James Hillier Confirms 2024 IoM TT Supersport Plans

A Kawasaki ZX-6R will be prepared by Bournemouth Kawasaki for James Hillier for this year’s Isle of Man TT Supersport races

James Hillier, Isle of Man TT. - Kawasaki UK

James Hillier has announced his 2024 Isle of Man TT Supersport plans, as he is set to return to the Kawasaki ZX-6R.

Hillier became a centrepiece of Kawasaki’s road race programme in the 2010s, finding success with the Bournemouth Kawasaki team and in particular on their Supersport-class ZX-6R.

The team will return to the TT this year with Pete Extance still at the helm. With Hillier, whose five Supersport podiums have all come with Kawasaki, surely the top three positions are the target.

James Hillier said: “I’m excited to be back with Pete and the team at Bournemouth Kawasaki once again for the Supersport races. We collectively have a lot of knowledge and data after many years racing together and at the TT that’s a crucial element to being competitive.”

Pete Extance, Bournemouth Kawasaki Team Owner, said: “We are really looking forward to our return to the Isle of Man TT as Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing, which we are proud to say is an in-house dealer effort. The TT is, without doubt, the best road race in the world, and we are over the moon to be back involved in 2024. It’s a great honour to be running James again, and even more so with the 40th Anniversary liveried Ninja machine. Big thanks to Kawasaki UK for the support.”

Previously, Hillier had been announced with the WTF Honda team, which is a part of the OMG Yamaha setup in BSB. The new team will run a Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP for Hillier,.

The WTF - “We’re the Future” - team is set up by Alan Gardner, who represents the ‘G’ in OMG Racing. Hillier has raced for OMG in the past few years, but a change of branding was required for 2024, as OMG’s new status as the official Yamaha UK British Superbike team combined with Yamaha’s lack of interest in an official presence at the TT meant that alternative solutions were required to get Hillier back on the starting line for the 1,000cc 2024 road races. The carbon (for now, at least) Honda Fireblade you see in the images is that solution, and Hillier will race it at the North West 200, as well as the TT.

Considering the origins of the team, it is perhaps surprising that WTF is expected to have available to it the 2023 data of Honda Racing, whose effort was limited to John McGuinness last year after Nathan Harrison’s North West 200 crash. It should nonetheless be of assistance to Hillier and the WTF team as they adjust to their new motorcycle, which will seemingly be running in Superstock spec for all races, including the Superbike-class outings.

James Hillier said: “Riding the Hondas will be a new challenge for me after two years on the Yamaha but given the performance we’ve seen of late from the Fireblade, whether in Superbike or Superstock trim, it’s one I’m really looking forward to.

“The Honda is proven to be quick straight out [of] the box, which shows how good the base setting is, and it’s a good all-round package. You only have to look at the entry to see how many Hondas there are and that speaks volumes.

“One area I struggled a bit with last year was top speed and the Hondas had the edge over me, so it’ll be good not to have that issue this year! We probably won’t run a full Superbike but will instead run a Superstock-spec bike in all races, albeit with a higher tune of engine for the Superbike and Senior Races.

“Keeping it safe and simple like that works better for me as it’s not easy swapping bikes all the time and this way will reduce the workload for all concerned. I’ve got the same team and crew with me as I’ve had for the last two years – only the team’s name is different – and I’m confident of finding more speed and making another step forward from the results and lap speeds I achieved in 2023.”

There is also an environmental aspect to the team, although they’re not going to be swapping petrol for hydrogen, or the Fireblade’s 999cc inline-four for a battery and an electric motor. There are areas away from the track that are reportedly targeted in this respect, primarily, it seems, through carbon offsetting.

Alan Gardner, WTF Racing Team Owner, said: “When it comes to racing, especially a high level, saving the planet seems to be low on the priorities list. WTF has committed to racing responsibly from the outset and has already made considerable inroads to ensuring that the second our trucks leave for the North West 200 and then onto the Isle of Man TT, we will have already offset our carbon footprint.”

“Our name says ‘We’re The Future’ but foremost, we’re a race team, and our focus will always be to win but that also means winning in the race to save the planet.”

Hillier has not yet announced his Supersport plans for 2024, but an announcement is reportedly not far away.

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