Aug 24, 2011
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Technicians work on Suzuki GSX-Rs at the Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing workshop.
Behind the scenes at the TAS Racing Relentless Suzuki workshops at Moneymore in County Londonderry.
TAS Racing is based in the rural village of Moneymore in County Londonderry at the foot of the picturesque Sperrin Mountains; just a stone's throw from the Cookstown 100 Road Racing circuit and a short car journey from Coleraine - famous for the International North West 200. So it would be fair to say Hector and Philip Neill's well-known team is working right in the heart of motorcycling territory in Northern Ireland.
The workshop on the outskirts of the village is easily found with heavily branded 'Relentless Suzuki' articulated lorries and team vehicles parked in the forecourt, but it's in the workshop at the back of Team HQ where all the preparation takes place.
In the main workshop a full range of GSX-R machinery can be found: from rolling chassis' to partially and fully-built machinery, with the constant din of the Dyno pumping out horsepower figures in the bowels of the operations, as yet another BSB round or International road race looms.
Carefully designed patriotic screen logos with the names Brookes, Martin and Seeley are the only indication of who the current riders are, with a team history spread around the walls of the workshop and offices in framed images. Former employees Lougher, Laverty, Lowry and Archibald are four who are featured, but the big man, TT legend David Jefferies' wide smile beams out from every corner of the Moneymore workshop - a respected former employee who enjoyed success with the team before tragically losing his life at the TT in 2003.
In between races, brothers Leigh and Aaron Finlay look after the mainstay of preparation on Josh Brookes' GSX-R1000 BSB Superbike and Alastair Seeley's British Supersport GSX-R600 machinery, with engine builder Stevie Fleming also part of the process. Other technicians include Mark Arnott and Derek Huxley who work alongside Brookes and Seeley at all race meetings with the Finlay brothers.
Mark McCarville has been with the team since the early days and is a mainstay within the whole TAS set-up. He has previously worked as crew chief to Tom Sykes and David Jefferies - to name but a few - and can turn his hand to 'the spanners' when required.
These days - in a team that doesn't get caught up in fancy titles - Mark looks after Guy Martin at the International road races along with English-based technician Danny Horne, whilst also handling a plethora of other team duties that includes BSB hospitality and administrative duties.
In the adjacent workshop, the livery goes from gothic black to vibrant yellow as Paul Conway and Davy 'Turk' tinker with RM-Z250 and RM-Z450 motocross bikes belonging to their 2011 British Championship recruits Mel Pocock and three-times former British Champion Gordon Crockard. Former team rider and close friend of Philip Neill's, Adam Lyons, is the Suzuki British Motocross Team Manager.
The inimitable Davy Turk, again a long-time associate of Philip Neill, also looks after the front of house operation, dealing with TAS Performance's day-to-day retail duties - usually complete with oily workshop apron, baseball cap and the odd burger wrapper on his desk!
As you would expect from an Irish team, the camaraderie is unique, as is the workshop banter, with Australian Josh Brookes and local man Alastair Seeley often seen popping in and out to discuss set-up issues - or on a more recreational basis - to collect their pristinely-prepared motocross machines for a day of training in the famous Desertmartin sand: the world class MX track, which is also on the team's doorstep.
Other vital members of the team are Dessie Purvis the loyal logistics lieutenant and the charismatic Mark McIvor, parts specialist for the BSB and road racing side of the team and also assisting with logistics. Paul Lindsay is the team's communications and Public Relations representative and of course Philip Neill and his father Hector keep the finely-tuned machine well oiled.