Team Vitrans Honda has announced that Dean Thomas is to replace Callum Ramsay as team-mate to Michael Laverty for the remainder of the 2003 British Supersport championship season.

The 30-year-old Australian competed in last year's British Superbike championship, and had hoped to do the same in 2003 until his ride fell through at the last moment. He recently tested a 2003-spec Ten Kate Honda CBR600RR on Pirelli tyres in Japan, and will make his return to the UK Supersport series, aboard the Pirelli-shod, Ten Kate-tuned Vitrans Honda CBR600RR at the fourth round of the year at Oulton Park on 5 May.

Thomas brings a strong blend of experience to the team, having competed in Supersport at British - where he finished third in 2000 - and world level since moving to the UK from his native Australia for the 1997 season.

"I can't wait to get back into the British Supersport series - especially on a Ten Kate Honda, which are absolute weapons!" said an excited Thomas, "The team is a tidy, professional outfit and they've offered me a competitive ride, which is all I could ask for. I'm really looking forward to working with them."

With Ramsey leaving the team by mutual consent, Vitrans team boss Robbie Burns admits that he could not have hoped to find as experienced a replacement as Thomas.

"It's a shame that things didn't work out with Callum," Burns commented, "We had a chat after the last round at Thruxton and decided that it would be in both our interests to call it a day.

"Dean brings a lot of experience with him, as well as his Australian technician, Murray Constance. Michael [Laverty] is lying in fifth place in the British championship and has shown what the bike is capable of with his win at Snetterton in round two, so we're really hoping for some more good results at Oulton Park this weekend."



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