Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing has confirmed James Hillier will spearhead the team’s assault on the Isle of Man TT and North West 200 for the 11th consecutive year.
For the first time, under the banner Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki, James will be joined at the North West 200 (NW 200) by teammate Glenn Irwin.
Since winning the Newcomers Trophy on his Isle of Man TT (IOM TT) debut in 2008, 33-year-old Hillier has enjoyed a successful relationship with team owner Pete Extance at Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing having scored a total of 12 podiums.
Of his 55 race starts and 51 finishes, no fewer than 46 have been inside the top ten. Except for 11th place in the 2016 Superbike Race, he hasn’t finished outside the top ten since 2011. His personal best lap of the Mountain Course stands at 132.414mph which currently makes him the seventh fastest rider of all time and the second fastest Kawasaki rider ever.
With 32 racing laps at more than 130mph, only Michael Dunlop and John McGuinness have a greater total thanks to the Ringwood rider.
Last season was no exception. Of his five-race starts and four finishes, all were inside the top five with two third places in the Superbike and Supersport 600cc races.
At the NW 200, the Hampshire rider finished all six of his races inside the top 10 and on two occasions managed to secure second place despite starting from 18th on the grid.
James said he’s hoping to build on last year’s strong results: “Although I was really pleased with my performance last year, unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get that elusive win.
“However, consistency is key and signing with Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing for the 11th successive year gives me the best chance of achieving my goal of getting a big bike win at the TT.
“It’s certainly the best package and the new Kawasaki ZX10-RR looks good on paper so I’m feeling really confident. All I can do is keep putting in the maximum effort; the team believes in me and I have faith in them to build a bike that’s good enough. I just need a bit of luck and for everything to come together on the day.
“Pre-season testing gets underway next month and I’m looking forward to getting back on the track and putting the new bike through its paces.”
Hillier will be joined at the NW 200 by teammate Glenn Irwin who has switched from PBM Ducati to Team Green for the 2019 British Superbike season. The 29-year-old from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland did a Superbike double at NW 200 last season and will be breaking new ground this year by competing in six races.
As well as the two Superbike races he will be competing in both Stock 1000 and Supertwin events. Glenn has never competed in either category on the roads before but is hoping he can set a new record by winning all six of his races.
“Joining Kawasaki has opened the door to competing in six races as they have competitive bikes across all classes,” he explained. “Although it’s something I said I’d never do it just feels right – the stars have aligned as they say!
“I’ve grown up watching the likes of Michael Rutter and it’s cool to be competing against the riders I used to watch. The buzz you get is incredible and the home fans really get behind you – I’m always so grateful for their support.
“I’m also looking forward to racing alongside James. Competing as part of a team will be a first for both of us but If I can do my bit and help him get on the podium then that will top everything off.
“Being part of the Bournemouth Kawasaki team has been fantastic so far – the whole team from the mechanics to the sponsors have been so welcoming. When everyone wants you to do well you want to do better and it makes you try just that little bit harder. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve!”
Speaking about next season team boss Pete Extance said: “Bournemouth Kawasaki return to the IOM TT with loyal team rider James Hillier. This will be the 11th consecutive year James and Bournemouth Kawasaki have competed together in what must be one of the longest team-rider relationships in IOM history!
“For 2019 James will be part of Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki squad and will compete in the prestigious Senior race along with the Superbike race, Stock 1000 race, and both Supersport 600 races.
“While already a TT winner in the Lightweight class and with many podiums over the years that big bike win has still eluded James and the team so 2019 is hopefully the turning point for us all.
“Kawasaki have a brand new ZX10-RR which James will race along with his trusty ZX6R and with some testing planned in March with the BSB squad we hope to be ready to win some silverware at the NW 200 and IOM TT.
“Having Glenn on board this season is a real bonus will hopefully double our chances of podiums and wins at the NW 200.”