Japanese Superbike legend Nori Haga will make a dramatic return to the MCE British Superbike Championship this weekend, substituting for the unwell Keith Farmer for the remaining three Showdown rounds on the Northern Irish rider’s PBM Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki.
Haga, who raced in British Superbikes last season with the SMR Swan Yamaha team, will ride for the Cumbrian team at three tracks he is very familiar with, having won multiple times at Assen, Silverstone and Brands Hatch during his World Superbike career.
His 2012 BSB season was dogged with nagging injuries after breaking his collarbone in a Cadwell Park highside, and he finished the season in 8th place, failing to make the Showdown.
Since then he has only taken part in the occasional race, finishing on the podium at the Suzuka 8hrs alongside teammates Yuki Kagayama and Kevin Schwantz.
Farmer has suffered a number of big crashes in recent rounds, sitting out both Cadwell and Donington as a recurring infection combined with his injuries ruled him out. Still suffering, the PBM team have decided to rest him for the remainder of the season.
However, with team owner Paul Bird hinting that he will reduce his team to a single bike (for Shane Byrne) for 2014, it may mean that the reigning National Superstock champion is looking for a ride for next season without the ability to impress on track in the remaining rounds.
Paul Bird said after the signing: "I have always admired Nori throughout his career and it's fair to say he's one of my heroes so I'm delighted to have the chance to work with him. He's proven many times that he's a great rider and showed at the tracks he knew last year that he could still be very competitive.“
“He was on pole position at Assen last year and rode a couple of brilliant races so despite not doing a lot of racing this year, he'll be very strong. He loves all three Showdown tracks and if he can also help Shakey's bid for the title, all well and good."