CHRIS Burns is set to make his competitive return next season as he joins Wilson Craig Racing for a roads assault.
The former MotoGP rider, who has spent much of the last decade out of action, will make his debut at the Isle of Man TT and North West 200 in 2021.
Newcastle-based Burns last raced in 2012 as part of the ONK Dutch Superbike championship, where he racked up a number of wins en route to third in the series.
But the Geordie ace’s career highlight was running two years with Harris WCM in the MotoGP World Championship, where he spent the 2003-2004 seasons.
What followed were stints in the British Superbike Championship, British Supersport, National Superstock, European Superstock and even a spell in the IDM German Superbike ranks as a team-mate to Formula One legend Michael Schumacher in the Holzhauer Honda squad.
Now, however, Burns is ready to get back in the saddle as he switches focus away from short circuits and heads for the roads with one of the most seasoned teams in the paddock.
“I’ve been interested in the roads since I raced at Oss and Hengelo in 2011 when I was in the Dutch Superbike series – I loved them,” he admitted.
“After so many years racing on the big International tracks, I really took to these roads circuits and I knew then I wanted to tackle the Isle of Man TT.
“I had to take a step back from racing in 2012 for various reasons but coming back to try my hand on the roads has always been my plan. To be given the opportunity to join a team as successful and well respected as Wilson Craig is genuinely a dream come true for me.
“I am really excited about 2021. Darren and the team have been fantastic and we are all chasing the same goals. I’m looking forward to experiencing the North West 200 for the first time and in doing as much homework as I can at the moment learning the TT course.
“I am physically fitter than I’ve ever been so I just can’t wait to get back out there and see what we can achieve.”
Wilson Craig Racing’s Team Principal Darren Gilpin also revealed his excitement at working with Burns, who he knows can bring his experience to the squad.
“We are really looking forward to working with Chris,” Gilpin said. “He has extensive experience on all levels of racing including Moto GP, British Superbike, German & Dutch Superbike Championships.
“For 2021 we aim to compete with him at the International Road Races plus a selected few rounds on the Irish National circuits and Roads. Obviously Covid 19 may still yet alter our plans for the season ahead, that being the case we are hopeful we can put extra budget in place to compete at selected British Supersport rounds.
“Pure road racing is something that Chris has wanted to do for some time, and we will build him a Honda CBR600RR for the task in hand. It is also very exciting to bring a World Championship level rider to the Irish race scene, although a different discipline to Moto GP Chris will be able to adapt quickly given his experience.”