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Eazi Grip

James Hillier on a Honda Fireblade for the IOM TT and NW 200 with WTF Racing

James Hillier has revealed he will switch to Honda machinery for the 2024 Isle of Man TT and North West 200 road races as part of the new WTF Racing team that has been created around him.

In addition to his commitments on the roads, the 14-time TT podium winner also says he is targeting a return to the Dakar Rally for 2025, two years on from having made his debut in the gruelling Saudi Arabian endurance event.

Regarded as one of road racing’s elite racers, Hillier – a TT race winner in the Lightweight class – will compete under a different banner in 2024, WTF Racing remains associated with the OMG Racing team, he’s represented via owner Alan Gardner.

However, by setting WTF Racing apart from Yamaha UK supported OMG Racing, Hillier has taken the opportunity to swap out the Yamaha R1 for a Honda CBR1000RR-R, which he will campaign in the Superbike and Superstock classes at both the TT and NW200.

Beyond the roads, Hillier will also spend 2024 preparing himself for a return to the Dakar Rally. The Bournemouth rider made his debut in the iconic rally-raid event in 2023. Hillier completed the 8,500km distance over two weeks to reach the finish line, despite suffering a separated shoulder in the early stages.

“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.” Hillier said.

The Honda is proven to be quick straight out 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.”

Alongside his efforts on tarmac, Hillier will also return to the Dakar Rally in 2025 with the team having previously worked together at the 2023 event.

“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,” Hillier continued. “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.”

In addition to stepping up his commitment towards Hillier’s on and off road racing programme, Gardner says WTF Racing also reflects his ambition towards environmental objectives, such as carbon footprint offsetting.

“When it comes to racing, especially a high level, saving the planet seems to be low on the priorities list.

WTF have committed to racing responsibly from the outset and have already make considerable inroads to ensuring that the second our trucks leave for the NW200, 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.”

Posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2024 in News

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