Antrim’s Jamie Patterson will skip next week’s first official ISB test at Bishopscourt to contest the legendary Daytona 200 meeting in Florida for the first time.
Patterson, one of the leading riders on the domestic short circuit scene here in the Supersport and Superbike classes, had been due to ride for American outfit Team Celtic Racing - previously associated with names like Michael Laverty and Chaz Davies - but the ride became unavailable as a result of a new championship format introduced this year.
The Ulster prospect will instead compete on his own Ty-Rock Concrete-backed Suzuki in the 200-mile race, when he will be up against the cream of America’s riders, including former Daytona winner and AMA Superbike champion Josh Herrin, who heads an entry list of 84 riders from around the world.
“I’m really looking forward to the trip,” Patterson said. “With the last minute change of plans we did not have the time or the finances available to build an engine specifically for this one event with their rules allowing more alterations than at home, so we can only hope our bike is competitive and that we can achieve the best result possible.”
Patterson has previously raced abroad after competing in the European Junior Cup in 2012, a support and feeder class at the World Superbike events around Europe, when he showed his potential by finishing seventh overall in the championship, taking two wins at Monza in Italy and Silverstone.
Practice for the 2015 Daytona 200 is scheduled to get underway on Thursday, with the famous race on the daunting banked oval circuit being held next Saturday, March 14.