Double AMA Formula Extreme champion Josh Hayes will join the Parkalgar Honda World Supersport team for the last three rounds of the 2008 season, replacing the late Craig Jones.
Jones died as a result of head injuries sustained at his home Brand Hatch round on August 3. The young Briton's side of the Parkalgar garage remained empty during the Donington Park weekend, when a tribute was paid to the rising star.
The Parkalgar team has now picked Hayes to take Jones' place alongside Portuguese racer Miguel Praia from the forthcoming Vallelunga round, to be held on 21st September.
33-year-old Hayes, from Mississippi, is a regular front runner in the US AMA Supersport 600 and Formula Extreme Championships, having won five out of the last six races he has entered. That experience on a Honda CBR600 should work in his favour as he makes his World Supersport debut for Parkalgar.
"I am looking to show the world what I can achieve," said Hayes. "My plan was always to graduate to world level but once I got a reputation for being good on a 600 in the US, it made sense to keep me there. Now I have a chance and I'm going to take it.
"Everything about the Parkalgar Honda team is top notch. It runs similar Motec electronics, Ohlins suspension and engine specification as my Formula Extreme bike so I aim to adapt quickly. I don't know any of the circuits that we are visiting but I learn quickly and will be giving it my all.
"Thanks to Kevin Erion and Dunlop for being so understanding with my ambition to run in the World Championship, without their support this move would not be possible. Thanks also to Parkalgar Honda for this opportunity, I will be doing my best to get good results and I am looking forward to competing in Europe."
Hayes started racing in the US AMA series in 1999 and won the Daytona 750 Superstock race that year. In 2003 he was the 750 Superstock Champion and in 2006 and 2007 the Formula Extreme Champion.
"We are delighted to have Josh on board for the final three rounds of the world championship," said team manager Simon Buckmaster. "He is a rider with big ambitions and a racing pedigree - the step up to world level will give him the chance to test himself against the best riders in the world."
The Parkalgar team is planning a UK-based test for Hayes before the Vallelunga race.