SR75 World Team rider Thomas Ramette will fill in for the injured Dylan Ferrandis on a Star Racing Yamaha at the remaining rounds of the Monster Energy Supercross East Coast 250cc series.
The last-minute deal was hammered out between SR75 team owner Geoff Walker and former GP racer Gareth Swanepoel late on Monday night and just hours later the popular Frenchman was on a flight to Los Angeles.
“How wild is this?” said Walker on Tuesday morning. “Thomas is currently at 36,000 feet and he’s still got what he calls goosepumps! Bear in mind that only a few years ago this lad was knocking in posts at the SX Tour just to get a cheap entry. “It’s a factory team, a factory ride, it’s unreal. It’s just so cool.”
The three-time Power Maxed Arenacross Tour champion was due to begin testing on Wednesday ahead of round five of the series in St Louis on Saturday night. If all goes to plan he’ll remain in the States for a further four races until the series ends in Las Vegas on May 5 before returning to Europe and the SR75 team.
With Ramette contracted to SR75 and its sponsors, Walker had to frantically telephone his backers to get permission to temporarily release the 26-year-old from the team’s existing deals.
“All our team partners and sponsors have been amazing,” said Walker. “They recognise what a chance it is for Thomas. There’s a really good feeling with all of this.
“It’s our downtime anyway at this point of the season and the boy means so much to me that I can’t hold him back when such an incredible opportunity presents itself.”
The relationship between Walker and Swanepoel stretches back to the US industry insider’s time racing for MJ Church Kawasaki with Walker preparing the bike he took his first win outside of his native South Africa on.