Virgin Yamaha will field Billy McConnell and Tom Grant on R6s in British Supersport this year, in a radical departure for the Rob McElnea-owned outfit.
Though McElnea’s Scunthorpe-based crew have won British titles in 125, 250 and superbikes in the past, they have focused on BSB in recent years and will again run Tommy Hill and James Haydon on the brand new four-valve-per-cylinder R1 in the series.
McElnea said: “This is a big move for us. It’s the first time we’ve run in BSS but Yamaha Europe and Yamaha UK value the class highly and it’s important for them to have a major presence with the R6 in the British series.”
Grant earned the team place by winning the prestigious R6 Cup title last year while McConnell won the same series in 2005 and raced last year in BSB with Virgin Yamaha.
McElnea said: “Billy did a fantastic job in BSB last year but with James and Tommy on superbikes there wasn’t anything there for him. But there was a chance for him to step into supersport and I think the bike will really suit his style.”
McConnell said: “This is a big challenge for me. With Michael Laverty coming back to the class from BSB and Stuart Easton back from World Supersport it is going to be very competitive.”