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Philip Neill hails Archibald TT achievements

15 January 2013

Tyco Suzuki manager Philip Neill says road racer Adrian Archibald produced some of the TAS Racing team's greatest ever memories.

Ulsterman Archibald says he is unlikely ever to race again after opting to pull out of the sport due to a lack of financial backing.

The 43-year-old famously won the Formula One and Senior races at the Isle of Man TT in 2003 following the shock death of his teammate and TT hero David Jefferies, who was killed following an accident in practice.

Neill, who runs TAS Racing along with his father Hector, said he would remember Archibald's emotional double as among the team's greatest achievements when the Northern Ireland team ends its own association with motorcycle racing in the future.

“He had a great year all round results-wise and obviously it was a difficult year for us as a team,” said Neill in an interview with Manx Radio.

“I think that's what makes Adrian's achievements that season – not only during the TT but also during the rest of the year – all the more remarkable.

“I personally probably know more than most the work that Adrian put into that season. He had worked harder than he ever had before in his racing life and had got himself into fantastic physical condition.

“We had obviously worked hard on the range of Suzukis as we do every year and the package was right,” added Neill.

“Unfortunately the circumstances were very sad during the Isle of Man TT but David's family fully supported our decision to continue and Adrian's desire to continue and they were there backing him when he took the chequered flag twice that week.

“It was never really in doubt [to continue racing] provided we had the support of the Jefferies family, which we did.

“Adrian got the job done and I don't think there are very many characters who could've delivered in that situation the way Adrian did.”

Archibald also achieved his sole North West 200 success in 2003 and was victorious in the Superbike class at the Ulster Grand Prix, where he won six races on the Dundrod circuit.

The following year, Archibald returned to the TT and won the prestigious Senior event for a second time.

The quietly spoken County Antrim man also has the honour of being the last rider ever to defeat current TT king John McGuinness in a man-to-man duel in the Superbike class in the 2003 Senior.

Neill added: “He's obviously a very determined, self-driven individual. He doesn't share his feelings with very many people and sometimes it's hard to know what he's thinking, but what he did will be something that I'll be most impressed with when we look back on our racing career,” added Neill.

“We've had lots of success at the TT which is great, but to see Adrian achieve those results that particular year was super-impressive.

“It was one of those rare times when even some of our rivals were probably happy to see us win.

“He's a very big part of TAS Racing and TAS Suzuki history and is in the history books now and will always remain that way.”

Archibald also racked up over 100 victories at the national road race meetings in Ireland during his 21-year career.


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