Isle of Man-based Team IMR on Saturday announced that they will mount their first campaign in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship in 2018 with the ambitious outfit having signed Chrissy Rouse and Jordan Gilbert.
The team have secured a title sponsor with Northern Ireland-based www.quinnstheprinters.com, part of the Bradley Group, backing the squad and the duo will ride identically-prepared BMW S1000RR’s. The former Mission Racing team-mates made their debut with the team at Jurby Airfield earlier today.
Team IMR made their first foray into the championship towards the end of 2017 and more than proved their credentials with Joe Collier contesting the final rounds at Oulton Park and Brands Hatch. The Leicestershire rider, who was having his first ride on a 1000cc machine, took a brace of 13ths at Oulton Park before improving to ninth at Brands Hatch where he qualified in an excellent fifth place.
Owned and managed by Manxman Ian Moffitt, the team have signalled their ambitions for 2018 by securing the services of Rouse, the Newcastle youngster having finished in an excellent fourth overall this year.
The 22-year old was a constant front runner and regularly challenged for the race wins, unluckily missing out on the victory at Silverstone in September when he crashed whilst leading on the final lap. But with six podiums during the course of the season, and 15 top six finishes in total, he’ll head into 2018 as one of the title favourites.
Gilbert, meanwhile, excelled in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship where, like Rouse, he ran at the head of the field all season on his R6 Yamaha. Three victories at Knockhill, Thruxton and Silverstone and five additional top six finishes enabled the New Denham rider to finish in an excellent second overall. 2018 will be the 21-year old’s debut in the 1000cc class.
Philip McLaughlin, previously with TAS Racing, will be the team’s crew chief whilst former National Superstock Champion, Steve Brogan will continue as mentor to both Rouse and Gilbert, having carried out a similar role during 2017.
Chrissy Rouse: “I’m really excited to have signed for Team IMR and to have everything in place for 2018 so early is terrific. I learnt a lot in 2017 and was close to the lap record at each circuit but I know there’s plenty more to come from me so I want to be challenging for the title in 2018. In the second half of this season I was expecting to run at the front but I know I can still make improvements, both on and off the track, and with such a strong package in place at Team IMR, I’m confident we’ve got the tools to do the job. Keeping Steve is a massive boost as he’s a tremendous help to me so with an ambitious team whose goals match my own, I’m confident we’re going to have a great season together.”
Jordan Gilbert: “I’m delighted to be joining Team IMR and, having enjoyed a strong year in 2017 in the Superstock 600cc class, it’s a tremendous opportunity for me. This year went above and beyond my expectations and we enjoyed a lot of success so to continue alongside Chrissy and Steve in my first year in the 1000cc class will make for a smooth transition. It’s a new class and a new bike for me but I’ll be able to tap into their knowledge and the continuity will mean I can concentrate on my riding. Ian’s put together a great team and it’s nice to have everything sorted so soon so I’m really excited about 2018 and I can’t wait to get going.”
Ian Moffitt, Team Owner: “We’re delighted to have signed Jordan and Chrissy for Team IMR and both lads are talented young riders with huge potential for success. Chrissy will be a title challenger from the start and Jordan has the ability to develop into a title contender with time and the right working environment around him. It’s great to have our plans in place so early and we’re looking forward to a good winter testing schedule that allows both riders plenty of time on the bikes so we turn up at the first round on the pace. I’d like to thank Keith Gilbert, Martin Rouse and Steve Brogan for all their help in getting the deal sorted with the riders along with Evolution Camping, HEL Performance, RST Moto Direct & Rage Designs.”
Pictures by Dave Kneen