Linfoot, Coghlan and
Clifford united in 250cc
Well and truly flying the flag for British talent in 250cc, Winona WCM have put together an exciting line-up for the 2007 season.
The London based team continue with 2006 wildcard rider Dan Linfoot in his first full season
in the World Championship, with the added coup of giving an eagerly awaited debut to Scottish talent Kev Coghlan, who placed fourth in last season's CEV Buckler.
As the team prepare for their first test with the new partnership, running with two bikes for the first time, we caught up with Andy Hyde, mastermind of the Winona Racing project.
Winona Racing is the most British team on the grid. Was it a conscious policy to give the two rides to Brits?
Andy Hyde: "The whole basis of the team in the beginning was my view that the key to British riders succeeding in MotoGP was having established privateer British GP teams to provide opportunities and in the 250 class as an immediate priority because of its key role in developing riders. Not to mention being the second most important World Championship in motorcycle racing!"
Kev Coghlan is certainly an exciting talent to have in the team. How did you approach him about a move to the World Championship?
AH: "Kev was actually one of the riders we wanted to recruit for the 2006 season, so we have been talking about working together for quite some time. Scotland has a history of producing talented sportsmen and women and motorcycle racing is no exception. They all seem to share a determined attitude with a strong work ethic, so we are all really excited about Kev joining the team."
Dan Linfoot has his first full season coming up. How do you expect him to continue with his development?
AH: "Dan is a talented rider and always gives 100%. Out-qualifying the experienced Chaz Davies, also on a private Honda, at Donington showed his speed. Unfortunately we never quite got the race results he deserved especially at the end of the season when we hit some technical problems. 2007 should be a big year for Dan."
Can you explain a bit more about the history of Winona Racing?
AH: "My background is actually in advertising and marketing. I used to race at weekends as a hobby. I was lucky enough to win the New Era SuperClub championship in 2005 and at the end of that season I met with Oscar Gallardo from Dorna to start talking about creating Winona Racing as a GP team."
Peter Clifford has been working with the team in an advisory role.
Will he continue with Winona in 2007, and what kind of help does he give the team?
AH: "Peter and I met at Mugello and it was immediately clear to me that he was someone to listen to and learn from. He has been helping Dan with advice and feedback from trackside, but fundamentally we were spending time through the 2006 season developing our plans for the future. Peter has now taken technical control of the racing team which is a big step forward for us. This enables me to more clearly focus resource on the commercial side of our business which was difficult to do, to say the least, this year once the racing started. We all need to market the sport more proactively because we are not only competing with other sports for sponsors budgets, but a plethora of media and marketing opportunities."
What are you expecting from 2007?
AH: "Most of the ingredients are in place, but there are still some hurdles for us to jump. All being well we look forward to laying solid foundations for the team and our other Winona WCM projects in 2007. There is no shortage of British rider talent in my view but there are arguably more opportunities for these guys in production racing. Teams like Winona WCM need to succeed and create opportunities for these riders to show their skills in GP."
DORNA / CAPSIS International