THERE can’t be many people who have taken both a Challenger 2 tank and a cutting edge superbike to their limits but Liam Dale is one.

The former tank driver with the Royal Dragoon Guards turned superbike rider will be gunning for gold next year with the hope of winning the prestigious No Limits 1000 Cup in 2020 and going toe-to-toe with major factory teams in the televised Superbike Stock 1000 Championship.

Father-of-three Liam, 26, from Bradford, has been steadily climbing the various road racing leagues for the last five years with his team, Barrett Steel Racing.

In 2019, Bradford-based Barrett Steel Racing came fourth out of 45 riders - narrowly missing out on third place - despite suffering a number of setbacks, including two engine failures and a handful of ‘did not finish’ results due to bike issues.

Liam, who began riding motorcross at the age of seven, explained: “We were really happy with how this year ended considering the circumstances we faced.

“We were unable to race at two meetings due to engine failure and we missed the Anglesey round as a whole. The team still managed fourth place out of 45 riders.”

He added: “This year, we’re going up a gear and will be entering into one of the Stock 1000 races alongside the British Superbikes.”

Unlike previous years, in 2020 Barrett Steel Racing will be running two 2018 Kawazaki ZX10R bikes, one ‘wet’ and one ‘dry’, in addition to a raft of new track-side technology that will enable our race mechanics (and even Liam) to change settings during the race.

In February, the team will go to Spain for a week for testing, before the season commences in March.

The bikes can reach speeds of 0-60 in under three seconds and 0-100 in just over four, with top speeds of around 190/200mph.

Looking back on his former days as a British Army tank driver, Liam (pictured) remembers getting a Challenger 2 tank off the ground during a six month tour in Canada.

Challenger 2 tanks typically weigh between 70 and 80 tons, with an engine which produces 1,200bhp, enabling it to reach speeds of up to 40mph. By comparison, his Kawazaki ZX10R bike produces 210bhp.

Liam said: “At one point, we hit a lip and the thing left the ground. People still talk about that today.

“There’s a bit of a difference between driving a tank and riding a bike but it’s all about focus and this year we are as ready as we’ve ever been.”

Now, Liam runs his own carpet cleaning business alongside being an account manager.

The British Superbike meetings are expected to draw crowds of 50,000-plus and will be shown on live television.

The former pupil of Queensbury High School said: “We have an army of support around us.

“Our aim is to go out and try win the No Limits 1000 Cup in 2020.”

Team manager and Liam’s father Gary Dale said 2020 would be a big year for the team. It has also just launched a series of community days in which local schools, colleges and charities will be visited.

The manager said: “We’re a family-run team, we have some fantastic sponsors and this next season we will be running two bikes.

“It’s the ideal set up to win the championship. We’re also dipping our toe into the Superbike Championships, which is massive for us, because we will be going toe-to-toe with the big factory teams.”