Manx rider Dan Kneen is determined to make the most of his opportunity after being offered the chance to ride for Northern Ireland’s Tyco BMW team at next week’s MCE Ulster Grand Prix.
Kneen, who claimed his maiden rostrum at the Isle of Man TT in the Superstock race in June on his DTR BMW, joins the Moneymore-based outfit as a replacement for Yorkshire rider Ian Hutchinson, who sustained a broken femur and a badly injured ankle in a crash in the Senior TT.
Kneen will be the sole representative in BMW Motorrad UK’s official roads team at Dundrod and heads to the event in terrific form.
He finished second in all four Superbike races at the Southern 100 at Billown, narrowly missing out on a coveted win in the Solo Championship race behind Dean Harrison.
The 30-year-old said he was delighted to receive the call-up from team principal Philip Neill and wished outright Dundrod lap record holder Hutchinson a speedy recovery.
“First of all, it’s nice to be asked to ride for Tyco BMW. Obviously, the opportunity has come up due to Hutchy’s injury, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best with his recovery,” Kneen said.
“It’s also nice to be given the chance on merit because of the results I’ve been getting recently and how I’m riding. Things have been going well for me on BMW machinery, so that in itself should make things easier jumping onto the TAS Racing-prepared Tyco BMWs.
“TAS are known to be one of the top teams in the paddock and I’m looking forward to working with the lads at the UGP – I’m sure we will have a good time,” added Kneen.
“Thanks also to all my personal sponsors for letting me take this opportunity.”
Kneen secured his first ever victory at international level in the Superstock race at the Ulster GP in 2014 and TAS Racing boss Neill feels the Isle of Man rider has earned his shot on the official Tyco BMW bikes.
“With Hutchy out injured we could have taken the opportunity for a well-earned break from our hectic racing schedule, which has also seen our team members in Japan representing BMW Motorrad at the Suzuka 8 Hour last weekend.
“But we are big fans of the Ulster Grand Prix and as well as having a good record at the event, we very much enjoy bringing the whole show home to race in front of our local fans and race supporters,” Neill said.
“Hutchy is almost an impossible man to replace, but Dan has shown great form of late on BMW Motorrad machinery and very much deserves this opportunity at the Ulster Grand Prix.
“He’s a former winner and has shown recently that he can mix it with the best on the roads on the S1000RR, so we are looking forward to working with him at this year’s event.”
UGP Clerk of the Course Noel Johnston believes Kneen has a golden chance to add to his previous success around the 7.4-mile course.
“Dan has been riding exceptionally well lately and deserves the chance he’s getting with Philip and the Tyco team.
“He’s won at Dundrod before and I think that given his recent form coupled with the team and the BMW machinery that he’s so clearly comfortable with, that this year could represent one of his best chances at further success.”
Practice gets underway next Wednesday at Dundrod, followed by final qualifying and the Dundrod 150 on Thursday, whetting the appetite for Saturday’s main event.