MICHAEL DUNLOP IN ELEVENTH HOUR DEAL WITH HAWK RACING SUZUKI FOR fonaCAB AND NICHOLL OILS NORTH WEST 200 SUPERBIKE RACES
Michael Dunlop has dramatically unveiled the machine he will race in the Superbike races at this year’s fonaCAB and Nicholl Oils North West 200 on the eve of the opening practice session.
Dunlop has turned to his old friends, Stuart and Steve Hicken of Hawk Racing, who have produced a superbike-spec GSX-R1000R Suzuki for the Ballymoney man at the 11th hour after his split with the PBM Ducati team.
“It has been one of those situations where I have had to go back to someone I can trust,” the 33-year-old said. “Stuart has always said to call him if I needed anything. I made the call and they have built this Suzuki for me. Steve and Stuart might not have the biggest budget in the world but they always give 100% and that is all you can ask for.”
Dunlop won the Senior TT on a Hawk Racing-built Suzuki in 2017. He previously rode for the Hicken-owned team in 2014, 2015 and 2016 on BMW machinery.
“Everyone else has had three years to prepare for this week but we have had just three days,” Steve Hicken joked. “It is just another one of those deals that happens between Hawk and Michael but if you win five TTs with someone there is a respect so let’s see what we can do now.”
“Michael is a big favourite with the North West 200 fans and we wanted him here on a superbike,” NW200 race boss, Mervyn Whyte said. “It is a last-minute deal but Michael is vastly experienced at the North West and if anyone can produce the goods on the day it is him.”
Dunlop is now hoping he can find a sponsor for the Suzuki before Saturday’s races.
“The last time I rode the Suzuki it was a brand new bike and the team has had four years to develop it since then,” Dunlop said. “I’ve had the support of Gary Ryan, the Black Dub and H&S to get this deal sorted but it would be good to have someone behind us for the race.”
More, from a press release issued by Isle of Man TT Press Office:
MICHAEL DUNLOP JOINS HAWK RACING FOR 2022 ISLE OF MAN TT RACES
The return of the Isle of Man TT Races will also see Michael Dunlop return to GSX-R1000R machinery for the Superbike classes, as he today confirmed that he joins Stuart and Steve Hicken’s Hawk Racing.
The announcement renews a long and illustrious partnership with the family-run team, which began in 2014 and included a Superbike and Senior TT double in their debut year.
Two more victories came at TT 2016 before the team switched to Suzuki power for the 2017 season. Despite the change, Dunlop was able to take the brand-new and unproven GSX-R L7 model to an impressive Senior TT – Suzuki’s first in 13 years.
19-time TT winner Dunlop commented: “After 3 years away from the roads and the Isle of Man, it’s important for me to be with a team I know and on a bike that I know. It’s been a big effort to get the bike ready so quickly, so I can’t thank Stuart [Hicken], Steve [Hicken], and the team, plus my own Street Sweep, H&S Contractors, and UGGLY&CO personal sponsors enough for all their efforts.”
Team Principal of Hawk Racing Steve Hicken added: “We’ve a great relationship with Michael and have enjoyed a lot of success over the years. Of course these aren’t ideal circumstances without any testing, but you can never rule Michael out and we’ll do everything we can to give him the bike he needs.”