Another Troy Bayliss comeback attempt has fallen through. The Effenbert Liberty Racing Team announced it was in discussions with Bayliss over entering a couple of World Superbike rounds this season as a wild card entry. Those discussions did not develop into a return for the three-time WSBK champion; instead the team will promote rider Brett McCormick to the now four-member Effenbert Liberty WSBK team.
Bayliss’ desire to return to racing has been reported several times by different sources since he retired after capturing the 2008 WSBK Championship. A comeback with Effenbert Liberty was in the works but team owner Mario Bertuccio says that opportunity has passed.“The Effenbert company believes in motorsport and its use as the most powerful promotional engine so much that it was in their contemplation to run a Liberty Racing bike with legendary Troy Bayliss on a couple of occasions this season. They had a strong desire to give him the opportunity to ride as a wild card in a few races,” says Bertuccio. “Unfortunately, as we all know, this intention was not fulfilled successfully for various reasons. At this point, the possibility has vanished completely and Effenbert decided to reconsider other options of further investments in the team, with regard to the budget, which eventually resulted in the decision to engage a fourth permanent rider for the entire 2012 season. This decision is also promising something very interesting.”
That fourth permanent rider is McCormick, the 2011 Canadian Superbike Champion who was originally signed by Effenbert Liberty to ride the Ducati 1199 Panigale in the Superstock 1000 Cup. McCormick joins Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger in the WSBK class. Federico Sandi will remain in the Superstock 1000 series as the team’s sole entry.
No official reasons were released regarding why the discussions with Bayliss did not work out, but it’s worth noting McCormick will be riding in the WSBK class full time. Perhaps Effenbert Liberty found more value in entering four full time WSBK entries and one Superstock 1000 entry than a pair in Superstock with three full time WSBK riders and a wild card in a handful of rounds, even if that wild card was Bayliss.
While Bayliss fans will no doubt be disappointed, but on a personal and patriotic note, I’m glad to see a Canadian on the WSBK grid. McCormick is an up-and-coming racer who impressed onlookers last year at the post-season WSBK tests.
“All I can say is this is a dream come true, and everybody who’s been there for me over the years, thank you!” McCormick wrote on his Facebook page. “Wouldn’t be here without an amazing family and circle of friends. Not to mention everybody in the Canadian motorcycle industry. I will do my best to do Canada proud this year.”
[Source: Liberty Racing, Brett McCormick (Facebook)]