Hillier aims for Hickman-style road racing team building

Lewis Duncan
Hillier aims for Hickman-style team building
Hillier aims for Hickman-style team building

Isle of Man TT winner James Hillier wants to build the OMG Racing team around him in the same way road racing dominators Peter Hickman and Smiths Racing have.

Hillier, a North West 200 race winner and 14-time TT podium finisher - a tally which includes a victory in the 2013 Lightweight TT - will join British Superbike frontrunners OMG Racing as it mounts its first international road racing assault this year.

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After spending over 10 years with Bournemouth Kawasaki before 2020, Hillier says OMG has given him a "blank canvas" to build the team around what he wants.

Speaking to Autosport, he noted that the "more corporate teams" are not finding the same sort of success at the TT they once enjoyed, and believes the way Hickman and Silicone Engineering's Dean Harrison have built their teams around them is "the new way" to achieve success on the roads.

"You see with the likes of [Dean] Harrison and Hickman, the teams and success they have, the team has grown around the rider and developed in that way," Hillier said.

"I think that's kind of the new way; the team and rider relationship is key in getting everyone to gel in that right way.

Hillier aims for Hickman-style team building
Hillier aims for Hickman-style team building

"Often the more corporate kind of teams, they're not getting the kind of success they are used to at the TT.

"So they [OMG] have given me sort of a blank canvas to build the team around what I feel I need and who I want.

"It's kind of the perfect opportunity for me to make a change and go in with a team that can grow with me and learn with me with this new bike."

Over the past two years, Hickman and Harrison have emerged as the reference riders at the TT, with the pair tallying up seven wins between them in that time on top of numerous victories elsewhere on the roads.

Hillier will ride BMW S1000RRs in the Superbike and Superstock classes, and the Yamaha R6 in the Supersport category at the North West 200 and TT this year.

The makeup of his crew is yet to be finalised, but Hillier has insisted he has a team around him with TT experience.

"The key thing for me is to have a team around me with TT experience," he added.

"That was one thing I stipulated was to not be going there with a load of TT virgins because that's not good.

"We need a team of experience and quality. So that's what we're working on."

Hillier will be joined by ex-Honda rider David Johnson this year, and Autosport understands OMG is seriously evaluating adding a third rider to its line-up.

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