Those were the words of an excited Josh Hayes from England yesterday as he headed home after making a deal with the Parkalgar Honda team to race in the World Supersport Series for the remaining three rounds of the series.
Hayes will race the Honda CBR600RR formerly ridden by Craig Jones, the British rider who died on August 4 from injuries suffered in a racing accident the day before at Brands Hatch.
Hayes’ World Supersport debut will take place at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy on September 21. From there he will travel to Magny-Cours, France for the 13th round of the series and he will complete his three-race stint with the Parkalgar team at its home track of Portimao in Portugal – a track that’s new to the series and thus will put Hayes on a level playing field with the rest of the class.
The Simon Buckmaster-managed team also features Portuguese racer Miguel Praia, the 34 year old who currently sits in 26th in the World Championship.
“I really want to thank Kevin [Erion] for allowing me to do it,” said Hayes, who did the deal while a spectator at the recent Donington Park round of the series. “I also need to thank Dunlop. I called Jim Allen right away and he was very gracious in letting me do it. And Murph at Hard Card helped me a lot with this deal.”
The World Supersport Championship, like its sibling World Superbike Series, uses Pirelli as its spec tire.
Hayes currently sits in third place in the AMA Supersport Series and second in the AMA Formula Xtreme Series with one round remaining at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 28.
The following is the team press release:
Josh Hayes joins Parkalgar Honda
AMERICAN double AMA Formula Extreme Champion Josh Hayes will join the Parkalgar Honda World Supersport team for the last three rounds of the 2008 season.
Hayes, 33, from Gulfport, Mississippi, is a regular front runner in the US AMA Supersport 600 and Formula Extreme Championships, having won five out of the last six races he has entered. That experience on a Honda CBR600 will stand by him as he makes his World Supersport debut for Parkalgar Honda.
“I am looking to show the world what I can achieve,” said Hayes. “My plan was always to graduate to World level but once I got a reputation for being good on a 600 in the US, it made sense to keep me there. Now I have a chance and I’m going to take it.
“Everything about the Parkalgar Honda team is top notch. It runs similar Motec electronics, Ohlins suspension and engine specification as my Formula Extreme bike so I aim to adapt quickly. I don’t know any of the circuits that we are visiting but I learn quickly and will be giving it my all.
“Thanks to Kevin Erion and Dunlop for being so understanding with my ambition to run in the World Championship, without their support this move would not be possible. Thanks also to Parkalgar Honda for this opportunity, I will be doing my best to get good results and I am looking forward to competing in Europe.”
Hayes started racing in the US AMA series in 1999 and won the Daytona 750 Superstock race that year. In 2003 he was the 750 Superstock Champion and in 2006 and 2007 the Formula Extreme Champion.
Simon Buckmaster, Parkalgar Honda Team Manager, said: “We are delighted to have Josh on board for the final three rounds of the World Championship. He is a rider with big ambitions and a racing pedigree – the step up to World level will give him the chance to test himself against the best riders in the world.”
Josh will join regular Parkalgar Honda Portuguese racer Miguel Praia for his first outing at the 11th round of the World Supersport Championship at Vallelunga in Italy on 21st September. The team is planning a UK based test for the racer before the race so he can be fitted to his CBR600RR race bike.