Portadown’s Marshall Neill has confirmed his decision to take a “step back” from racing after 16 years in the saddle.
Neill returned from serious injury to finish as runner-up in this year’s British Supersport Evo Championship.
“I think, after 16 years and such a good season, it is time to have a break and take a step back,” said Neill. “I would not call it a retirement at this point but I am just going to spend more time with my family.
“There is no row with anyone or issue that way, it is just my own decision.
“I have three children, Ellie (9 years old), Grace (4) and wee Marshall (3), so want to be able to do more with the family.
“For something like 10 years now, for example, I have been away racing over Easter.”
Neill has battled back from two major injuries and returned to the track but considers now as perfect timing following such a rewarding season.
“This time last year I was in a wheelchair and four years ago I broke my neck,” said the 41-year-old. “But I was always pretty measured about those things and considered it all part of racing.
“At the start of this year I did not even know if there was a possibility of getting back racing to a competitive level.
“I also could not say if I would be able to reach the end of a season.
“I surprised myself in many ways and am pleased with the finish so it is a good time to take a step back.
“I have been left overwhelmed by the messages of support on social media.
“You think you just go about your business but when you see those comments it shows the popularity of the sport and how people appreciate certain things.
“I can look back with pride on my past 16 years, especially the backing from family, friends and sponsors.”
A statement released via IN Competition Racing described Neill as “not just our rider but a great long term friend”.
“After our fantastic year with Marshall Neill, we are very sorry to announce that Marshall will not be riding our bike next year as he has decided after 16 years of racing to take a break from bikes,” stated the Facebook post. “It was a pleasure working with Marshall who was not just our rider but a great long term friend, we wish him all the best and all being well we will get him to come along to some of our racing weekends with us!”