Kneen fired up to grasp his chance with Tyco BMW

Dan Kneen will ride for Northern Ireland's Tyco BMW team at the international road races in 2018.

Manx ace Dan Kneen has vowed to ‘give it everything’ next season after signing for Northern Ireland’s Tyco BMW team.

As revealed in Saturday’s News Letter, the Braddan man has secured a full-time ride for 2018 after impressing during the Ulster Grand Prix in August.

Kneen was drafted into the Moneymore-based outfit as a replacement for Ian Hutchinson, who was ruled out for the season due to injuries he sustained in a crash in the Senior TT.

The 30-year-old went close to winning the second Superbike race, finishing as the runner-up after a last-lap battle with Dean Harrison at Dundrod.

Kneen also finished on the rostrum in the Superstock race in third place on the Tyco BMW and became the second fastest rider ever around the spectacular 7.4-mile course, lapping at 134.541mph in the Superbike class.

Kneen, who sealed his maiden podium at the TT in the Superstock race in June, said: “I realised that when the chance of a short-term ride with the Tyco BMW team came up last season I had to take it with both hands as it’s not every day you get the chance to work with such a well-run, manufacturer-backed team.

“I’m going to be really proud to represent the team on my home course and I’m going to give it everything to reward the faith that Philip and Hector have shown in me.”

During an excellent season, Kneen backed up his rostrum at the TT by setting his personal best lap of the Mountain Course at 130.347mph.

He also finished fifth in the RST Superbike race, eighth in the Supersport race and 12th in the Senior TT.

In July, Kneen claimed four runner-up finishes in the Superbike class at the Southern 100 at Billown.

Meanwhile, there is mounting speculation that Ian Hutchinson is poised to leave the Ulster team to join Honda Racing for next season, with Maguiresbridge man Lee Johnston also mooted in a two-man line-up.

However, in Kneen, Tyco BMW team principal Philip Neill has a solid replacement should Hutchinson jump ship.

Neill said: “We’ve been following Dan ever since his exploits in the 2008 Manx Grand Prix but even we were surprised at how well and how quickly he fitted into the team and got up to speed last season, which bodes really well for his first proper year with the team in 2018.”

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