Ant West's life has been a true rollercoaster. He has been hired, fired and retired from both factory and privateer teams, and has won races and come home last. Sometimes, all of these in the same season.
But 2007 started looking like Ant West's season. After leaving the Team Sicilia 250 squad over the usual problems about money, sponsorship and language difficulties, West rode three races for the Yamaha World Supersport squad, winning two of them and finishing third in one, including a majestic win in the downpour at Silverstone. Then, the Australian finally got what he had been working for for such a very long time: a factory ride in MotoGP.
In 2007, this was a pretty good deal. But since the start of the 2008 season, the Kawasaki has gone backwards, and West's fortunes have taken yet another nosedive. West's continual battles at the rear of the field have seen a lot of fans dismissing the Australian's talent, despite a similar lack of results from John Hopkins.
Now, Ant West's fortunes could well see yet another reversal. The Australian already knew that his MotoGP seat at Kawasaki was gone, and was looking at other options. Kawasaki had reportedly offered West a ride in either World Superbike or World Supersport, but a quick glance at Team Green's results in those series made that seem like being pushed out of the frying pan, only to find himself ending up in the fire.
So West has taken a much more competitive offer. Today, it was announced that Ant West has signed for the Stiggy Motorsports team in World Supersport. Although it's a big step down from MotoGP to the 600cc series, the switch should do West the world of good.
Firstly, the Stiggy Motorsports team, run by West's former 250 team mate Johan Stigefelt, has been extremely competitive so far this year, with Josh Brookes 3rd in the championship and Robbin Harms 8th. Secondly, the friendlier atmosphere in the World Superbike paddock should suit West a lot better, giving the Australian a chance to rebuild his confidence, which has taken a serious beating this year. And thirdly, West's style suits a supersport machine down to the ground. The combination of high corner speed while still being able to slide the rear if necessary fits West like a glove.
With Stiggy Motorsports likely to have competitive equipment once again next year, West might finally get a chance to challenge for the world title that his utterly fanatical following has been hoping for for so many years.