Came BPT Yamaha and another Superstock victory on the Tyco BMW S1000RR.
He ended the major international season in style with a dominant four-timer at the Ulster Grand Prix last month, taking wins in both Superbike races for the Ulster team and completing a clean sweep of Superstock victories at the big three road races.
Hutchy also won the second Supersport race after a thrilling last lap battle with William Dunlop and underlined his brilliance with a world record 134mph lap in the second Superbike event.
Tyco BMW team principal Philip Neill said Hutchinson had more than earned his Superbike chance on the back of his tremendous success in 2016.
“Hutchy has had a great year on Tyco BMW machinery both in British championship and also on the roads, so he fully deserves his chance to go out and ride a Superbike this weekend at Assen. There’s absolutely no pressure on him,” Neill said.
“We want him to go out and enjoy the experience, but knowing Hutchy he will be looking for more than just a decent result.”
Hutchinson is set to remain with the TAS Racing team for a second season in 2017, when Superbike and Senior glory at the TT will be his number one objective after he was twice forced to settle for the runner-up spot behind Michael Dunlop in June.
Assen this weekend represents the second Showdown round of the MCE British Superbike Championship but the Tyco BMW team is vying for minor honours after Laverty and Iddon both failed the make the all-important top-six cut.
Meanwhile, Be Wiser Ducati rider Glenn Irwin is aiming for a solid points haul this weekend in the Netherlands to boost his chances of finishing inside the top ten in his rookie season.
The Carrick rider scored a stunning podium at Thruxton in the summer, although Irwin has struggled with a blood disorder in recent races following a crash at Oulton Park earlier this month.
The 26-year-old, who was a podium finisher in the British Supersport class at Assen last year, is currently occupying 12th position in the overall standings.
“I’m really looking forward to Assen and learning the place on a Superbike. It’s hard to set a goal but I want to be competitive, although I’m currently laid up in a hospital bed as I’m recovering from a blood infection,” Irwin said.
“It’s something that I believe had set in at Donington Park after my Oulton Park crash as my fatigue didn’t match my fitness levels. It will be good to be fully fit again as I want to put the bike up close with ‘Shakey’ and ahead of some of our title rivals.”
Fellow Carrick man Alastair Seeley will also be hoping for better luck this weekend after a heavy crash last time out on the RAF Reserves BMW left him battered and bruised.