Steve Mercer and Jamie Coward have been called into the Devitt RC Express Racing team to replace the injured Ivan Lintin and Alan Bonner at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.
Lightweight TT winner Lintin was injured following a crash at Scarborough and has since had part of a finger removed, while Co Meath rider Bonner came off at the Southern 100 and is recovering from his injuries.
Kent racer Mercer was left without a ride after the Jackson Racing team withdrew from the event, but is relieved to have been thrown a lifeline on the RC Express Kawasaki machines.
“The Ulster is certainly one circuit that I enjoy and it’s great that I will be able to make the event now thanks to RC Express,” said the 33-year-old, who has lapped Dundrod in excess of 129mph.
“Alan (Jackson) and the team have been supportive towards the decision for me to ride for RC Express. I’m a racer at the end of the day and this was also an opportunity to continue the form shown at this year’s TT, as well as gain some valuable time on the bike ahead of the next endurance round with Jackson Racing.
“RC Express certainly produce a winning package and Ivan has shown what can be achieved, so I am hoping I can do him and the team justice on his bike. I’d certainly like to thank Ben (Constable) for the opportunity and also the understanding that has been shown from my team in allowing me to race.”
Team principal Ben Constable said: “It’s been a tough few weeks for the team. We have our two main riders injured, bikes in a sorry state of repair and the disappointment of not being able to run as fully as we had planned for the Ulster, which is an event we enjoy and take very seriously.
“We knew that Alan’s recovery time would be much slower, but there was always a slim chance that Ivan could be fit enough to compete at Ulster.
“Once we knew that Steve and the Jackson Racing team were not heading to the event, it did present an opportunity to have a rider of his talent and speed on Ivan’s bike,” he added.
“Steve was keen to secure some more bike time and knew that RC Express could provide a strong package for the event. We are really pleased and it’s mutually beneficial for both parties at an important international road race.”
Coward rode the RC Express Kawasaki at the Barry Sheene Festival at Scarborough and impressed with a fifth place and a podium result.
Constable said: “Jamie certainly showed the calibre and potential that we have come to expect in recent years. It was an easy decision to run with him at Scarborough and his performance certainly justified offering him a further ride at Ulster as a stand-in replacement for Alan.”