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Halsall confirms Costello and youngest ever BSB rider Hartley

Monday, February 17 2014

The Halsall Racing Kawasaki team have revealed their two rider line-up for the 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship season as the Bolton-based team prepare to build on their remarkable debut season in the premier class with Lee Costello and the youngest ever contender Harry Hartley.

Costello ended his Superbike transitional year on a high with a second place at the Brands Hatch season finale. The team came tantalisingly close to scoring a momentous victory at the Kent circuit, but it was snatched away on the run to the line by just 0.196 seconds. The team also celebrated a further two podium finishes with Tommy Bridewell at Cadwell Park and Donington Park, immediately elevating the team under the direction of Lancashire entrepreneur Martin Halsall to prominence.

Costello remains with the team for a second consecutive season and he is joined by talented youngster Harry Hartley. Hartley has previously been a podium contender in the British 125GP class before making his debut in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship last season, building on his experiences to score a second place at the final round of the season at Brands Hatch. Hartley's progress has caught the eye of many and he is highly regarded for his ability to adapt to new machines and capacities. By the time pit lane opens at Brands Hatch on Easter Friday, Hartley at 17 years old will be the youngest ever rider to compete in the MCE BSB Championship.

Costello said: "As we now have a season in the Championship under our belts I would like to think this year we can aim for more as we have some experience in Superbike we can build on. I would like to pick up where we left off last year and for me, to continue developing as a Superbike rider as I feel that I learnt a lot in my first season. It is an ambition of mine to be able to try and fight for a position in the top six for the Showdown and that is what I am aiming to push for this year."

Hartley said: "This is a really big opportunity for me and I need to thank Halsall Racing for making this ambition become a reality. I am going to take this year as it comes because I don't want to overwhelm myself at the first round; I used to watch Hopper (Hopkins) for example race in MotoGP so to be on the same grid as some of the other Superbike riders is exciting, but I know I have a lot to learn at the same time. It is fantastic to be joining such a professional team in the Championship and after the results they achieved last year I really hope that I can learn a lot from them and develop as a rider."

Team owner Martin Halsall concluded: "I am very excited about the season ahead. As a team we have remained committed to Lee and after a steep learning curve last year he now has the experience to build on - hopefully we can see a few more performances like that final round at Brands Hatch!

"As a team we are also focused on bringing young contenders to the championship and developing them to become Superbike riders of the future and at 17 when the season starts, Harry will be the youngest ever rider to feature on the MCE BSB grid. If you look at someone like Marc Marquez he is a world champion at the age of just 20 and that is because of the route and opportunities that he has been given and Halsall Racing want to be part of helping our young riders rise through the ranks here in the UK.

"We know that our bikes are capable of getting results; we saw that with Lee, Tommy (Bridewell) and also Josh (Waters) last season, so I hope that our dedication, hard work and belief in both Lee and Harry will put us in a position to aim even higher in our second MCE BSB season."

The 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship visits Brands Hatch Indy on 18-21 April, Oulton Park on 3-5 May, Snetterton on 13-15 June, Brands Hatch GP on 18-20 July, Oulton Park on 8-10 August, Cadwell Park on 23-25 August and Brands Hatch GP on 17-19 October for the Showdown finale. Tickets are now on sale from £26 and you can find out more and order them by clicking the links for each circuit. Money-saving season passes are also available. Click here for more details.