Feb 9, 2012
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SETON TUNING YAMAHA ANNOUNCES 2012 RIDER LINE-UP
After a successful 2011 campaign, team owner Phil Seton is delighted to announce an extended rider line-up for 2012. Sam Warren will once again spearhead the team in the British Supersport Championship, whilst Ben Burke will be joined in the National Superstock Championship by fellow Australian Mark Wilkinson and South African based rider Bjorn Estment.
Sam Warren proved himself as a true front-runner last term, scooping a race win at Knockhill and four podiums to close out the season as the highest placed Yamaha rider in the Supersport class. The 29-year old from Swanwick in Derbyshire will once again become a force to be reckoned with in 2012 as he sets his sights firmly on the vacant Supersport number 1 plate.
Australian riders, Ben Burke and Andy Lawson both faced a baptism of fire last season in their first foray into the fiercely competitive Metzeler National Superstock 600 series. Making the trans-global trips from NSW and Queensland respectively, both riders settled into the team admirably, learning to gel with the Yamaha YZF-R6 machinery, new personnel, new circuits and a British way of life.
Ben finished the season in fifth thanks to a strong second position in the season finale. Ben will look to capitalise on experience gained last time out in order to launch a strong challenge on the title this time round.
Andy Lawson joined the team mid-way through last season as the series headed north to Knockhill. Although the 18-year old had been racing 'blind' at new circuits every round, Andy showed great aptitude for fast learning, providing great feedback to the team and scoring points in back-to-back races at Silverstone and Donington Park. With his signature secured for 2012, Phil was forced to reconsider his rider line-up after hearing the news that Andy would face life-threatening surgery after his return to Australia.
The result of the successful yet complex and delicate surgical procedure, that took place at John Flynn Hospital, is that Andy will now be sidelined for the foreseeable future as he undergoes a minimum period of 18 months recuperation before the steel rod supports can be removed from his rebuilt ribcage.
As a result of this devastating blow, Phil Seton has signed not one but two replacement riders; Mark Wilkinson and Bjorn Estment, who will partner Ben Burke for a three-pronged team assault on the Superstock 600 crown.
Both new riders bring a wealth of experience with them from their respective domestic championships. Mark closed out 2011 with third in the Australian Superstock 600 championship - a series he has competed in for the past three seasons.
At the age of 25, this will be Bjorn's only attempt at the Superstock title due to upper age limit restrictions. His three 'wild card' rides in the final three rounds of the 2011 season culminated in a brilliant fifth place at Brands Hatch.
Thanks to a successful 2011, Seton Tuning Yamaha has retained Impact Coatings, TK Cope Moto and Standard Engineering as team partners, with Gas Moto, Racebikebitz, Track Electronics, NFB Financial Services Group, Lifan, UK WSL and LWF Mortgages coming onboard for the coming season.
Seton Tuning Yamaha also welcomes back Linxcel as a full-time sponsor for 2012. The partnership between the two was re-ignited part-way through 2011 but the relationship itself stems back to the 2007 season. Linxcel Europe Ltd is a privately held IT Infrastructure specialist focused on high performance application and database solutions for Enterprise customers. Coupled with the advanced technology on display in the British Superbike Championship, and a high calibre of race fan at each round, and now fielding four riders, Seton Tuning Yamaha will offer excellent product exposure for Linxcel to a profitable market place.
2012 will prove to be a busy and historic season, with a new round scheduled for Assen in Holland for the Superbike, Supersport and 125GP classes, plus Superstock support races at the Donington Park round of World Superbikes in May
The lights go out for the 2012 season over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend of 6-9 April at Brands Hatch Indy.
Phil Seton, team manager: "I'm really excited about 2012. We have a really strong line-up that is capable of making a strong challenge on both titles. Sam has already tested well during the close season in Spain and last weekend at Snetterton. The whole team will be making the trip to Spain at the beginning of March for the official test days at Alcaraz. It's great that all of our existing partners are back on board for another season, Linxcel is back in the fold too and I'd like to welcome our new partner, Gas Moto.
Sam showed last season that he is more than worthy of a top five slot and with adjustments made over the winter will be in contention from the off. Ben worked very hard last season and had his rewards at Brands Hatch with a win and a second either end of the year. This time out, he's got the added advantage of circuit knowledge, so we expect to see great things from him.
For Bjorn and Mark, it is great to have them both on board but it will be a steep learning curve. However, I've been impressed with what I've seen of both of them so far and know that they will prove to be great assets to the team.
Andy is recovering well back home in Australia, and the team wishes him a full and speedy recovery. We hope to see him back in the UK under the Seton Tuning Yamaha banner in the near future."
Sam Warren: "Our preparation for the up and coming 2012 BSB season is going very well. Having already been to Spain back in December, and working through a specific problem we had with the bike, I feel we're making very good progress. The aim for us is to now get on as many UK tracks as possible to confirm our settings and also test a few other parts we have coming along.Like most riders I'm really looking forward to racing on the Assen circuit. The fast and flowing nature of the track will suit the R6. I just hope that our lack of track time won't hamper our chances at the track, although I'm confident in the ability of the team to find the 'sweet' spot for bike settings very quickly.
I'm delighted to say I've got a mega bunch of sponsors behind me this season, so thanks to LWF Mortgages, UK Waste Solutions, Midland Skip Hire, Ashbourne Eng, C J Timms Electrical, Baileys Printers, Spyke, Weise, Arai and TCX.
My pre-season training is going exceptionally well. I'm slowly but surely changing my physique to that of a 'Supersport' rider rather than a 'Superstock 1000' guy. I've been out Snowboarding and Motocrossing but I've also been out on the Seton Tuning Yamaha quite a bit for this time of the year, so I'm chuffed to bits about that.
All in all, I've never been this ready for a season this early so it can't come soon enough for me!"
Ben Burke: "I'm happy to be signing for Bike Interceptor Yamaha by Seton for 2012. I've had a really enjoyable year with the team, we've got on well and worked hard to develop the bike and get good results. We'll benefit next season from having learned the tracks this year, and will be looking to move forward with the team in 2012."
Bjorn Estment: "I am extremely thrilled to have signed for the Seton Tuning Yamaha Team. I believe this is a great team with a quality set-up and approach. This has been proven in past results and championships. When I took part in 3 wild card rides last year I had the opportunity to see first hand just what the team was all about, and what is even more encouraging is having a quality teammate like Ben Burke and a so-called older brother in the team, namely Sam Warren. These two riders can only help me benefit in gaining track knowledge and experience. Finally, I believe under Phil's leadership and guidance we can only succeed as he is very passionate and has the knowledge and know-how having raced himself! I am really looking forward to coming over and meeting the guys and getting straight into testing and pre-season preparations!" "As far as the season goes I am a racer and that is exactly what I intend to do. I am an extremely competitive person and look forward to taking on the challenge and racking up the championship points, ultimately, to be in the hunt for the number one plate and hopefully pick up a couple of cracking results along the way. Bring on Brands Hatch!
I would also like to say a big 'thank you' to my father Mike Estment for always supporting and believing in me and for giving me the chance to pursue my dream."
Mark Wilkinson: "I am really excited to make the move overseas with Phil and the Seton Tuning Yamaha Team. They are very professional in their approach to racing and I believe they will provide me with everything I need to make the successful move from Australia. The Superstock class looks to be really competitive over there and I am looking forward to riding the new tracks on the Seton Tuning Yamaha. I have to thank Phil and the Seton Tuning Yamaha Team for their support and I am pumped for the challenges of the 2012 season"