Manx rider Dan Kneen has joined Northern Ireland’s Tyco BMW team for 2018, although a question mark hangs over Ian Hutchinson’s plans next season.
Yorkshire rider Hutchinson signed for the Moneymore-based outfit in 2016 and stayed on for a second term this year. The Bingley Bullet won the Superbike and Superstock races at the Isle of Man TT, but Hutchinson crashed out of the Senior race and missed the rest of the year through injury.
The 16-time TT winner has been linked with Honda and joint TAS Racing team owner Hector Neill admits he is unsure whether or not the 38-year-old will continue with BMW next year.
However, Neill has confirmed that Kneen has joined his team for the international road races after impressing at the Ulster Grand Prix in August, when he filled in for injury victim Hutchinson.
The 30-year-old, who claimed his maiden rostrum with a brilliant ride to third in the Superstock race at the TT, finished as the runner-up in the second UGP Superbike race behind Dean Harrison.
He also bagged a podium in the Superstock race at Dundrod and Neill revealed the Isle of Man rider has earned a full-time seat on the Tyco machines in 2018.
“Hutchy is working at the minute to sign the contract but we took young Dan Kneen on, from the Isle of Man,” said Neill.
“I’ve known Dan a long time and we gave him a run at Dundrod at the Ulster Grand Prix and he completely surprised me the way he rode the bike for the first time on it. He should have won the race but a couple of things happened.
“I can’t mention Hutchy because I don’t know what he’s doing. Philip [Neill] thinks he has signed but he hasn’t put pen to paper yet, so we just have to wait to hear,” added Neill, speaking in an interview with Motorsport Radio at Motorcycle Live at the NEC.
“At the minute, with Dan and Hutchy we’re in with a good chance of winning anything, but the Senior TT is the one I’m looking for.”
Neill said he intended to take a backward step from the sport if Hutchinson had won the Senior TT in June, but admits he will have to put his retirement on hold for another year at least.
“I’ve been in this game for over 50 years and I had decided that if we won the Senior TT one more time with Hutchy, I would pull out of it,” he said.
“But Hutchy went down and we didn’t win it, so now I’ll have to come back for another year. Once we do win it, I’ll go out. We were still developing the bike last year and right near the end of the season we got the proper settings. We’re coming into 2018 with good riders on good bikes, so let’s try and win everything, but especially the Senior TT - that's the one I want."