Former World Superbike privateer Mark Heckles will ride a factory Honda SP-2 alongside Steve Plater at Snetterton this weekend, and Thruxton the weekend after.
Heckles is still waiting to find out what is happening with his Rumi Honda WSB ride after a cash crisis caused the team to withdraw. The SP-2 will be his first factory ride.
Heckles and former GP rider Jay Vincent tried out for the Honda ride at Cadwell Park on Wednesday, but Heckles’ experience and a time of 1:27.3 was enough to claim the ride. Vincent impressed but his lack of superbike racing experience gave Heckles the chance to shine on Sunday.
Heckles told MCN: " It was freezing cold but it was amazing to ride a superbike again. I am so excited about this opportunity to ride for such a great team and will be trying hard all weekend. "
Heckles impressed many last year when he tested the exact same bike at Brands Hatch, the day after July’s WSB round, and was able to lap quickly and consistently and give the team excellent feedback about the bike.
Heckles rode the opening race of the British Supersport championship on an ex-Ten Kate Honda CBR600 and was making good progress before he crashed on spilt oil.
Honda Britain race boss Neil Tuxworth said: " There are several reasons we are doing this – the first is that a second rider giving set-up and riding data will allow Steve Plater to get more from the bike. The second is that this is a way of getting an extra bike on the BSB grid and the third is that Honda has always been keen on helping young riders to get on in their careers.
" Mark has shown a true commitment to racing this year by buying his own bike and challenging front-running riders in the British Supersport series. We think he’ll do well at Snetterton and Thruxton. "
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