Anvil Hire TAG Racing has announced the signings of James Rispoli and Billy McConnell to join Shaun Winfield for the 2016 MCE British Superbike championship, with the team switching to Yamaha machinery.
In a series of bold changes by team owner Robert Winfield, Anvil Hire is set to increase its sponsorship into the team to take over as the banner name to become Anvil Hire Yamaha.
The team will also receive support from new sponsors Tamworth Yamaha – who supported 2015 BSB champions Josh Brookes and Milwaukee Yamaha – and will provide technical support as TAG Racing gets to grip with the Yamaha R1.
Anvil Hire Yamaha is preparing for an extensive testing programme in Spain with all three of its riders during the winter to allow them to become familiar with the new bike before focusing on development as it aims to become a BSB Showdown contender in 2016.
Team boss Winfield says he hopes to use Brookes' 2015 BSB title victory as inspiration for the ambitious new project, which will also run the 60th anniversary special edition Yamaha Racing yellow and black livery.
“This is a great start to the new season for us,” Winfield said. “To see Anvil Hire stay onboard with us is wonderful and great news for everyone involved. To have Tamworth Yamaha come onboard is great and we're over the moon to welcome Jonathan [King, Tamworth Yamaha manging director] and the team onboard for what should be a great season.
“We wanted Billy back in the team and he wanted to come back, so for both parties it's a perfect fit, the Yamaha should suit his style and we should see him up the front. We're so excited to welcome James to the team, he has proved so much in the last two years in supersport, and we feel he's ready to step up to superbikes. There is no pressure on him this year, we just want him to settle well in the class and challenge for the rookie of the year title.
“Shaun has done so well this year, he's adapted well to the superbike class and I think he will be running in the top 15 most weekends. We have an extensive testing programme in place throughout the winter, which in theory will see us hit the ground running from the first round at Silverstone in April.”
Rob Brown, managing director at Anvil Hire is delight by the team's plan and eye-catching new colour scheme.
“We are really happy to be with TAG Racing once again for the 2016 season, Rob and the team have put in so much effort already to get the team to where it is so far,” Brown said. “The bikes look fantastic, Shaun has done a great job with the design of the bike and to run in the 60th anniversary colours is something that can only be good for the team.”
McConnell, who competed for TAG Racing in the supersport class in 2011, is confident the updated Yamaha R1 will suit his riding style and enable him to push towards for the Showdown spots after an impressive season with Smiths Racing BMW which was highlighted by his maiden BSB rostrum in August at Cadwell Park.
“I'm hoping the Yamaha will support my style a little more, just like a 600cc so I'm really happy with it, I have a good team around me and two great team mates with James and Shaun,” McConnell said. “James will bring a little bit of excitement into the team, and with Shaun we've been teammates before so I know what to expect.”
Rispoli will make his much-anticipated graduation from the British Supersport class after two seasons with Keith Flint's Team Traction Control Yamaha and is relishing the challenge of his rookie year in BSB.
“I'm really pumped for 2016,” Rispoli said. “I think that for me coming in as a rookie on a good package is a scary thing for a lot of people, and I'm really happy that Rob and Tracy has given me the platform for when we're ready to run at the front and be in that top six. So for me, it's a great platform for me in my rookie year, and to chase the rookie of the year title.”
Similar to its 2015 line-up TAG Racing will run a three-bike squad with Shaun Winfield on the third Yamaha R1 and he says he wants to build on his maiden year in BSB to keep improving next season.
“I'm over the moon with staying in Superbikes for 2016,” Winfield said. “The Yamaha is a smaller bike, and I can throw it about a lot easier which is good for me, but the Kawasaki was a big chunk of bike and I do feel that my supersport will help me this year with how the bike feels and can ride. I'm really proud of what we've achieved as a team this winter, the bikes look mega and I can't for the new season.”