James Hillier will ride for a new team in 2020 at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT for the first time in a decade after parting company from the Bournemouth Kawasaki team on good terms.
The Hampshire rider has been one of the most consistent riders during that time at the TT, chalking up 14 podiums and winning the Lightweight race in 2013.
Between 2010 and 2019, Hillier and Bournemouth Kawasaki competed in 53 races at the TT, remarkably only failing to finish four. Of those 49 finishes, 44 were achieved were inside the top ten and 28 inside the top five. The 34-year-old set his fastest ever TT lap of 132.414mph on his way to second place in the 2015 Senior race behind John McGuinness.
Hillier, whose results at the TT this year included second and third places in the Supersport class, claimed victory in the Superstock race at the North West 200 in May. He was named ‘man of the meeting’ at the Triangle road race after he also finished as the runner-up in the Superbike event behind team-mate Glenn Irwin and bagged a podium in the Supersport class.
It remains to be seen what he has lined up for 2020, although his options appear to be limited: Smiths Racing (Peter Hickman), Silicone Engineering Racing (Dean Harrison) and Honda Racing (Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd) have confirmed their rider line-ups.
Tyco BMW’s plans are uncertain after the Northern Ireland team lost its status as the German manufacturer’s official road racing team to Smiths Racing, while John McGuinness – under contract to Norton next season – has revealed he has held talks with Paul Bird over the possibility of riding a Ducati V4-R in 2020.
Bournemouth Kawasaki have yet to announce a replacement for Hillier for the TT, although Alastair Seeley will ride for Pete Extance’s team in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes at the North West 200 next year.
Reflecting on the highly successful partnership with Hillier, team owner Extance said: “James Hillier is the reason we started racing and he has been part of our team every single year. Despite changes having been made in BSB over the years, our road racing commitments have stayed the same with just James and something definitely worked so we should all be proud of these excellent statistics.
“It was James who had to ride the bikes but he will be the first to recognise the hard work of the team and a special mention must go to Phil (Biggs), his crew chief, who has been with him for the whole journey,” he added.
“Without a doubt none of this would have been possible without all our sponsors, but especially John Murphy at Quattro Plant and we all wish James all the best for the future – we’ll be more than happy to see him finish directly behind our Quattro Plant Kawasaki riders in 2020!”