2005 Kawasaki Racing
Road Racing Overview;
Kawasaki has made some big impressions in the world of road racing during 2005. In the top-class Moto GP Championship the Kawasaki Racing Team have battled against the top riders and manufacturers in the world. 2005 has given the team some fantastic qualifying positions and great race results, particularly from Shinya Nakano. Additionally, an outstanding ride from Olivier Jacque in China saw the Kawasaki Racing Team earn a well deserved podium place.
In Britain, Hawk Kawasaki competed in the best domestic Superbike Championship in the world - the British Superbike Championship. The team successfully brought home both their riders in the top six with several podium finishes under their belt. The official Kawasaki UK backed team proved for another year running that they are a force to be reckoned with.
In the supporting classes of the 2005 British Superbike Championship Kawasaki have also achieved a number of successes. The MSS Discovery team made history in the British Supersport Championship with Spanish rider Pere Riba taking victory at Silverstone. It was the first time a Kawasaki machine had won in this class for over nine years. Top spot in the British Supersport Cup, run in conjunction with the Supersport Championship, was this year claimed by Kawasaki rider Gary Johnson after a number of wins and consistent finishes.
Elsewhere in the racing world, Chris Walker competed with Team PSG-1 Corse Kawasaki in the World Superbike Championship. The likeable Brit posted some fantastic results during the course of the season including a podium finish in Valencia. A number of top five finishes saw him end the season in 7th overall in the championship.
Finally, Kawasaki also gained impressive results on the real road racing circuits of the Isle of Man and the North West 200. Ryan Farquhar took the 2005 Supersport Junior TT title at the infamous 37 3/4 mile circuit and he also claimed the Supersport title at the North West 200 riding for MSS Discovery.
For 2005 Stuart Hicken's Hawk Kawasaki team fielded an all-Australian entry in the British Superbike Championship with Glen Richards and Dean Thomas. Richards entered his fourth season with the Leicestershire-based team while his fellow team-mate, Thomas, joined the team for the first time. Hawk's main objective for 2005 was to finish with both riders in the top six of the championship.
After a long winter development programme the team got off to a flying start with Richards taking third place in the opening race of the championship at Brands Hatch. At the team's home round at Mallory Park they collected more podium finishes with Richards finishing both races in second place earning important championship points. His team-mate, Thomas, finished just off the podium in fourth place.
Richards continued his good form at Mondello Park and proved the Kawasaki ZX-10R was a competitive and fast machine by breaking the lap record in only his second lap out on the track. By round seven of the championship Richards was a comfortable 4th in the championship and Thomas was lying in 7th.
Unfortunately a practice session crash, at the Snetterton round, saw Glen Richards injure his left shoulder and sidelined him for the race. However, he returned at Silverstone after the five week break to claim a solid fifth and sixth across the two races. Another podium beckoned for Richards at Cadwell Park as he took third spot. With only three rounds to go, Thomas, with some solid finishes under his belt, was lying 7th in the championship and Richards had slipped to fifth.
The season ended right back where it started, at Brands Hatch, and the Hawk Kawasaki team signed off finalizing their championship positions of 5th (Richards) and 6th (Thomas) and reaching their season's objectives.
MSS Discovery has produced some great results in 2005. Competing across a number of championships, MSS ran Spaniard Pere Riba in the British Supersport Championship, Ryan Farquhar at the North West 200 and supported a number of riders in the British Superstock Championship.
In the Supersport Championship, Pere Riba had a number of consistent finishes before gaining his first podium of the season at Mondello Park, where he claimed third place narrowly missing out on second. By the time the championship reached the North East at Croft, Riba was lying sixth. He continued to move up the order with a second place finish at Snetterton taking him to fifth place overall.
At Silverstone Riba was to make history putting the MSS Discovery Kawasaki on the top step of the podium. It was the first time in over nine years a Kawasaki had taken top spot in this championship. This elevated Riba to fourth in the championship with only four rounds to go. At the penultimate round Riba once again put his Kawasaki at the front and claimed his second win of the season. A DNF at the final round at Brands Hatch meant Riba slipped down to fifth in the championship. But with two race wins and a number of podiums throughout the season it was a good result for the team.
Elsewhere, MSS Discovery fielded Ryan Farquhar at the well known Irish Road Races, the North West 200 where he competed in both the Supersport Class and the Superbike class. He claimed sixth spot in the Superbike class. In the Supersport class he dominated and put the MSS Discovery bike over the line first taking the victory.
The Moto Grand Prix Championship is the premier class in the world of motorcycle racing. For 2005, KRT ran two Ninja ZX-RR machines with Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofman on board. The 17 race campaign is nearly over and to date KRT has had some outstanding successes, most notably Olivier Jacque delivering Kawasaki's best-ever result in Moto Grand Prix with a masterful second place in a water logged Chinese Grand Prix. Jacque, standing in for the injured Alex Hofman, raced from 15th on the grid to second place in his debut performance for the Kawasaki Racing Team, run by Harald Eckl.
Shinya Nakano has also been working hard throughout the season and has produced some brilliant performances. His first race of the season at Jerez, Spain, saw the 27-year-old Japanese star take his lime green machine to fifth overall giving him a solid start. After only two rounds Nakano stood sixth in the championship. At the Sachsenring Nakano rode a superb race to claim sixth place and continued to notch up more top ten finishes. At the Malaysian Grand Prix Nakano proved that he was truly a force to be reckoned with. He qualified an amazing fourth place and headed up row two. The start of the race saw Nakano storm into second place but unfortunately Sete Gibernau quashed Nakano's podium hopes with a collision that ended Nakano's race.
Alex Hofman has had a difficult season after sitting out several races at the start of the championship after breaking his scaphoid. Olivier Jacque stood in for the injured Hofman when he delivered the stunning success at the Chinese GP. Hofman had his best Moto Grand Prix result at a rain soaked Donington Park with a brave 8th place. Unfortunately injury put Hofman out again and Olivier Jacque was back in the seat.
Team PSG-1 Corse this year changed to Kawasaki machinery and entered the Ninja ZX-10R in the World Superbike Championship. Their riders for this season were Italian Maura Sanchini and the ever popular Brit, Chris Walker, sporting his usual number 9. Walker claimed some impressive results throughout the season on-board the Kawasaki and showed that both rider and machine could run at the front.
Valencia, round three of the championship, saw Walker claim his first podium of the season after battling hard and finishing less than two seconds behind second place. At the first of two British rounds, Walker claimed two consistent sixth places at Silverstone. He was back on the pace at Brno finishing in fourth place just behind Regis Laconi who grabbed the final podium spot.
Brands Hatch, one of the biggest spectator rounds of the championship, saw Walker get his best ever result in Superpole. Fifth fastest around the circuit put him on the second row of the grid. During the races he didn't disappoint taking fifth in race one and fourth in race two.
Walker then suffered an injury to his arm and was to struggle when he returned for the penultimate round at Imola. Despite riding through immense pain Walker still managed to claim a respectable 6th place. He rounded out the season at Monza, still injured, with an amazing show of his riding ability and battled it out with fellow Brit James Toseland. Walker finished the season 7th overall in the championship and the top Kawasaki finisher.
2005 has been an exciting year for Team Green with a host of positive activity across all areas of off road sport. From youth motocross to British Enduro, Kawasaki has been showing the world just what the KX range is capable of.
A strong Team Green Youth Squad has battled handlebar to handlebar across the UK this season for honours in the various youth championships. The BYMX 125 premier class was won by Ray Rowson, in his second year for Team Green, onboard the KX125 two stroke machine. Rowson demonstrated that this machine is more than a match for the 250 four stroke machines of rival manufacturers.
The two stroke KX125 also took third place in the intermediate 125 class with squad rider Ashley Greedy at the controls. Overall first place went to fellow Kawasaki rider Joe Dark on the MotoXtreme KX250F following a season of awesome riding. Both Kawasaki models entered the top three of this highly competitive race category.
The big wheel class is a tough one with so many top riders taking part. Team Green's Josh Waterman rode hard all year to show the big wheel KX85 had the necessary pace to win. But for an unlucky crash at the last round, Josh would have surely improved greatly on his tenth overall position.
In the small wheel KX85 class, finishing at Desertmartin, Team Green's Scot James took all four races dominating from start to finish. The final result saw him take second place in the championship only 21 points off the top spot.
To round up the youth squad Connor Walkley finished second overall in the 65 class. In a class dominated by orange bikes, Connor and his KX65 showed quality not quantity gets results.
Meanwhile, in the British Motocross Championships Molson Kawasaki's Tommy Searle had a very successful first season in adult competition. He claimed the British Under 21 Championship and took fifth in the Maxxis British Championship. His team-mate Tom Church had a consistent season in the British Championship taking fourth place overall.
Former British Champion Stephen Sword had a season of mixed fortunes in the World MX GP Championship. He had a fantastic start and was running third in the world MX2 championship with a number of podium finishes and moto wins. However, an injury sustained during testing put an end to his form and saw him finish in ninth overall.
In other areas of competition Kawasaki's Ryan Voase had a fantastic year on board his KX250 competing in Enduro and Fast Eddy championships. Ryan notched up the Great British Hare Scramble Championship and took the Fast Eddy UK Cross Country Race Series title. Voase also took an impressive second overall in a round of the European Enduro Championship. Voase will be looking at taking this year's UK Supercross title riding his nimble KX250.
When you buy a Team Green Kawasaki you are automatically welcomed into the biggest offroad team in the world. Belonging to Team Green is a benefits package that helps riders enjoy and get the most out of their machines after they have left the shop. Kawasaki likes to look after their customers after the purchase has been made and not simply forget about them immediately after they have handed their money over. Owners effectively become a part of the Team Green family.
Along with our continued commitment to developing and improving our KX range of super trick motocross machines that we ensure have a winning advantage straight from the gate, we also aim to help owners gain maximum benefit from their machines through customer event days. In 2005 Kawasaki Motors UK ran two Team Green Track Days in association with Motorex at the fantastic Cusses Gorse facility. Around 110 Team Green members got the opportunity to ride alongside Stephen Sword and Tommy Searle. Technical advice and set up assistance was on hand for all riders and their families. Jamie Squibb put on freestyle demonstrations and Merv Anstie and Geoff Mayes ran a Try Ride event on the practice track. Everyone went home with a Kawasaki/Motorex goodie bag and a huge grin.
No other motocross manufacturer gets involved with customer events like we do at Kawasaki. Kawasaki is quite unique in the fact that it lets the members of Team Green get close to the staff and riders through events such as the Team Green Days.
The Team Green Support Programme is another benefit that is second to none. Riding a Kawasaki KX machine gets you noticed out on the tracks. We aim to select up and coming talent from the youth ranks and help riders fulfil their dreams by nurturing their talent and skill, gradually elevating them to a supported dealer ride or even to be a fully supported Team Green squad member!
The most successful way to the top is through Team Green and when we help get a rider there, our GP teams will be waiting to further their career. James Stewart, Stephen Sword and more recently Tommy Searle are proof that our Team Green youth development programmes can help put riders on top of the World. No other manufacturer can provide such a ladder of opportunity.
Molson Kawasaki fielded a three man team during 2005, Tom Church, Gareth Swanepoel and Tommy Searle. The team have an impressive presence in the paddock and on the track and this year ran in the British Championship and the GPs.
Molson Kawasaki's youngest rider, at just sixteen years old, Tommy Searle is a product of the Team Green youth squad. In his first season of adult racing Tommy took the British Under 21s with twelve straight wins and a round still to go. Tommy also impressed in the Maxxis British Motocross Championship taking fifth overall and by qualifying for the two British Grand Prix and giving a good performance at both. Tommy has already signed with Molson Kawasaki for the 2006 season.
Fellow team-mate Tom Church showed his potential on the world stage this year and proved he is a force to be reckoned with. His efforts in the British Championship were not to go unnoticed with consistent top place finishes seeing him end the season in fourth overall.
Gareth Swanepoel started out recovering from injury but improved race after race eventually showing the winning speed he had at the end of 2004. Swanepoel finished the British Championship in 10th place overall.
Kawasaki Racing Team;
Britain's Stephen Sword ran with the Dutch based Kawasaki Racing Team run by Jan De Groot. Accompanied by Tanel Leok and Joseph Dobes running in the MX1 Class, Sword has had mixed fortunes during the 2005 season.
The opening rounds of the season saw Stephen Sword showing his potential in the world arena. In round two he took one race win and finished the weekend third on the podium. He continued this impressive run against the world's best by taking second overall at the fourth round on board his new aluminium framed KX250F. By round 8 Sword was on the podium once again and running third in the championship, just one point behind second place.
Unfortunately, Sword's title chase was halted by an injury during testing to his right hand that forced him to sit out four rounds. On his return Sword struggled to find the form that had put him on the podium at the beginning of the season. Overall standings left Sword in ninth overall in the MX2 class.
Fellow team-mates Tanel Leok and Joseph Dobes also suffered frustrating seasons. Leok managed a number of impressive qualification results throughout the season but was unable to turn these into race victories. Leok ended 11th overall in the world rankings.