AS usual the TT organisers have been busy recruiting new star riders to take part at the famous event, and with top BSB rider Josh Brooks already signed up, the latest name to be added to the list is top South African rider AJ Venter.
The exciting youngster will race for Mick Charnock's TC Racing Honda/DP Cold planing outfit. The team has secured high-spec 1,000cc Hondas for their Mountain course campaign and will contest the Superbike, Superstock and Senior races. Venter (24) has been racing in the British Championship since 2007 when he joined Glen Richards in the MAP Embassy Superstock team, eventually finishing in 18th place overall with seven impressive points-scoring rides. A year later, he switched to the inaugural Superstock 600cc Championship, claiming a win at Oulton Park and three more podiums on his way to an excellent fourth place overall. However, it's the Super sport class where he's achieved his greatest success. Riding Triumph machinery, Venter, who bases himself in Newcastleupon-Tyne during the racing season, finished in 13th overall in 2009 with six top-10 finishes, including a career best of fourth, before improving further in the following two seasons. The years 2010 and 2011 saw him finish in 11th place overall in the fiercely competitive 600cc class, with a combined total of 14 top-10 finishes, defeating the likes of Sam Lowes, Dan Linfoot, Lee Johnston, Gary Johnson, Dan Cooper and Jimmy Hill during the course of the year. A lack of finance forced him to miss the 2012 British Championship season, but he returned to his homeland where he competed with more success. TC Racing Honda/DP Coldplaning team boss Mick Charnock has a strong pedigree of competing at the TT and Manx Grand Prix, firstly as a rider and latterly running his own team, backing Cameron Donald, David Johnson and Jimmy Storrar, all as newcomers, in 2005, 2010 and 2012 respectively. Venter is clearly looking forward to making his TT debut and commented: 'Lots of people are aware of the TT back home in South Africa and it's been on my radar for a while. 'I first came out to the Isle of Man in 2007 and met Milky Quayle and Johnny Barton, which gave me an idea of what I'd be taking on. I'm under no illusions about the task, but I can't wait to make my Mountain Course debut.' It also looks as if Josh Brooks could make his Irish National Road Race debut at the Cookstown 100 at the end of April, which would be a great coup for the event. Brooks was an interested spectator last year, and like the TT where he has been coming for a number of years, he is not a rider who comes to make up the numbers, and will be definitely out to prove a point.