– Ryan Farquhar returns to join John McGuinness and Gary Johnson in strong line up
One of the most successful Classic teams of recent years, Team Winfield, has confirmed its return to the Mountain Course in 2014 with an all-star three man attack on the Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts.
The team had mixed fortunes at the inaugural Classic TT in 2013 but Roger Winfield’s outfit will have one of the strongest teams on the Island in August with John McGuinness, Gary Johnson and the returning Ryan Farquhar riding in the Bennetts 500cc Classic TT and Motorsport Merchandise F1 Classic TT Races.
As per the 2013 event, 20 times TT winner McGuinness will contest the Bennetts 500cc Classic Race on board a 500cc Paton where he’ll be joined by Farquhar on an identical machine.
McGuinness will be hoping for better luck than he endured in 2013. Having shown early pace in qualifying, an electrical problem that plagued the team throughout much of qualifying returned on race day forcing him to retire from the race early on. Farquhar meanwhile has tremendous history with Winfield and the Paton machine having won the 500cc Classic Manx Grand Prix on no less than five occasions between 2007 and 2012.
37-year old Farquhar, who recently announced he was coming out of retirement to contest the Bikesocial.co.uk Lightweight TT Race, will also line up in the Motorsport Merchandise F1 Classic TT Race for Team Winfield where he’ll be joined by Brigg based rider Johnson. The duo will both compete on F1 Harris Yamaha’s with Johnson having ridden a similar machine in 2013, lapping at close to 118mph and running as high as third before being forced to retire.
Farquhar and Winfield also have previous form in the Classic Superbike category, the combination having won the corresponding race at the Manx in 2009 and 2011.
Commenting on his stellar line up for the Classic TT, team owner Roger Winfield said: “We are delighted with our riders for the Classic TT. We really enjoyed the first event last year despite not having much luck in the races themselves. But that is racing and we intend to come back stronger. I really felt for John who was desperate to win the 500cc Race last year. He’ll be the man to beat going back this time, but we have made his job a little bit harder, by recruiting Ryan to ride the other bike and his results on it in the past are there for all to see!”
He continued: “Gary did a superb job for us last year on the Yamaha. We have developed that bike significantly over the winter and both Gary and Ryan will have a race winning package for the F1 Race.”
James Hillier is one of the first riders to confirm his return to the Classic TT presented by Bennetts in 2014 and will contest the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Classic TT Race on a Kawasaki ZXR 750 for Jackson/Greenall Racing.
The 28-year old, who took his maiden TT victory in this year’s Bikesocial Lightweight TT Race on board the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, fully embraced the spirit of the inaugural Classic TT and although he was forced to retire from the Formula One Race, he did take a fine sixth place in the Bennetts 500cc Classic Race. Keen to build on his Classic TT experience, Hillier will have a superb chance of adding to his tally of wins around the Mountain Course next August.
The bike he’ll ride is an ex World Superbike Kawasaki ZXR750 K1 that has been fully stripped down and rebuilt with the best parts available sourced from both the World Superbike and British Superbike paddocks. Greenall/Jackson Racing are no stranger to success having contested World and British Championships over the years with numerous wins and lap records whilst team principal Alan Jackson jnr still holds the Manx Grand Prix outright lap record with a speed of 122.208mph set in 2005.
Hillier has prior experience of working with the team as it was Alan Jackson’s GSXR600 Suzuki that James rode in Martin Bullock colours on his TT debut in 2008. It proved to be a successful partnership with the Hampshire rider taking 17th and 19th in the two Supersport Races that year to win two silver replicas and the coveted Newcomers Trophy.
Speaking about the partnership James Hillier commented: “I really enjoyed the experience of last year’s Classic TT and it’s great to have a ride already sorted for next year’s event. There’s less pressure than at the TT and you can take it all in a bit more rather than being flat out all the time. It’s good to back with the Jackson Racing team and I’m sure their Kawasaki will be more than a match for anything else out there.”
Team Principal Alan Jackson added: “The objective has been to build a package capable of challenging for the top step of the Classic TT Formula 1 Race and prove that a 750cc bike can win. We believe this is achievable with the tie up between ourselves (Greenall/Jackson Racing) and James Hillier as we’ve worked with James on his debut at the TT. James was the only choice for the rider when considering this package.”