CORK based motorcycle outfit, Team #109 are embarking on a second season in the FIM World Supersport 300 Championship and have signed Northern Ireland motorcyclist James McManus (17) to secure their maiden championship points.
Recently, the Team #109 race truck departed Cork for pre-season testing in Catalunya where McManus will come to grips with the Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Two seasons ago McManus, who is from Randalstown, just outside Belfast, had six outings with the team - all towards the season end. Since then, they have watched him at races in the UK and have seen him progress as a member of the Affinity Racing Academy.
The Cork team (who now have reciprocal links with ARA) has put a two-year plan in place for James and although its only his third year racing and while the current season is more likely to be of familiarisation with the circuits, team boss Paul Tobin pointed out.
“That’s not to say he wouldn’t be capable of putting in performances that would claim Team #109’s first points in the series.”
In the last few seasons Team #109 has enjoyed a successful partnership with Kawasaki.
That included securing the British Junior Supersport title in 2018 with another Northern rider Eunan McGlinchey.
The Japanese manufacturer will again lend a hand in 2021.
“Kawasaki have the same ethos as ourselves to promote young riders in the sport and this was shown to us in 2019 when we carried the #TeamGreen mantle for Kawasaki," Tobin said.
"They give us technical help, discounted parts and discounted bikes which is great for the team. It might not sound like a lot but crashing is an inevitable part in racing and bikes are expensive to put back together so heavily discounted parts make it that bit cheaper to go racing at this level.”
The team plan to compete in all eight rounds of the series that races in five countries across thirty-two weeks.
Logistically, it is quite a challenge but Tobin reveals a silver lining.
“We have been really fortunate in that one of our team members Patrick Deehan lives in Spain. Once the truck left Ballinhassig little over a week ago, it will be based in Alicante and it will not return home again until October.”
On the challenges, he added, “Moving the team around, getting all the flights booked as well as hotels and Covid-19 hasn’t made it easy in that regard, but we are very fortunate that the elite sports are happening.
"The most difficult thing really will be getting spare parts in and out in between rounds.”
Team #109 enjoys local support from Liftrite.ie, MMD Construction, Kinsale Hotel and Spa, Kieran McCarthy Landscapes, Keohane Readymix and the Cork Motorcycle Racing and Vintage Club.
The season opener is in Aragon on May 23rd.