Northern Ireland based team, Mar-Train Yamaha have announced their retirement from road racing. In a shock move Tim Martin’s squad, which ran Manxman Dan Kneen on the roads in 2016, have turned down the option of a new two year deal with Yamaha and quit the sport.
“This has been a tough decision to make.” Martin said.
“My heart is telling me to continue but in my head I know it is the right time for us to step down both as a team and a family.”
Mar-Train have been involved in racing since 2006, winning the British Supersport championship with Stuart Easton in 2013 and a North West 200 double in ‘14 with Alastair Seeley.
They became the official Yamaha road race team in 2015, running Dean Harrison on the new YZF-R1M. Beset by problems with the new superbike, Harrison terminated his two year contract a year early in spite of winning the Scarborough Gold Cup.
Dan Kneen joined the family run squad for 2016 but an early season cycling crash left the Manx rider with a broken arm and forced him to sit out both the North West 200 and TT. A Supersport TT podium from stand in Gary Johnson and a Superstock race rostrum finish for Kneen on his return at the Ulster Grand Prix were little consolation for Martin’s troubled team and he has now called time on his road racing venture.
“I just feel that a decade has been enough and it is time to step back.” Martin said.
“When I look back through our list of accolades I am very proud of my whole team and what we have achieved. Winning the British Supersport title in 2013 was the pinnacle for me, closely followed by our North West 200 victories and Isle of Man TT podium.
We have been lucky to work with a number of excellent riders and I would like to thank them all for their time with us. If I have to single anyone out I would have to say Stuart Easton is a class act, both on and off the track, and an excellent example for any young rider out there.”
Yamaha’s Karl Radley paid tribute to the efforts of the Mar-Train squad in spite of the teething trooubles they encountered with the new R1 superbike.
“The last two years have had their fair share of ups and downs, but we knew that Tim and his team had the pedigree to take on the challenge and remain committed.” he said.
“We were, of course, very sad to learn that Tim had taken the decision to withdraw from racing, especially given the unrelenting effort the team put in to taking on the challenge of turning the new R1 into a competitive road racing machine and the huge progress they had made. “
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