Leading British Supersport Championship outfit Smiths Triumph Racing has announced it will make the trip to Australia next month for a wild-card outing in the World Supersport Championship.
The team, which runs Triumph's factory-assisted efforts in the domestic British series, has been a regular wild-card contender during events held on UK soil, but as part of its preparations for the 2014 BSS season it will travel to Phillip Island to warm up alongside the world championship contingent.
Heading up its line-up will be Billy McConnell with the Australian being joined in the team for the first time by Graeme Gowland, who comes on board in place of retired former BSS champion Glen Richards.
For team manager Rebecca Smith, the chance to race in Australia is seen as a great experience for both the team and the riders.
"The team enjoyed its World Championship race experiences last year and it will be great to get our season underway at Phillip Island. It'll be a fantastic experience for the whole team and it's also very exciting for Billy to be able to wild card at his home race. It will also be an ideal opportunity for Graeme to get some quality track time and experience of the Smiths Triumph Daytona 675R too."
Indeed, McConnell is looking forward to the prospect of racing on home soil ahead of his quest to lift the British title for the first time.
"We've been thinking about doing the Phillip Island race for a while and now it's all come together really quickly. I'm pumped to be racing at home but it'll be tough without the traction control. I've ridden in WSS on the Triumph so I know what to expect so I'll just have to hang it out a bit when the tyre goes and hope for the best. I'm deadly serious about winning the British Championship this year and this is an ideal way to start our preparations."
Former British Superbike rider Gowland, meanwhile, is also excited at the opportunity to begin his racing season early as he looks to adapt to the Triumph Daytona 675R.
"This is a brilliant opportunity to get an early race under our belts and for me to familiarise myself with the Triumph 675R and the Smiths Racing Team. It will also give us a head start on our rivals so that means we will hopefully have an advantage come Brands Hatch.
“We have a test at Phillip Island the week before which will help and I've raced there before too. I love the track and whilst it will be tough, I'm really looking forward to it and hope we can score some good points."