Sixteen years after making his British Superbike Championship debut, Chris Walker has firmed his place on the 2012 grid by agreeing to stay with the Pr1mo Racing team, who have in turn joined forces with Bournemouth Racing.
The fan favourite raced a Kawasaki ZX-10R to 12th position in the standings under the Pr1mo banner in 2011, but the team will now expand to two entries for Walker and James Hillier after the decision to link with Bournemouth Racing.
With 20 BSB wins to his name, Walker is hoping the knowledge gained in 2011 and the introduction of the new regulations will put him in a position to build on that tally.
"It has been exciting that the team has come together and we have been accepted to be part of BSB next season with the new rules and the Elite team status,” said Walker,” who took a best finish of fifth for Pr1mo in 2011. “For Danny [Cheevers] and Pete [Extance] to join forces is great as they have some big plans and it is fantastic to be able to be back on the BSB grid next year. For me it is brilliant to be with the same team for a second consecutive season as we know what we need to build on and how we can make improvements.
“I am familiar with the team and the Kawasaki and the new rules I think will suit riders like me who have raced Superbikes for over a decade; hopefully that experience will close the gap. I was desperate to be back in BSB next season and we want to be pushing for the top six in the Showdown as that is my ambition for the year ahead.
“We had some top five finishes last year and we will be more prepared next season so hopefully we can achieve that goal. The team and the machine have the potential and I can't wait to get started now."
Having competed in an EVO capacity in 2011, Hillier is hoping the experience he gained during his maiden season of BSB racing will push him up the grid next year.
"I am really looking forward to next season and working alongside Chris as a two man team. Last season was my first full year and as a one rider team it does make it more difficult, whereas in 2012 we will be able to work together and I can learn from him and his experience.
“Everyone knows it is hard racing in BSB but everyone in the team will be determined and giving one hundred percent. We have some data now from last year so we have a better starting point and with the new rules I don't think we will now be a million miles away. For me I want to have a consistent season and score top ten finishes and I think the team's hard work is invaluable in order to achieve this."
Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki becomes the seventh 'Elite' team to firm its place on the BSB 2012 grid, following PBM Kawasaki, Tyco by TAS Suzuki, Honda Racing, PR Kawasaki, Team WFR Honda and GB Moto.