Chris Walker is set to make a sensational move into the Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship for 2016.
The BSB favourite and multiple race-winner will make his debut in the championship at Oulton Park in May for experienced squad Santander Salt Kawasaki and is relishing the opportunity of a fresh challenge having competed in the Superbike class since 1995.
"The BSB paddock feels like my home and so I am really excited by this completely new challenge, especially as the British Sidecar Championship is going from strength to strength,” Walker said. “I have no knowledge of it so I am full of anticipation, although I have to say it is still a bit daunting.
"I guess the last time I had that kind of feeling of the complete unknown was my first Superbike race in 1995; Hizzy was out injured and I got called up to replace him. I was up against the big hitters of BSB and the night before I was like a six year-old at Christmas.”
Walker says he still harboured aspirations of staying in the MCE British Superbike championship in 2016 but after his former team Be Wiser Kawasaki folded and all options of a Kawasaki ride dried up elsewhere, the veteran says it was the right time for a fresh challenge.
"There is so much bright talent emerging in BSB right now and I have looked at the larger picture; I am a racer through and through, I always will be,” he explained. “This is a time for some of the young riders to get their chances whilst in my mid 40s I can still go racing and still get that feeling of a challenge, which is an amazing thing to be able to say.”
Despite his excitement Walker is well aware of the daunting prospect of converting from two-wheels to three but is confident he can learn quickly from the team around him.
"I really don't know what to expect and that is what I think excites me the most,” he added. “The sidecar is completely different to a Superbike in terms of the gearing and braking so I am sure that will be something for me to get my head around, but the biggest draw for me is the new challenge.
"I have the security of some great team-mates and good people around me who I can learn from. With a Superbike I had ridden a bike since the age of three; I have only had a go in a sidecar once and that was in 1986 and a completely different animal.”