Antrim’s Nikki Coates and Drogheda’s Aaron Clifford will form a two-man line-up for Kingsbury Packaging Racing this season in the Irish Short Circuit Championship.
Coates spearheads Gerald Kingsbury’s team and will bid for silverware on two fronts in the Superbike and Supersport classes with KP Racing adding a Kawasaki ZX-10R to its stable for 2016.
The 26-year-old competed in the European Moto2 Championship last season plus selected Irish Short Circuit meetings and is confident of challenging for honours on both machines.
“I’m really looking forward to this season, with Kingsbury Packaging putting their faith in me. I hope I can do the team justice and I can’t wait to get out to Spain to get miles on the new ZX-10,” Coates said.
“I’ll be helping Woolsey Coulter with his Academy and at the same time getting valuable miles on the new bike. I certainly hope I have a better season on the big bike than I had in British Superstock in 2014, when I got injured at round one and had some problems with the team: I only lasted three rounds!
“I’ll be doing all the short circuit events in Ireland in 2016 and I’m aiming to win every championship I compete in,” added Coates, who won the Davy Wood Memorial Trophy for the second year running last season.
“We showed good pace last year on the 600 and can improve on it again and I think with the testing on the big Kawasaki we can be on the pace with that also.”
Duleek rider Clifford will focus on the Irish Supersport Championship and the team is hoping to contest the Mondello Masters Series with both riders.
A former Irish Mini-moto champion, promising 16-year-old Clifford has competed in the 450 Aprilia challenge in the Thundersport series finished second in the Supertwins Championship in the Mondello Masters, claiming seven wins and 24 podium finishes throughout the season.
He seized the chance to ride the 600cc KP Racing Kawasaki in the Masters Cup races, earning two seconds and a third to secure a full-time ride this year.
“After doing two rounds with them last year I learned a lot as they are a very experienced and friendly team,” Clifford said.
“I’m also really looking forward to having Nikki Coates as a team-mate and he’s always helped me out in the past.”
Clifford will also competed on a Superstock-spec Kawasaki ZX-6R in selected Thundersport GB races.
Ex-racer and Limavady businessman Gerald Kingsbury has been a loyal supporter of motorcycle racing, setting up his team after hanging up his leathers and helping many riders over the years, including Denver Robb, Jason McLean, Mark Lunney, Mark Pollock, Gerard Kinghan, Conor Parkhill and Marshall Neill, who clinched the Irish Superbike Championship on KP Racing machinery.