Smiths Triumph team will make its debut at the 2014 Isle of Man TT with two known names in TT racing – Gary Johnson and Michael Rutter.
The duo will line up on the Triumph 675s (Daytona) in the two 4-lap Monster Energy Supersport races. With two potential race winners on board, the British manufacturer has a great chance of replicating the success achieved by Bruce Anstey and the Valmoto Triumph team back in 2003 when they won the Junior 600cc encounter. The news also gives further proof of the TT’s stature with yet another British Championship team adding it to their schedule.
Johnson has already tasted success in the Supersport category at the TT, having won the second race in 2011, and looked set to do the same in 2012 before running out of fuel on the final lap of the Supersport 1 Race. Rutter, too, has been victorious in the 600cc category, winning the 1998 race after getting the better of team-mate Ian Simpson by just 4.7 seconds, although 2014 will be the first time he’s contested the class since 2009.
The team, run by father and daughter duo Alan and Rebecca Smith, forms a part of the Gloucester-based firm. They are one of the region’s largest and most respected construction services and waste management companies and their team has been at the forefront of the British Supersport Championship since they first contested it in 2010.
Their crowning moment came in 2012 when Australian Glen Richards took the title by just 8.5 points after a thrilling final round at Brands Hatch. Richards’ title defence last year was interrupted by injury but fellow Australian Billy McConnell took third place overall for the second successive year with the duo taking a combined 15 wins and 40 podiums in those two seasons. McConnell will again challenge for the British Championship in 2014 where he’ll be joined by new teammate Graeme Gowland.
Commenting on the appearance of the team at the 2014 TT, Paul Phillips said: “The welcome appearance of another high profile, successful team from the British Championship gives the TT its strongest line up for many years. This year also represents one of the strongest in living memory in terms of manufacturer representation with another credible marque added to the list of potential race winners.
“Smiths have made a major commitment to the TT and by backing these experienced riders have a great chance of at least a podium place or even a race win.”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager, Smiths Triumph, says “As a team we’ve often discussed the Isle of Man TT Races but only wanted to do it with everything in place. We are really looking forward to taking the iconic Triumph brand back to the Isle of Man and with Michael and Gary riding for us we are confident that we will be competitive.”