Milwaukee Power Tools have withdrawn their support for Shaun Muir’s SMR Yamaha team for the 2014 Isle of Man TT.
The announcement comes after new Superbike technical regulations for the 2014 TT made it impossible for the Yamaha superbike to be competitive and the ‘inflexibility’ of the organisers.
“The decision to withdraw our support from the 2014 Isle of Man TT Races with SMR is two-fold. Firstly we believe the rule changes, apparently initiated as a cost saving exercise, would actually have had an adverse effect on SMR Racing – costing Shaun Muir and his team in excess of £30,000 to convert machinery that is currently ready to race,” said Milwaukee’s UK Commercial Director Dale McElveen.
This leaves SMR riders Josh Brookes and newly returning Ian Hutchinson without a TT ride for 2014 and potentially robs Hutchinson of a dream comeback on the back of his 2013 Macau victory. The team will still run under Milwaukee sponsorship for the North West 200, Macau GP, Ulster GP and MCE British Superbike Championship.
Mr McElveen went into more detail about the decision, saying;
“The forced ECU changes, suggested at the outset by Honda, would have made all SMR road racing machinery less competitive than its rivals, and the control ECU that SMR would have been forced to fit [Motec] – gives less control than that of their main competitors’ Kit systems.
“The irony is the rule change will solely affect Yamaha as the other leading manufacturers have modern manufacturer produced ‘Kit’ versions readily available, which will allow them to compete with no disadvantage.
“If we add to that the increased budget involved to compete [in a less competitive state] with the other main manufacturers [should SMR have used Motec] – who ironically, can roll out last year’s machinery at no extra cost – then we had no option but to make this tough decision and withdraw our support for SMR at the 2014 TT Races.
“We would like to stress that every effort was made with the Isle of Man TT organisers in somewhat protracted discussions, to find a solution, that would effectively have allowed SMR to bring high-profile riders Ian Hutchinson – the event’s only five time clean sweep winner in a week – and Josh Brookes to TT2014.
“Milwaukee Yamaha was also in the process of pledging support to a third rider for next year’s event and we feel, the tangible inflexibility, has robbed TT fans of seeing three riders with 15 TT victories between them, numerous lap records; not to mention an embargo on the return of the Fastest Newcomer in Australian superstar Josh Brookes.”