Former leading national road racer John Burrows will field an all-Northern Ireland team in 2013 after confirming Stephen Thompson and Nigel Moore will ride for his Cookstown/BE Racing outfit.
Burrows retired from the sport last year following the death of his friend, Trevor Ferguson, in a crash at the Manx Grand Prix.
The 40-year-old vowed to retain his links with road racing and this week unveiled Ulstermen Thompson and Moore as his riders for the season ahead.
Thompson will ride the ex-Bruce Anstey TAS Superbike at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix for Burrows, while Moore – who won the Lightweight Supertwin race at the Manx GP in 2012 on one of Ryan Farquhar's KMR Kawasaki machines – will compete in the Supertwin class at the national road race meetings in Northern Ireland plus the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.
Burrows – whose career highlights include an eighth place finish in the 2008 Senior TT – told the Belfast News Letter
: “I didn't just want to turn my back on road racing and walk away because I feel the sport is at a point where it is struggling a bit and it will be hard this year with obviously myself, Ryan Farquhar and Adrian [Archibald] having retired.
“I feel I have two riders who are very capable but at the same time there is no pressure on them.
“I'm delighted that I managed to keep Cookstown on board because they are a good, local sponsor and without them none of this would be possible.
“H2 Engineering are on board too and my supporters club and it's thanks to them that I can run a team this year.”
Thompson, meanwhile, is relishing the chance to ride the Suzuki GSXR1000 this year, which is the bike on which Anstey set the outright lap record at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2010 of almost 134mph.
“I got talking with John a few weeks ago and the more we talked the better it sounded, so I thought I'd go for it.
“We need to keep people like John in the sport because he runs a good, professional set-up,” added the former British Superstock Championship contender.
“The TT is the main thing and I'd like to try and lap at over 125mph and I'm hoping John will bring me on a bit because of his experience.
“If I can lap consistently at 125mph then I don't think I'd be far away from the top 12,” he added. “I'm quite excited by it.”
Thompson will also ride a BMW S1000RR Superstock machine with backing from The People's Bike team plus a Kawasaki Supertwin in the Lightweight race at the TT.