BTCC team principal to race in 2-stroke and 4-stroke categories
Swindon sportsman eyeing second Euro title 17 years after first
HMS Racing boss ‘craving’ exciting year of competitive action
Former Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship driver Simon Belcher, team principal of popular race-winning squad HMS Racing, has today, Friday, 2nd February, announced a return to the European Jet Sport Championship for its 2018 season – 17 years after he memorably won the coveted title.
Dovetailing his water-borne exploits with ongoing team management duties in the BTCC with HMS, the 44-year-old from Swindon is set for an extremely busy and action-packed year and is absolutely relishing a full return to competitive action, albeit on water rather than the race track.
Since stepping aside from driving duties in the BTCC at the end of 2015, when current HMS racer Rob Austin joined the team, Belcher has craved the adrenaline rush of actual competition and the heat of battle.
After making a one-off return to Jet Sport racing in 2016 for charity, where he raised over £5,000 for Cancer Research, Belcher was quickly – and unsurprisingly – bitten by the bug once again and so put together a part campaign in the British Jet Sport Championship with Dean’s Team Yamaha last year.
Now, Belcher will race a supercharged Dean’s Team Yamaha GP1800 in the 4-stroke class of the 2018 European Jet Sport Championship and will also pilot a Retrojet Seadoo XP machine in the all-action 2-stroke class.
“I’m very excited to be entering the European Jet Sport Championship this year”, said a buoyant Belcher, “Since stepping out of the driving seat in the BTCC and taking up the team manager role, I’ve been craving competitive racing and Jet Sport is a no-pressure environment for me which makes it incredible fun.
“My interest was rekindled when I made, what was supposed to be, a one-off return for charity at the end of 2016 when we raised over £5,000 for Cancer Research. I really enjoyed it and that led to a few outings last year in the British Championship and a one-off event in Belgium where I won my first race since returning to the sport.”
Since the outings last year, plentiful development work has been undertaken over the winter on the Dean’s Team Yamaha GP1800 with the clear aim of making the boat even more competitive and capable of regularly challenging for race wins.
“Having won the European title in 2001, it’ll be great to be back 17 years later to see how I get on”, added Belcher, “I’ll race in both the 2-stroke and 4-stroke classes initially before evaluating which of those to concentrate on – I may not be fit enough at my age to race in both! I hope my experience can take the fight to the younger front-runners and the aim is to have a lot of fun and some success.
“It would be great to pick up more wins, and maybe even another European title, but it’ll be extremely hard against the young talent that exists in Europe. Both classes are filled with National, European and World Champions so I need to up my game for sure. I also plan to race in the British and Belgian Championships when they don’t clash with my commitments in the BTCC.”
Supporting Belcher’s first full campaign in Jet Sport racing in 17 years will be key sponsors TH1RST Energy Water, Retrojet, Dean’s Team Yamaha, AVOS Watersports Den, VP Fuels, TH Whites Motor Group, ZX1, Alsa Automotive and Finch Signs.