Legendary road race outfit TAS Suzuki has announced it will make its first ever bid for British Supersport success next year, with Michael Laverty and Suzuki's all-new GSX-R600.

Famous for dominating the Isle of Man TT and world road racing, TAS is now turning its attention to short circuit glory and the prestigious British Supersport Championship.

With six TT victories in the last two years and the enviable record of holding the fastest two-wheel lap record in the UK, TAS is a team with serious credentials.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for TAS Suzuki to prove that we can challenge for the top honours on the short circuits as well as our proven successes on road circuits," enthused team manager Phillip Neil. "We identified earlier in the year that Michael was one of the top riders in the Supersport class and his performance in the last two rounds proved without doubt his ability and talent. We will shortly be in a position to announce our second rider, which will complete our rider line up for next season."

Laverty, who finished fourth in the British Supersport series this year and third in 2002, is acknowledged as one of Britain's most promising young race stars. The 22-year-old race winner from Toomebridge in Ulster reckons he has the ideal mix of team, track experience and machinery to put in a serious title challenge in 2004.

"I am absolutely delighted to be riding for the TAS Suzuki team for the 2004 Supersport season, and to get the chance to ride a factory backed GSX-R600 is a dream come true for me," he beamed. "I rode recently for TAS i at the Sunflower Trophy races and loved the whole set up of the team, so I feel that I will fit it very quickly and I'm already looking forward to getting on the bike, which I'm sure will give me a tremendous opportunity to become Champion next season."

Based in Moneymore Northern Ireland, TAS has enjoyed a close association with Suzuki GB during the last three years. It has been responsible for Suzuki's road racing programme at the Isle of Man and other major races in Northern Ireland.

"TAS Suzuki run by Philip and Hector Neill has proven its ability to win road races over the last two years and it has deserved the opportunity to represent Suzuki GB in the British Supersport Championship," stated Nick Barnes, general manager of Suzuki GB.

"The team's experience and dedication will enable it to focus its attention on the ultra competitive Supersport championship and with the all new GSX-R600 it will be in a position to challenge for honours right from the start," he added. "The signing of Michael was fundamental in Suzuki's decision to contest the championship, and we believe the combination of TAS, Michael, and the GSX-R600 will give us a great platform in which to return to this championship."

TAS now joins Crescent Suzuki, which runs the Suzuki British Superbike squad, as an officially supported team in the most competitive domestic series in the world.

 

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