When Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton amicably split with Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki team at the end of last season, rumours were rife as to where he would be in 2014.
Well, Jamie ended months of speculation about his future when he announced last weekend that he would be on a special Stewart Smith 650 supertwin Kawasaki and a very competitive John Dugan 600 Kawasaki supersport machine for the forthcoming season.
Hamilton, who could employ a full-time caretaker to look after the amount of trophies he accumulated over the 2013 season, sat down with the Times to explain the changes and look ahead to the forthcoming racing season.
“Yes I have moved from Ryan but I wouldn’t just say that I am doing things that much different from last year. Even when I was racing for Ryan I did all my own maintenance work throughout the season and I have got all my own guys, friends and mechanics and a couple of boys from England who come and help me at the races.
“All them guys are still on board to help me with the John Dugan ZXR600 Kawasaki and I’ve got an ER6 Kawasaki 650 from Stewart Smith for all the internationals, which is a big bonus as it will be a really competitive bike.
“That was one of the things that worried me when leaving Ryan, that I was leaving competitive bikes behind. As it turns out, that is not the case. Hopefully I can get a good deal with the big bike as well. I don’t know what that will be at the minute but I hope to get that sorted soon and possibly get another 650 to ride in the nationals at home.
“So, things really in are camp are not going to be a big pile different. The only differences will be the colours of the bikes and where we work at them. As for the guys around me, the only difference is that Ryan won’t be there.”
Looking back at 2013, Hamilton picked out a few memorable races which stood out in his mind.
“Beating Jeremy McWilliams at Armoy was one, and I enjoyed being on the podium at the NW200 and Ulster GP. Also, winning at the Southern 100 and beating Dean Harrison into the bargain was special.
“I had a really good TT. Considering I hadn’t the most competitive bike there, scoring two 12th places in the 600 races was very satisfying and hopefully this year I can improve on that.”
By the end of the season Hamilton had racked up two double championships and was awarded the trophy for the Most Improved Road Racer in 2013 at the recent MCUI awards. He must have been pleased with his season.
“Yeah, we won two Ulster and Irish championships in the 650 and supersport 600 classes. In the superbike championships I was third, which also was good. My superbike came good towards the end of the season and the way I was riding it had came on a lot. I would like to be on really competitive big bikes for this year and go to the internationals and push at the front on that and the 650. With a more competitive engine in the supersport 600, we should be there on it as well. Things are looking bright for 2014.”
Asked if he had just one ambition for the new season, he replied: “I never say I am going to this or that just incase I mess it up although I did say before the Ulster GP last year that I wanted to do a 130mph lap and I achieved that. It was a nice thing to do.
“I suppose I just want to run at the front in all my races in 2014. The 650 that I am riding was on the podium at last year’s TT so it would be mega if I could put it back there this year again. Maybe after finishing third at last year’s North West the top step would be pretty special, but we will have to wait and see,” concluded the 22-year-old East Antrim ace.