RC Express Racing have today (Sunday) announced that double Isle of Man TT winner Ivan Lintin will again spearhead their assault on the International road races in 2017 where he’ll be joined by new team-mate Steve Mercer. The team, owned by Ben and Roy Constable, will again campaign Kawasaki machinery in all classes.
Having won the Lightweight TT race for the past two seasons, Lincolnshire’s Lintin will attempt to take an unprecedented treble of victories in the class around the Mountain Course whilst again attempting a clean sweep of Supertwin victories across the three main international road races – the TT, North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix. This will be the Bardney-based riders’ third year with the team as the talented thirty-two year old seeks to build upon his previous, and considerable, success.
With a successful 2016 TT campaign under his belt, Lintin not only successfully defended his crown in the Lightweight category, he also secured an excellent tenth place finish in the blue ribbon Senior Superbike race, with a new personal best lap of 127.948mph. His dominance in the Lightweight class throughout the season however, was exemplary, with double wins at both the North West 200 and Southern 100 road races. The hat-trick was only prevented due to an operation on an injured finger that saw him side lined at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Kent’s Mercer, meanwhile, joins the Bristol-based team having deputised for the injured Lintin at the 2016 Ulster Grand Prix as he recovered from injuries sustained in an incident at Oliver’s Mount. The Kent based racer immediately demonstrated his adaptability on Kawasaki machinery securing eighth and ninth in the two Superbike races as well as setting his best ever lap around the high speed 7.4 mile Dundrod Circuit at a superb 131.423mph. Inclement weather conditions at the event resulted in very limited bike time, which made Mercer’s RC Express Racing debut even more impressive.
Following a hugely successful 2016 Isle of Man TT with the Jackson Racing Honda team, Mercer displayed great consistency and significantly improved form across the classes with eighth and 11th place finishes in the two Supersport races, where he produced a new personal best lap in the class at 124.392mph. He opened his account for the week with a solid twelfth place finish in the Superbike race, where the 34-year old recorded his best ever lap of the 37.73-mile course at 129.323mph, whilst he took a fine tenth place in the Superstock race with a best lap of 127.590mph.
Ivan Lintin: “The confidence that I have in the RC Express Supertwin and the overall performance of the bike and team, has shown with our dominance this season. Defending the title at the TT this year did carry some pressure, but having achieved that win which was so important for everyone, I feel confident that next season will actually be somewhat easier. I am continually improving with the bike, strengthening my performance as a rider and I can only see us building upon our success in 2017 and more specifically dominating on the Supertwin.”
“It was disappointing that I couldn’t go for the treble at the Ulster Grand Prix but unfortunately the recovery to my injured finger was just not complete. We’ll certainly be aiming to put that one right next year. I’m continuing to improve on the Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike and with a new personal best lap around the Mountain Course in 2016, I feel even more confident of moving towards a 130mph lap and becoming a regular top ten finisher in races like the Senior. This will be my third year with the team and that consistency will be a major benefit. We’re certainly growing as a collective unit and there are some significant plans for the future so it’s certainly a great time to be part of RC Express Racing.”
Steve Mercer: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the RC Express Racing team for 2017. Having stood in at the last minute for Ivan at this year’s Ulster Grand Prix, it was great working with Ben and Roy and, more significantly, having someone with the experience of Danny (Horne) alongside me during the event. There was an immediate connection with the entire team and with so much energy surrounding the operation, it made me feel very relaxed riding the bike, which showed with my results and lap times, including a personal best lap around Dundrod.”
“We struck up a conversation at the recent Macau Grand Prix and soon agreed a deal and it’s a great opportunity for 2017 to build myself as a rider with an aspirational, successful and growing team. Ben and Roy have some big plans for the future and now have a new Sporting Director, Ian Ayre, involved with the team, which is exciting. I was fortunate enough to meet Ian and spend some time with him at the Ulster GP and if I can be part of this future growth and some of the plans that have been proposed, it makes this one of the most appealing periods of my racing career.”
Ben Constable, Team Co-owner: “Ivan has been instrumental for the team and established himself as the leading Supertwin rider. We have set some ambitious targets for the new season and I believe that Ivan will continue to dominate his position in the class as well as build more competitively on the larger capacity machines. It will be our third year together and I firmly believe it will be our strongest yet. Our key target will be a triple of wins across the three main International races. RC Express and Ivan have grown together and I’m sure that 2017 will be another successful chapter for both rider and team.”
“Steve was an 11th hour announcement at the 2016 Ulster Grand Prix and there was an immediate connection between him and the entire team. He was outstanding at the event considering the very limited time that he had on the bike prior to the race setting a personal best at Dundrod on the Superbike. We immediately felt that he could be part of our future plans and engaged discussions with him at the recent Macau Grand Prix. Steve had an outstanding 2016 Isle of Man TT and I feel that with the support RC Express Racing can offer, he will build and develop further as a rider. We would expect Steve to increase his lap times at events like the TT and break into the 130mph club. With our infrastructure, professionalism and support, I see no reason why Steve cannot secure some podiums along the way.”
RC Express will commence their pre-season preparations with Spanish testing at the start of 2017. With a continued relationship on Kawasaki machinery for 2017, the team will open their campaign at Oliver’s Mount for the Spring Cup in April. This will then be followed by the North West 200 International race in May and the Isle of Man TT in June. For the complete 2017 race schedule please visit www.rcexpressracing.co.uk