Niki Tuuli says growing up ice racing and a stint of national service acted as a surprising education towards making headlines on the World Supersport scene, as he prepares for a maiden full season with Kallio Racing Yamaha in 2017.

The Finnish rider saw his 2016 racing campaign truncated by time spent on national service in the army but was able to make three wildcard appearances in the World Supersport championship with Kallio racing - a team run by KTM MotoGP rider Mika Kallio's brother.

The youngster stormed into the spotlight with three runner-up finishes in three races, beating some established names along the way, and off the back of it Kallio Racing has landed factory Yamaha support for 2017 in the World Supersport championship.

Relishing his first full season on the world stage, Tuuli reflects on how ice racing in his native Finland helped him develop the skills for close-combat racing which made him not only fast but also effective.

"It's a difficult form of racing and means that I can practise in the long winter months - in my recent races in WSS I've noticed that those skills helped me a lot," Tuuli said.

Alongside his racing Tuuli feels despite being away from competitive racing on national service in his native Finland it supported his racing.

"I've been in the army for the whole year but thankfully I've only got 4 days left now so will be able to focus on racing more," he said. "Honestly though it only got in the way of my racing a bit so didn't ruin things completely.

"In a way the Finnish army supports my racing. I'm not in the army again next year but it's good fun using a machine gun."

With Kallio Racing Yamaha support, Tuuli is aiming to emulate the likes of Sam Lowes, Chaz Davies and Cal Crutchlow who all claimed World Supersport titles for the Japanese manufacturer and is aiming to follow Lowes' route up the racing ladder.

"I remember watching Sam Lowes and his riding and really being impressed," he said. "My target is Moto2 in the same way that he did it."



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