Mark Heckles has impressed Honda Racing team bosses so much that he has now been given a permanent place on the factory British Superbike team.
The ex-World Superbike rider was drafted on to the team to provide some motivation to Steve Plater, previously the team’s only rider. It is not yet clear whether Heckles has had the desired affect but his performances at Snetterton and Thruxton were enough to raise his standing within the team.
Heckles season started off in chaos when his Rumi Honda World Superbike ride fell through and his only option was to ride as a privateer in the British Supersport series on an ex-Ten Kate Honda CBR600.
But Honda Racing had been keeping an eye on the rider and after a track shootout with ex-GP rider Jay Vincent, offered him the chance to race for them in the second and third rounds of the Superbike championship.
Heckles’ opening race at Snetterton was marred by the tyre troubles that affected the whole field, leaving him with a DNF in the first race. But the second race saw him finish in seventh, and two eighth places at Thruxton last weekend were enough to win him the full-time ride.
With the team already scheduled to compete in the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT they won’t have the resources to run Heckles in the fifth round of British Superbikes, at Knockhill, but he should be lining up with Plater for the rest of the season.
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