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Kawasaki racing in the UK – 2010 Overview

As a brand exemplified by high performance and cutting edge technology, the desire to compete is engrained in the Kawasaki DNA. Performing on a global basis in World Championships, Kawasaki also competes at a local level on a country by country basis.

With some of the best domestic championships in the world, the UK attracts the highest level of riders and, consequently, some of the most hard-fought and exciting competition. Into this cauldron, Kawasaki Motors UK entered or supported a variety of teams in 2010 in diverse disciplines from short circuit racing, to pure road enterprises, drag racing and, of course, off-road sport including motocross via the famous Team Green initiative.

For 2010, this world famous racing programme expanded and encompassed some competitors in tarmac racing for the first time in many years – something which will extend into the coming season such was its impact. For many, Superbike racing is the focus of their attention being second only to MotoGP
in the two-wheeled “pecking order”. With official and supported teams in the UK Championship, 2010 was once more a season characterised by close racing with the Championship decided fittingly at the last round. MSS Colchester Kawasaki entered the season having already completed a year as the official KMUK entrants in the series and were once more noted for their outstanding machine preparation and presentation.
Whilst the top spot of the podium eluded them over the course of the season, they galvanised their efforts and narrowly missed a podium place at the season ending offshore Superbike event at Macau. Optimism abounded in the far east though as the team’s recently announced new signing for 2011, Stuart Easton, won that same race and established a new lap record in doing so. With a much vaunted completely new
machine for the coming season, all eyes will once more be on the Essex based squad who firmly believe that this will be their “break through” year.

Racing the Ninja ZX-6R in Supersport, the official Kawasaki Motors UK team of Gearlink Kawasaki garnered more success with two wins achieved by Lincolnshire rider, Ben Wilson. Winning in the wet at Knockhill and then again at the fast and flowing Oulton Park circuit, Wilson achieved third in the Championship and promptly re-signed for the team in order to attack the new season with an outfit he knows and trusts.

Team Green re-entered the tarmac paddocks on 2010 with three riders competing under the famous banner creating huge media interest. Most successful among them was Essex rider, Danny Buchan who won several races and stood a strong chance of taking the championship until a mistake at the very last race placed him a final third.

In Superstock, Kawasaki saw strong showings by MSS Colchester Kawasaki rider, Howie Mainwaring and welcomed a new official team, Blackhorse Kawasaki and their Manager, Ian Lougher. Guiding rider Victor Cox to several encouraging results across the season, Lougher’s team also travelled across the water to the Isle of Man for the TT in June.

Mona’s Isle played host to a raft of Kawasaki riders during the TT festival. Most notable were the official KMUK roads team of McAdoo Kawasaki with Manxman Conor Cummins onboard plus the KMUK supported team, KMR racing, represented by team owner, Ryan Farquhar.

Capturing the title of the fastest Manxman ever around the TT course, Cummins’ TT ended with an uncharacteristic crash while Farquhar showed how impressive an almost stock Ninja ZX-10R is by placing third in the 1000cc Superstock event. Now with more wins on the roads than the iconic Joey Dunlop, Farquhar has an ideal platform from which to attack 2011 while Cummins is recovering well.

In terms of sheer speed, drag bike rider Tim Blakemore took the laurels in 2010 with several 200mph passes from a standing start on his ZZR1400 Turbocharged “Funny Bike”. Looking to make an impact in a racing discipline that Kawasaki has formerly achieved great success in, Blakemore and his team have done great things so far and look to the future with optimism.

Off-road the success story continued with a strong third place in the Red Bull Pro-National for Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki rider, Krisitian Whatley. Teammate and former MXGP winner, Gert Krestinov, also podiumed the awesome KX450F during the season vindicating the team’s decision to enter the Estonian rider in the UK Championship.

Winner of the BYMX and MXY2 Championships on his KX250F, Welshman Connor Walkley also won the inaugural race for the 2011 KX250F machine at its debut. Success for the incoming machine was additionally celebrated at the end of season Belfast Supercross race with Adam Chatfield and Jack Brunel posting first and second places respectively.

Adding the AMCA MX2 and IMBA MX2 titles to his growing trophy cabinet, Lee Dunham rounded of a successful year off road for Kawasaki and Team Green riding his trusty KX250F.

Certainly a year with much to talk about, 2010 makes way to a new season with an air of understandable optimism among Kawasaki competitors. The new Ninja ZX-10R is already receiving rave reviews – and in testing has been immediately impressive in terms of lap times. The Kawasaki UK Superbike team have signed a potential championship winner in Stuart Easton, while Wilson enters a further season in
Supersport ready to prove his credentials. With an expansion of the Team Green project into 1000cc Superstock and riders in the emerging EVO class, the tarmac grids will certainly have a lot of Kawasaki machinery on them come spring. For off-road fans too, 2011 looks set to be a classic. The KX250F has already won races in standard form and the changes to the KX450F make it even more likely to push riders to the podium’s top step.

One thing’s for sure, success for Kawasaki riders in 2011 will be assured if their
commitment and desire to win has anything to do with it!