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TT organisers dismiss suggestion of Honda influence
7 January 2014
The organisers of the Isle of Man TT races have rejected a suggestion that a change in regulations in the Superbike class was implemented at Honda's request.
The claim was made in an official statement issued by Milwaukee Power Tools, title sponsors of Shaun Muir's MCE British Superbike and international road racing team.
It relates to new rules preventing the use of trick electronics at the TT in 2014, which Muir feels puts his riders at a disadvantage compared to their rivals.
The statement from Milwaukee Power Tools said: “The forced ECU changes, suggested at the outset by Honda, would have made all SMR road racing machinery less competitive than its rivals, and the control ECU that SMR would have been forced to fit [Motec] – gives less control than that of their main competitors' Kit systems.”
Milwaukee has pulled the plug on its backing for Muir's team at the TT this year.
However, the Isle of Man TT organisers have dismissed the suggestion Honda influenced the rule change.
“The Department of Economic Development and ACU Events Ltd, organisers of the Isle of Man TT Races, regret the decision by Milwaukee Power Tools to withdraw their sponsorship from Shaun Muir Racing (SMR) for the 2014 Isle of Man TT races as a result of a regulation change in the Superbike class,” said an Isle of Man TT statement in response.
“ACU Events Ltd amended the regulations following consultation with the motorcycle manufacturers as part of a longer-term strategy to contain costs for the TT teams and competitors.
“Despite extensive mediation and consultation with SMR, which began in July 2013, ACU Events Ltd is disappointed that the team has rejected the compromise proposed for the 2014 Races,” the statement continued.
“At no point did any one manufacturer influence the decision and after discussions with a number of competitors, ACU Events Ltd does not believe that it will in any way compromise rider safety, which remains the organisation's utmost priority.”
The Milwaukee Yamaha machines use a Magneti Marelli ECU on their road racing R1s but under the change in regulations, Muir would be required to switch to the Motec system or run Yamaha's own kit electronics.
However, the team has argued that it would cost in the region of £30,000 to change to the Motec variant and contend that Yamaha's kit ECU is much less competitive than the standard systems used by rivals such as Honda and Kawasaki.
Although Milwaukee Power Tools has withdrawn its support of Muir's team at the TT, the company will remain on board for the British Superbike Championship plus the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix.
Muir, of course, may yet still opt to compete at the TT with Ian Hutchinson and Josh Brookes under the SMR banner or with alternative support.
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