Leon Haslam and Cal Crutchlow have signed to ride for HM Plant Honda in next year’s British Superbike Championship and selected rounds of the World Superbike series as wild cards.
They will ride the all-new Honda Fireblades which will be built in Honda Racing’s workshops in Louth to the new British Superbike supersport-spec regulations but still with race parts supplied from HRC in Japan.
Team boss Neil Tuxworth said: “We’re delighted with our new-look line-up for 2008. Leon is a very experienced and successful record but is still only 24 years old.
“He and the Haslam family through his father Ron, have a long association with Honda.
Cal is also very young but also has a long association with Honda, having won the British Supersport title riding a CBR600RR in 2006.
“The only reason he didn’t race a Honda this year was due to the fact we had no options open to him. But he’s had a good learning year in BSB this season and will be very competitive in 2008 on our new bike.”
With HM Plant no longer supporting the Isle of Man TT or Ulster GP (though they still will do the North West 200), it frees up budget for other events and with British Superbikes going to a single tyre supplier rule next year may allow the team to explore some World Superbike wild card rides.
Neil Tuxworth added: “We’re looking at doing up to three WSB races next year, depending on the tyre situation. It will be good experience for the lads.”
Leon Haslam said: “This is exactly the deal I was looking for. It’ll give me a chance to win the BSB title but it will also give me an opportunity to do some world round – and Suzuka Eight Hour practice, something I’ve always wanted to do.
Cal Crutchlow added: “I’ve risked everything to get this deal. I’ve turned down an offer from Suzuki and another Honda ride with a privateer team and I’m just so pleased that Neil Tuxworth is putting so much trust in me by signing me for next year.”