Joey Thompson 'pinching myself' after joining Wilson Craig Racing for 2022

English prospect Joey Thompson feels honoured to be joining Northern Ireland team Wilson Craig Racing for 2022.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 5:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 5:06 pm

The 23-year-old from Yorkshire will ride a Honda CBR600RR for Darren Gilpin’s team at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix next year.

Thompson will also compete at the Scarborough events, Aberdare Park and the Tandragee 100 and Armoy Irish national meetings.

Renowned as one of road racing’s best-known teams, a host of top names have been associated with the respected Honda outfit since it was established by Londonderry businessman Wilson Craig in 2008, including Guy Martin, William Dunlop, Cameron Donald and Keith Amor.

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Joey Thompson on the Wilson Craig Honda Supersport machine at Brands Hatch in October. Picture: David Yeomans.

Following Wilson’s death in September 2019, former racer and highly regarded crew chief Darren Gilpin took over the team with the family’s blessing.

However, his plans for 2020 were thrown into disarray when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, but this year former MotoGP rider Chris Burns joined the team, while North West 200 winner Davey Todd made selected appearances in the famous red and silver livery, sealing runner-up finishes in the feature Spring Cup race at Scarborough and the ‘Race of Legends’ at Armoy.

Thompson, who raced at Aberdare alongside Todd and Burns in August and ended the season with points-scoring finishes on the WCR Honda in the British Supersport class at Brands Hatch, said: “It’s a pleasure to have put pen to paper with the Wilson Craig Honda Team for 2022.

“They are a team that I have always looked at as one of the top teams in the country and I am certainly looking forward to next season.

“I have had to pinch myself in the knowledge that this is the team that inspired riders such as William Dunlop, Guy Martin, Davey Todd and many more, and now I find myself part of this great team,” added Thompson, who was a podium finisher in the Supertwin races at the North West 200 in 2018.

“I have been away from the scene for a while and at one stage I didn’t know if I was even going to be riding next year.

“The last couple of seasons I did not enjoy racing, but the Wilson Craig Team is like a family environment and that has taken a lot off my shoulders to come back racing in a competitive team.

“Of course, without my personal sponsors I could not do this and they have also played a major part in my plans for 2002.”

Thompson will also contest the Ulster Superbike Championship next year in the Supersport class, which gets under way at Bishopscourt in Co Down on April 2.

Team owner Gilpin said: “We are very happy to welcome Joey to the team for the 2022 season. Joey has raced for us as a stand-in rider for two events this year and he fitted in well to the team environment, and had a win and several podiums at Aberdare.

“He is still a young rider but has also had a lot of success at international level during his short career. He also has a professional approach to racing, which is a requirement within our team.”

Thompson and the Wilson Craig Racing team will be in attendance at Motorcycle Live at the NEC for ‘TT Day’ on December 12.