Smiths Racing have confirmed their inclusion in the 2017 MCE British Superbike Championship after revealing Peter Hickman and Lee Jackson as their riders.
Hickman joins the team following the departure of the GBMoto-run JG Speedfit Kawasaki team from the series at the end of last year.
The 29-year-old took two victories in 2016 and ended the season with the Rider’s Cup. Hickman has had plenty of success with BMW machinery in the past and is excited for the challenge ahead.
He said: “I have another new challenge to look forward to again this season and I’m relishing it aboard the Smiths Racing BMW. All the dealings I’ve had with the team so far have been fantastic and they are very easy to work with. I know the BMW well having ridden it in the past and we’ve been promised the right support from the factory in Germany which will make a difference.
“I’m pleased to be bringing my own crew into the team which is a massive bonus so I’m really looking forward to the season in both BSB and on the roads with Smiths Racing.”
Hickman will also be competing for the team on the roads in 2017, at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT Races and Ulster GP.
Jackson also has vast experience with BMW machinery after spending last season with Buildbase BMW. The Lincoln-based rider also rode BMW machinery in the Superstock 1000 series.
The 2012 National Superstock 600 champion ended last year’s campaign in 13th place, with a best result of fifth, and is looking forward to the change of scenery.
Jackson explained: “This will be the first time I’ve joined a new team in five years so it’s a totally different challenge and one I’m very much looking forward to. It was time to stand on my own two feet and Rebecca has given me the platform to do that on the BMW which I’m familiar with.
“I know the package and with the support we will have in place, I couldn’t be more excited. I’m really looking forward to getting started and the first race at Donington Park can’t come soon enough.”
There had been doubts over the Gloucester-based team’s future following a difficult 2016 season and team manager Rebecca Smith had been considering their options carefully.
With her new-rider line-up, and support from BMW, Smith is confident that her team can challenge further up the field this season.
She said: “There’s no doubting 2016 was a very difficult season for us all at Smiths Racing and although everyone gave 100%, the results just didn’t come. This year, we are taking a slightly different approach with the help of the factory and we now feel we are in a position to challenge much higher up the leaderboard.
“Both Lee and Peter bring a wealth of BMW experience to the team and both are established BSB riders whilst we are equally delighted to be making a return to the roads with Peter.”
The opening round of the 2017 BSB season takes place at Donington Park on the weekend beginning March 31.