Smiths Racing hit back over TT selection criticism

by Joshua Close

Smiths Racing have released a statement to help clarify there decision to sign Guy Martin, rather than Gary Johnson for the 2015 Isle Of Man TT.

The announcement, made last week, was met with some criticism given that Johnson won the team’s first Supersport TT Race at the event last year.

Accusations and rumours were made on social media and it was suggested that Martin had been signed in order to increase the commercial aspect of the team, given his success on national TV.

Smiths Racing team boss, Rebecca Smith, explains the team’s decision in the following statement:

“Whilst delighted to have confirmed our plans of the 2015 TT Races, we have been very disappointed with the subsequent comments on the various media platforms. For the record, Gary Johnson was offered the Supersport TT ride with us for the 2015 TT back in October 2014, when I met with him at the final round of the MCE British Superbike Championship.

“Those initial discussions highlighted that Gary’s financial expectations had transformed drastically since him riding for us in 2014 and, whilst we were prepared to improve the package for 2015, they were just too far apart from what our budget allowed and this was made clear at that very early stage. As a team, the deal from our side had not changed logistically. The bike is better having undergone further development work, the crew he would be working with would be the same and the testing plan would have been as 2014.

“I am not prepared to disclose any of the financial discussions that took place between Gary and I as I deem these to be confidential, but I will say that those which have been printed in the media over the last week or so are vastly incorrect. Right up until recently, the deal was still on offer to Gary but we were not prepared to increase our initial offer.

“We were subsequently approached by Guy Martin who asked if he could acquire a Triumph Daytona 675R from us to use at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Races. As a result, and realising that the 2015 festival was only three months away, and having not reached an agreement with Gary, we agreed to supply that earmarked machine for Guy to use. There is no hidden agenda with the deal with Guy, no television or commercial deals like as some are suggesting. We want to work with him and he wants to work with us, there really is nothing more to it than that.

“I would also like to reiterate that our priority rider in all solo classes at the TT is Dave Johnson whom we rate highly, despite coming in for some unfair criticism in these inaccurate and inappropriate stories. He will spearhead our efforts on both BMW and Triumph machinery and Guy Martin will join him for the two Supersport races on the Smiths 675cc Triumph Daytona. Running both Gary and Guy on Supersport bikes as teammates was never a viable option for us.”

Smith went on to wish Gary Johnson the very best in his future endeavours and thanked him for bringing the team’s first TT win in 2014.

The 2015 Isle Of Man TT is now only a few months away, with qualifying for the event taking place on Saturday 30 May.

The Superbike and first sidecar races will then get the racing underway one-week later, on Saturday 6 June.

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