Northern Ireland’s Carl Phillips will make his debut in the British Superbike Championship this year after signing a deal with the Gearlink Kawasaki team for 2018.
The 24-year-old from Lisburn, who finished second in Superstock 600 in 2016, will make the step up from the Superstock 1000 class to join a number of other rookies in the championship this year, including Gino Rea, Tarran Mackenzie and Kyle Ryde.
“It’s a dream come true for me and I have to pinch myself sometimes,” Phillips said on the move.
“But I have to be realistic about what to expect this year. I’ve always wanted the chance to race in British Superbikes but I know how hard it is going to be because there is so much depth to the field.
“There is no real pressure from the team and most of that will come from myself. I just want to keep improving and try to match the pace of the other rookies and maybe score some points throughout the year.
“For me, that would be fantastic and I’ll be working as hard as I can to try and make sure that I stay in the class the following season.
“I’m very grateful to Norma and Michael de Bidaph for their support in making this happen and I was so sad to learn of Norma’s passing at the end of last year. It’s a fitting tribute to her memory that the team is continuing on this season.”
James Westmoreland, who rode Gearlink’s Superbike last year, returns to the Supersport class with the effort for a 2018 title attack.