TT 2022: Shaun Anderson highlights another top ten finish and first 130mph lap as key goals for Senior race on the Hawk Racing Suzuki

Banbridge man Shaun Anderson says the chance to ride for the Hawk Racing team at the Isle of Man TT  this year was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

By Kyle White
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:29 pm

The 37-year-old set himself a target of challenging for the top ten and achieved his aim in the RST Superbike race, finishing in a solid ninth place.

Anderson has also highlighted a 130mph lap as a key objective going into Friday’s blue riband Milwaukee Senior TT, which has been reduced to four laps from six as part of a revised schedule to accommodate the second Monster Energy Supersport race.

The Ulster rider had been due to ride the Hawk Suzuki at his home meeting at the Tandragee 100 at the end of April, but he decided against it after breaking a bone in his left hand following a crash at Darley Moor.

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Shaun Anderson at Ago's Leap on the Crendon Hawk Suzuki in the RST Superbike TT.

He sat out the North West 200, although Anderson has traditionally never been a regular at the north coast meeting, preferring instead to concentrate on the TT.

The Northern Ireland man, who has relocated to Solihull in England to work for Norton as an engineer after previously living in Austria to undertake a similar role for KTM, finished 12th in the Senior TT in 2019, riding a BMW S1000RR for NW Racing.

He set his best lap of the TT course on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2018 at 128.672mph on his way to 13th in the Superbike race.

He was due to be Stuart and Steve Hicken’s sole rider in the Hawk Racing squad this year, but was joined by 19-time TT winner Michael Dunlop in the line-up after the Ballymoney rider pulled the plug on his deal to ride a Ducati Panigale V4 for Paul Bird.

Northern Ireland's Shaun Anderson finished a solid ninth in the RST Superbike race on the Crendon Hawk Suzuki.

Anderson, who will set off from number 19 in Friday’s showpiece Senior race on the Crendon Suzuki by Hawk Racing, said: “It’s my first time in a big team structure and to see how Michael operates and carries himself in a team will be an education for me.

“To be honest, there’s a tiny bit of the racer in me that would rather have the team’s focus solely on me, but at the same time all the limelight will be around Michael and the whole show around him means I can just get on with my own business quietly.

“Other than myself and Michael, there’s no one else really flying the Suzuki flag except for Mike Browne on the Burrows bike, to have a proven quantity in Michael on the Suzuki now means there is less pressure on me to an extent,” he added.

“This team is used to running two riders in the British Superbike Championship week in, week out, so there shouldn’t be any issues in that regard.”

Anderson has plenty of experience with Suzuki machinery after predominantly riding the GSX-R since he made his debut around the Mountain Course in 2012.

He did make the switch to a BMW S1000RR with Noel Williamson Racing and was set to continue with the southern Irish team in 2022, but a phone call from Steve Hicken over the winter led to a change in his plans.

“I’m happy to be back on the GSX-R1000 this year,” Anderson said.

“We always ploughed our own furrow at the Isle of Man TT and for 2019, we had worked on our own Suzuki throughout the winter.

“But then there was a chance occurrence when Noel Williamson had Darren Cooper riding for him, but the two of them parted company and Noel phoned me afterwards.

“So I tried the BMW, which has set a bit of benchmark in recent years – especially at the Isle of Man – so the opportunity was there to try the bike and also to work within more of a team structure for the first time, rather than with myself and my father working out of the back of a van.

“At a certain stage, certainly at the internationals, I think you have to allow people to take on other roles and responsibilities so that you can concentrate on your riding and improve in other areas as a rider.

“So it was a good experiment and the boys served me a pretty well,” he added.

“There was a bit of a pause after 2019 with the coronavirus pandemic. I rode at the Cookstown 100 again at the end of 2021 for Noel and I think I was sixth in the first Open race. The wheels were in motion to go forward with that again in 2022, but Steve Hicken got in contact with me over the winter and came forward with a proposal to see if I would be interested in riding for him.

“If you’re offered a factory Suzuki to ride for Hawk Racing, and you consider all the prestige they’ve had with Michael (Dunlop) at the TT, it’s the kind of opportunity that is very hard to turn down.

“We sat down at the end of January and beginning of February and ironed things out, so it’s really exciting and it’s a fantastic chance for me.”

Anderson feels everything is now in place to allow him to challenge for another top ten in the Senior TT, when a 130mph lap is also a coveted goal.

“The goal is to try and crack the top ten on the big bike on the island – the big target has to be a 130mph+ lap and that’s been on my books for a period of time,” he said.

“If I was extra greedy I would take that and if I can get into the top ten it would be something as well, because I feel we have the material and the whole structure around us for the first time in my whole career.

“I’d like to surprise a few people because I’ve been around for probably too many years. My first TT was 2012, so I think I can maximise the material I have underneath me and I’m hoping that by the end of the two weeks I’ll have surprised a few people.”