Reigning British Superbike champion's GSE Racing, the most successful team in domestic Superbike history, has announced it will pull out of racing should it fail to secure a title sponsor before the end of year.
As a result, team members have been issued with their notice of redundancy whilst one final push is being made by GSE Racing and Yamaha to find a partner before the team is forced to disband.
Since 1997 GSE Racing has powered Troy Bayliss, Neil Hodgson, Gregorio Lavilla, Shane Byrne and most recently, Leon Camier to British Superbike Championship glory. They have also helped to make household names of the likes of James Ellison, Chris Walker, Leon Haslam and James Toseland.
Towards the end of their record-breaking 2009 season, GSE announced that its five-year partnership with Wrigley's Airwaves had come to an end. With no suitable replacement, the team is left without the necessary funding to continue.
"It is with great regret that we have had to issue the team with their notice of redundancy, with a view to withdrawing from the British Superbike Championship at the end of 2009,” stated team principal Darrell Healey. “We have enjoyed tremendously our time racing in the most competitive domestic Superbike series in the world, and therefore this decision was not taken lightly. Alongside Yamaha, we will be doing all we can to try and secure a partner in the remaining time available, and greatly hope we can return to once again successfully defend our Championship title."
"Everyone at GSE Racing is incredibly saddened that we may no longer be able to compete in the British Superbike Championship,” added team manager Colin Wright. “We enjoyed our most successful season ever in 2009. Leon Camier and James Ellison were the only two riders to have finished every race in the points (barring Leon's exclusion at Cadwell) and we enjoyed numerous double race wins and double one two's on our way to first and second in the Championship standings. We were very much looking forward to continuing this success on into 2010 as we entered our second year in partnership with Yamaha, but unfortunately it looks like this will now not be.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team for their unrivalled dedication and hard work, our previous sponsors for their support, and of course the British Superbike fans."
GSE has withdrawn from racing before, exiting WSBK at the end of 2003 before returning to action - after a year out - in BSB for 2005.