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Monday, 27 January, 2003, 15:52 GMT
Archibald hoping for change of fortune
Ballymoney rider Adrian Archibald
Archibald will ride for TAS Suzuki this season
Northern Ireland road racer Adrian Archibald hopes to put a disappointing year behind him as he teams up with the highly successful TAS Suzuki team for the 2003 season.

The 33-year-old was hotly tipped to follow in the footsteps of fellow Ballymoney man, Isle of Man TT legend Joey Dunlop, when he secured a berth with the Honda UK team in 2001.

The 2002 season turned out to be a frustrating one however as mechanical failures denied the talented Ulsterman his chance to shine on the public roads.

"Last season was one to forget as I had so many problems with the bikes that I could never really get going.

"I was not happy with the support I was receiving from Honda and felt they were not doing enough to help me."

"I had ridden Hondas every year since 1995 but believed the time was right to break the link as the machinery was not competitive.

I knew I could still ride a motorbike but you start to feel very down

Adrian Archibald
"I rode a Suzuki for the Chris Dowd team at the UGP last August and it was very fast so that gave me a lift and a chance to see the potential of the machines.

"My confidence had been dented by the problems I had encountered so I welcomed the chance to ride a bike which was faster and more reliable.

"I knew I could still ride a motorbike but when things are going wrong week after week, you start to feel very down."

This year, Archibald will ride 1000cc, 600cc and Production Suzukis and they have a proven record on the very fast public road courses.

"I know the TAS team are very professional and they receive significant backing from Suzuki GB.

"Hopefully I can fulfil my ambition of winning some of the Superbike races at the major international meetings."

Priority

Last year, Iain Duffus was adjudged to have beaten Archibald to the line in the North West 200 Superbike race even though they were credited with the same times.

"While I will be competing at some other events, the North West, TT and Ulster Grand Prix are my priority.

"I raced at a lot of short circuits in Northern Ireland in recent years but I am happy to be doing just a few of those this year.

"It will be difficult as I will have to contend with some tough opposition, not least my teammate David Jefferies who has become the man to beat on the roads.

"He has plenty of experience of riding Suzukis and has enjoyed a treble at the last three Isle of Man TT meetings.

"With Michael Rutter and John McGuinness on Ducatis and Ian Lougher on the ex-Colin Edwards SP-2 Honda, I will have to be fast but I know I am capable of running at the front."

See also:

12 Aug 02 | N Ireland
16 Aug 02 | N Ireland
04 May 02 | N Ireland
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