Smiths Triumph hit back at Gary Johnson after Guy Martin deal

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Smiths Triumph team boss Rebecca Smith has hit back at the team’s 2014 Isle of Man TT winner Gary Johnson, as a war of words erupts around the team’s decision to recruit Guy Martin in place of his fellow Lincolnshire man for the 2015 event.

Johnson, who took the team to their first TT win in their debut win last year, has spoken out since the announcement early last week to condemn the team’s decision to replace him. Johnson accused the team of deciding to take the greater commercial visibility brought by Martin at the expense of Johnson’s proven race winning ability

However, Smiths has now fired back, with team boss Rebecca saying that it came down to financial motives.

“Whilst delighted to have confirmed our plans of the 2015 TT Races, we have been very disappointed with the subsequent comments on the various media platforms. For the record, Gary Johnson was offered the Supersport TT ride with us for the 2015 TT back in October 2014, when I met with him at the final round of the MCE British Superbike Championship.

“Those initial discussions highlighted that Gary’s financial expectations had transformed drastically since him riding for us in 2014 and, whilst we were prepared to improve the package for 2015, they were just too far apart from what our budget allowed and this was made clear at that very early stage. As a team, the deal from our side had not changed logistically. The bike is better having undergone further development work, the crew he would be working with would be the same and the testing plan would have been as 2014.”

“I am not prepared to disclose any of the financial discussions that took place between Gary and I as I deem these to be confidential, but I will say that those which have been printed in the media over the last week or so are vastly incorrect. Right up until recently, the deal was still on offer to Gary but we were not prepared to increase our initial offer.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer