MCE British Superbike Championship race-winner Alastair Seeley will return to the premier class for the 2016 season as the Carrickfergus contender joins the Royal Air Force BMW team after finishing runner-up in last year's Superstock title battle.
Seeley has lifted titles in both the Supersport and Superstock classes and returns revitalised to the Superbike grid, having previously secured his first race win in the championship and a place in the MCE BSB Showdown in 2010. The 36-year-old is ready to build on his BMW experience with his new team and is relishing the opportunity to replicate his previous achievements this year.
"It is great to be back in the Superbike Championship, the elite class, again," Seeley said.
"I have been there before and know what it takes - I have had some seasons to regroup in Supersport and Superstock and I want to come back and pick up where I left off in 2012. I have obviously been keeping a close eye on BSB and it looks like it is not going to be easy with the level of riders on the grid and everyone is so close on times - but that is good for me and I am ready for the challenge.
"I feel that my experience on the BMW in the Superstock class will help me this season and I am working with crew that I know already, which is a big bonus for me too. I want to start the season strongly, as when I was in the Showdown before you need to get yourself inside the top six and then to maintain it. We have a really good testing programme, so we should be able to start fighting from the opening round and moving forward from there. The team have proven they can be on the podium so I obviously want to try and make that happen again this year and be back in the Showdown again."
Team owner Lee Hardy commented: "I am very pleased to announce that Alastair Seeley will be competing for the Royal Air Force BMW team this season. For me Alastair has a large amount of unfinished business within the elite class and has a wealth of experience in BSB. Previously he has been a Showdown contender and also a race winner so the pedigree is there, we have an extensive testing schedule planned for most of March including many new parts to test. I am confident we can get the bike to how Alastair requires it and with confidence comes results; he could be a dark horse and one to watch.
"It's great news for the team to have the Royal Air Force on board again for the 2016 season. Briggs Equipment are continuing their support after such a successful season in 2015 - Andrew and Emma Martin have been instrumental in the success of the team and they are looking forward to the season ahead. Thank you to all the team's sponsors and supporters and hopefully we can bring you success in 2016."
Air Commodore Chris Luck of the Royal Air Force said: "Royal Air Force Regular and Reserve are delighted to welcome a rider of Alastair Seeley's calibre to the Royal Air Force BMW squad for 2016. This year the RAF wants to highlight the teamwork and leadership qualities that are required to compete at the highest standard in the MCE British Superbike Championship - which are also required for the 50 plus roles we have available in the Royal Air Force. We hope this partnership will bring continued success throughout the season and look forward to the start of the championship."
"Royal Air Force Recruitment is delighted to welcome a rider of Alastair Seeley's calibre to the Royal Air Force BMW squad for 2016. This year the RAF wants to highlight the teamwork and leadership qualities that are required to compete at the highest standard in the MCE British Superbike Championship - which are also required for the 50 plus roles we have available in the Royal Air Force. We hope this partnership will bring continued success throughout the season and look forward to the start of the championship."
Gary Clements, Strategic Development Director of Briggs Equipment concluded: "Briggs Equipment is delighted to be sponsoring Alastair Seeley and the Royal Air Force team in the MCE British Superbike Championship and the NW200 this year.
"As a leading national provider of specialist materials handling equipment, Briggs Equipment has a long standing partnership with the Ministry of Defence and we're thrilled to extend our support to the team for another year. In addition, given our existing business activities in Northern Ireland, we are delighted to have Alastair as part of the team.
"This move presents a great opportunity for a rider of his experience. The new partnership will make for exciting racing and we wish Alastair every success for the season ahead."