Honda’s BSB team boss Neil Tuxworth dismissed rumours that Newcastle-based construction company HM Plant has pulled the plug on their sponsorship for 2009.
Tuxworth said: “I don’t know where all these rumours keep coming from but I can categorically say that HM Plant will continue as our sponsor in 2009. This is the last year of a three-year contract.”
HM Plant has been the official UK importer of Hitachi excavators since 1980 and an inside source told MCN that Hitachi issued a directive to HM Plant to cease the sponsorship activity since the construction industry has been hard-hit by the recession.
However, while Tuxworth acknowledges the current climate, he is adamant there’s nothing to add to Monday’s official statement announcing that they would be switching superstock rider Steve Brogan from the HM Plant team to the privateer Padgetts Honda team).
“Yes, HM Plant is having difficulties trading,” said Tuxworth, “but so is everyone in the current climate, including Honda. We’ve already announced the changes we’re making to our team as a result of reduced budgets.
"There’s nothing more to add, other to say that the team is flat-out preparing for the new season.”
Honda’ official press statement on Monday read:
“Honda (UK) has taken the decision to withdraw from this year’s British Superstock Championship, although Honda rider and current British Superstock Champion, Steve Brogan, will remain in the Honda family by defending his title on a standard CBR1000RR Fireblade with the Padgett’s Honda team for the 2009 season.
“British Superstock Champion Steve ‘Baywatch’ Brogan commented, ‘Although I’ll now be racing with Padgett’s rather than the HM Plant Honda team, it’s business as usual for me – it’s just that the bike and my team shirt will be a different colour.
"I’ll still be racing on a standard Fireblade like I won the championship on last year and I already have a good relationship with Clive Padgett and his team, who run a really professional outfit and have a successful history in racing.
"I’m now full on into training and I’m just looking forward to getting back on the bike to try and win the championship on the Fireblade again this year, and to do Honda, Padgetts and myself proud."
“The decision was made in order to ensure the HM Plant Honda team and all of its riders could continue to remain competitive and title challengers for each of the three British championships in which Honda is competing in 2009.
"The HM Plant Honda team will still be fielding the dynamic duo of Glen Richards and Josh Brooks in the British Superbike Championship, with the seasoned Steve Plater in the British Supersport class.
“Honda contracted road racing legend, John McGuinness, will also ride a standard CBR1000RR Fireblade alongside Steve Brogan in the British Superstock Championship with the Padgett’s Honda team.
"The 14 times TT winner from Morecambe will compete in the Superbike and Supersport classes at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT races in the HM Plant Honda livery, but under the Padgett’s Honda livery in the Superstock class at the TT.
“John commented, ‘Riding for both HM Plant Honda and also Padgett’s worked well for me for last year and continuing with both of those relationships can only be a good thing for Honda’s and my racing competitiveness in 2009.
"I’m looking forward to being team-mates with Brogie and I’m feeling totally ready to challenge him for his championship title as well as try and add to my road racing victories at the North West 200 and the TT.’
“Honda (UK)’s Head of Racing, Neil Tuxworth, commented, ‘We recently reviewed all of our bike racing activities and, given the current economic climate, decided to extend our involvement with Padgett’s of Batley for 2009.
"Padgetts now running in the British Superstock Championship will provide both Steve and Honda with a good opportunity – for Steve, to challenge for his title on the Fireblade and with a great team and team-mate, and for Honda, to have two riders representing us on the Fireblade in the championship.
"Padgett’s Honda is an independent team but we are looking forward to supporting the team and the riders over the coming year to win races and hopefully the championship.’”