Reigning UK Short Track champion Marco Belli is set to make his debut for the CCM factory team at the opening round at South Tees Motorsport Park on Saturday.
Belli will take to the Middlesborough track on a CCM FT500 alongside new team-mate Richard May with the Bolton-based squad looking to repeat the success last experienced in 2006.
The British Manufacturer, who won the title at the first attempt in 2006, did not have a good season last time out losing both of its top riders, Andrew Moore and Lee Complin to the national speedway championships.
Initial plans for 2008 were to run Richard May as a single rider team with CCM set to switch their attentions to the Maxxis ACU British Motocross championship and some Grand Prix meetings. But CCM stepped in when it looked like Belli was to quite the UK Short Track championship due to a lack of support.
CCM’s Managing Director Gary Harthern, speaking about the deal with Marco Belli, said: “Marco’s talent is without question. His flamboyant riding style is an important addition to the UK scene, and will hopefully regain us the top prize.
“Back in his home country Marco has a strong following, so he is the ideal person to act as an ambassador for our road going range of motorcycles.”
Belli will ride a unique CCM FT500 that will include a 1970’s style nickel-plated frame. The frame will house a special stroked 500cc motor that will be a direct derivative of the new motocross project.
Although exact details have not been released yet, initial tests confirm that the bike will produce around 60 BHP and weigh in at no more than ninety kilograms.
Belli will also be using Dunlop tyres imported specially from the US.
2008 Short Track UK Championship calendar:
Saturday, March 29 ST at South Tees Motorsport Park, Redcar, Middlesbrough
Saturday, April 19 ST at Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Saturday, June 7 and a half mile at Amman Valley, Carmarthen, South Wales
Saturday 2nd August ST at West Row Stadium, Mildenhall
Sunday 24th August half mile at Green Hammerton, York
Saturday, October 4 TT at Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn. Norfolk
Sunday, October 19 ST at Scunthorpe Speedway Stadium