British Superbike contender Christian Iddon isn’t ruling out a sensational road racing debut at the MCE Ulster Grand Prix in August.
Iddon has been thinking of taking on the challenge of competing between the hedges for some time now and with Northern Ireland’s hugely successful TAS Racing team behind him, he is in the perfect environment to make his international roads bow.
Yorkshireman Ian Hutchinson is currently out injured and with a question mark hanging over his participation at Dundrod, perhaps Iddon will be the man to step into the breach at the world’s fastest road race.
The Stockport man believes Dundrod would be the ideal venue for his road racing debut but admits he will have to try and twist team manager Philip Neill’s arm if he’s to be handed the opportunity to compete on the historic 7.4-mile course in August.
“With Tyco I would be in seriously good hands. Their pedigree on the roads is arguably even better than on short circuits so who better to go racing with,” he said.
“We’ll have to wait and see though. I think if it was down to Hector it would be it would be a yes immediately and I’d be at the Ulster Grand Prix. Philip is keener for me to focus on the short circuits, as Hutchy is their man for the roads. I can see the logic but who knows if I can twist an arm or two.
“I've been contemplating road racing for quite a while now and every year it gets stronger and stronger. It just interests me. The buzz you get from a circuit is immense so I can only imagine what it's like to race on the roads,” he added.
“I guess that's the first part of it, but I also think it's still a more pure form of racing.”
Iddon is eager to commit to a full campaign on the roads but is also wary of detracting from his goal of winning a British Superbike title.
“I’m really keen to do a comprehensive roads campaign, and all of the circuits to start with I think the Ulster would be the best compromise for me. It’s a mass start on an incredible circuit, and it doesn’t require the same level of homework as somewhere like the TT,” he said.
“Of course though, I want to win a title at BSB so I have to consider whether doing other races like the Ulster is going to detract from that. Hutchy, [Peter] Hickman, [Josh] Brookes, [Michael] Rutter and [Glenn] Irwin are all having great seasons in both but so far none of those riders are winning at both. If that is even possible I don't know but I guess that is the golden question.”
Ulster GP Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston would jump at the chance to welcome Iddon to Dundrod and feels the 32-year-old has what it takes to make a big impression.
“Christian is a really interesting rider. He’s a ten-times British Supermoto champion that successfully transitioned over to short circuits, and he’s ridden pretty much everything right up to World Superbikes,” said Johnston.
“My instincts are that he would be very, very quick on the roads as well if he gets the chance, so hopefully we can make it happen. With backing from the Tyco boys, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be one of our fastest ever newcomers, and he’d be a great character to have the paddock as well.”
Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston would also be an ideal candidate to ride the Tyco BMW machines after parting company from the Jackson Racing team before the Isle of Man TT.
Johnston is recovering following a crash in practice at Greeba Castle but has already identified singled out the Ulster for his comeback, where Johnston was crowed the man of the meeting in 2015 after a treble in the Supersport and Superstock races.
The MCE Ulster Grand Prix takes place from August 9-12.