HARRY Payne and Mark Wilkes are gearing up to take on the best of the best as they make the switch to the FIM Sidecar World Championship in 2022.
And as series race winners, the two look set to be mixing it up for podium honours.
While Wilkes returns to the championship after winning the FIM title with Tim Reeves in 2019, UK Clubsport columnist Payne makes the step up full-time after a number of wildcards this year in just his second season as a driver.
Payne and Wilkes picked up the FSRA British F2 Cup crown earlier this year and just last month took victory at the World Championship finale in Portugal.
Now, just 12 months on from teaming up together for the first time, the two are looking to carry their momentum as their Isle of Man-based crew leap-frogs the traditional next step of the Molson Group British F1 series and heads for the big time.
“The decision was pretty simple,” Payne said. “In the World Championship you have the best teams, you race on the best tracks, you get twice the track time over the weekend and it is clearly the pinnacle of circuit racing for any three wheeled competitor – that’s why we have to be there.
“We are hoping to be at the TT next year and we are in talks to make it all happen. It will be a great addition to our season and I’m really hoping everything comes together for it.
“I’m at a big advantage straight away as I have the best passenger in the world sat beside me and I know I’ll be better placed than any newcomer driver has been because of that.”
Wilkes added: “It’s an obvious choice for us because the World Championship is the place to be. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best and the best are in the World Championship.
“Harry and I have had a good 2021, we’ve gone from strength to strength and we both want the same thing. We both want to be fighting up and the front and I’ve every confidence that we can be up there.”