Northern Ireland's Keith Farmer was a revelation in his rookie season in the British Superstock 600 Championship last year.
The former Irish Supermoto champion made a seamless transition to short circuit racing as he shocked seasoned observers by capturing the British title at his first attempt during a sensational year in 2011.
It was a remarkable achievement by the 24-year-old, who has now set up home with his girlfriend in Northamptonshire.
Farmer, who only cut his teeth on the tarmac scene in 2010, took the ultra-competitive Superstock 600 class by storm as he plundered his maiden victory at the second round at Oulton Park
before stringing together four wins in succession to seize a commanding championship lead.
The Ulster rider never looked back as he closed in on a sensational British crown at his first attempt, winning six races on his Yamaha R6 to wrap up the championship with two rounds remaining.
And his potential has now been recognised at the top level by entrepreneur and British Superbike and MotoGP
team boss Paul Bird, who has signed Farmer to compete in this year's Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship on a Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Keith is carrying on a proud family tradition in motorcycle racing, with his cousins Stephen and Mark making a name for themselves before their careers were tragically cut short by fatal accidents.
Stephen died as a result of injuries suffered in an accident at work in 1995, a year after Mark was killed following a crash during practice for the Isle of Man TT races.
"Racing has always been around in our family so it wasn't hard to pick up the bug," Keith said. "I did motocross from an early age before I went into Supermoto and I won the Irish Supermoto Championship once and the Irish Winter Series three times in a row.
"People knew me as a Supermoto rider but things changed after 2009," he explained. "I was supposed to ride a factory KTM in Supermoto out in Spain for a guy living over there but it all fell through for one reason or another after he contacted me to say he had some family issues and he wouldn't be able to commit to me properly.
"Then my Supermoto bike blew up at the first round at home in 2010. It had only just been rebuilt, so I just said let's leave it and take a year out and if anything comes up then we'll have a go. Then the next thing I knew my dad and Darren (Gawley) had been talking about things and they had a Yamaha R6 delivered to the house, which was all news to me," he added.