Wednesday, July 27

COCHRANE TO PROMOTE 2017 ROAD RACING CHAMPS

Robert Cochrane and his company  Legends Events & Media Ltd. have been appointed to promote the 2017 N.Z. Road Racing Championships.



Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) has appointed Robert Cochrane's company Legends Events & Media Ltd. as promoter of the four-round New Zealand Road Racing Championships in 2017.

Two rounds of the series will be held in the South Island (January 7-8 and January 14-15) with two rounds in the North Island (February 25-26 and March 4-5).

"We believe Robert can do a good job for the sport," says Motorcycling New Zealand Inc Road Race Commissioner Greg Percival.   "He is a very experienced professional and has promoted a whole range of motorsport from speedway to 100 year motorcycle events, Longtrack, NZ Moto Trials, two Triumph Classic Festivals, the MV Agusta Classic, the first three Barry Sheene meets and in the past two years the Truck Racing Festival at Taupo, the latter bringing in record crowds.  He is under no illusion that he has a big project in front of him but I am confident he will make a strong impact for our sport."

Motorcycling New Zealand Inc General Manager Vicky Hicks defines Cochrane's role as "communications, marketing and sponsorship."

"He has the runs on the board," says Mrs Hicks.  "We took note that during his career with Wellington Speedway, plus the classic and historic meetings run by our member clubs, and his Truck Racing Festival, that each year Robert has increased the sponsorship funds pool for those events.  Greg and I will work directly with our MNZ member clubs while Robert’s focus will be on the business and promotion side of the series," she says.


"Legends Events & Media Ltd. will negotiate national promotion deals and has some key targets to raise the profile of the events and our sport," says Percival.

"Next year there will be two rounds of the championship in the South Island and two in the North Island.  A lot of consideration was given to the rider survey conducted at the end of last season and I thank all those who participated. Further announcements about the series will be made in the coming months."

DUNLOP HEADLINES SUZUKI SERIES

A man who has been described as the "best motorcycle street racer in the world" will be coming to New Zealand for the first time later this year.

The world-renowned Cemetery Circuit races, around the closed-off public streets of Whanganui each Boxing Day, will this year feature the rider who has for a number of years been setting alight the equally-famous Isle of Man race circuit, Northern Irishman Michael Dunlop.

The 27-year-old Dunlop is the latest in a long line of exciting, headline-grabbing athletes who have been drawn to the tricky Cemetery Circuit in recent years, with Britain's Guy Martin, Liechtenstein rider Horst Saiger and British women’s champion Maria Costello just a few of the other star attractions that Cemetery Circuit organiser Allan 'Flea' Willacy has managed to entice to New Zealand in recent years.

The Cemetery Circuit event on December 26 will again be the third and final round of the popular annual Suzuki Series, which kicks off at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park near Taupo on December 4, then takes riders to Manfeild for round two on December 11, before its traditional Boxing Day finale on the public streets of Whanganui.

The highly-respected Dunlop will also race at Manfeild's round two of the Suzuki Series, although it is the Robert Holden Memorial Trophy, given each years to the Cemetery Circuit feature race winner, that he craves most.

Willacy said Australian motards riders and more solos and sidecar racers from the United Kingdom, including World Champion/IOMTT winners, are still yet to be announced.

The Suzuki Series formula one class champion in 2014, Saiger, from the German-speaking principality of Liechtenstein, nestled between Switzerland and Austria, has also indicated that he will return to race again this year.

However, much of the spectator focus this year will likely go on Dunlop, who will choose between racing a Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike or the "more upright street-style" Suzuki GSX-S1000, supplied by Suzuki New Zealand.

From Ballymoney, in Northern Ireland, Dunlop is a part of a legendary motorcycle racing dynasty. He is the brother of fellow world class rider William Dunlop, son of the late and great Robert Dunlop and nephew of the late former world champion Joey Dunlop.

A 13-time winner around the Isle of man, Michael Dunlop is the current solo-machine lap record holder for the mountain course around the Isle of Man, set during the 2016 Senior TT in June, circulating in a hot time of 16 minutes 53.929 seconds at an average speed of 133.962 mph (215.591 km/h).

Dunlop was the first rider in the history of the Isle of Man TT to achieve a lap of the course in under 17 minutes.

Widely regarded as one of the most tenacious competitors in motorcycle racing, Dunlop's aggressive style has endeared himself to fans over the years and his appearance in New Zealand this summer will surely add numbers to his massive fan base.

"The impending arrival of Michael Dunlop for the Suzuki Series is fantastic news," said Willacy. "He is a true superstar of the sport and has been described as the best street road-racer in the world, with a total 22 TT podiums to his credit.

"We are thrilled to be able to report that a rider of this calibre is coming here to race."

 For further information email Simon Meade, General Manager of Motorcycle / ATV Marketing.


Words and photo courtesy of Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

Tuesday, June 21

SYKES CONTINUES WITH KAWASAKI

KEEPING THE GOOD TIMES ROLLING

Tom Sykes (middle front) flanked by Mr. Yuji Horiuchi  - General Manager of R&D Division, Motorcycle & Engine Company KHI - (left) and  KRT Senior Engineer  Ichiro Yoda (right).  Standing at back are Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager) and Steve Guttridge (Racing Manager Kawasaki Europe).

SYKES AND KAWASAKI RACING TEAM CONTINUE 

THEIR STRONG PARTNERSHIP

2013 FIM Superbike World Champion for Kawasaki, Tom Sykes, will continue his successful relationship with KRT and KHI for another two years after making a new agreement with the Japanese factory to be a key member of the overall Ninja ZX-10R racing project, both on and off-track.
Having formed such a successful partnership with Kawasaki in the past few years, culminating in his championship win in 2013, Sykes will continue to be an integral part of the Kawasaki racing and development programme around the awesome Ninja ZX-10R. Tom’s commitment to the Kawasaki cause has been evident ever since he first rode a WorldSBK spec Ninja back in 2010, and he has collected an enviable list of achievements along the way.

Sykes has now taken 30 race wins, and all but one of his 76 career podium finishes, on ZX-10R machines. Tom has also set the second highest ever record of Superpole qualifying wins, which reached 36 at the most recent round in Misano. He has also set 30 fastest laps during WorldSBK races and has been twice a runner-up in the championship, in addition to his headlining success in 2013.

In making a new agreement with Kawasaki’s official squad Tom is now intent on continuing his career at the highest level of production-derived racing, with the most successful WorldSBK team and machine of recent times. Once more Tom will join up alongside his current KRT team-mate Jonathan Rea, who also recently re-signed.
 

STATEMENTS:

Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Rider): “I am really excited to have made a further commitment with KRT and KHI. It’s a great feeling to be back with such a great team for another two years. We have already shown the capabilities of the latest model Ninja ZX-10R this season and there is a lot of potential still to come from the bike. I think it is safe to say that we have the best all-round package in the FIM Superbike World Championship and I would like to thank KHI for showing their continued commitment to me as a rider. As well as the bike and the on-track performance I have been part of the Kawasaki family for seven years so it was really natural to continue that relationship. To carry on working with my dedicated crew - Marcel, Danilo, Mattia, Raul, Tambu and Ruben and all my other valued colleagues and friends in the team - was priceless as they are widely recognised as the pick of the crop in the WorldSBK paddock. I get so much support from the brilliant fans and passionate Kawasaki owners that it was also a positive decision to make to remain part of that. Another important thing is to continue the development programme, for the road bike and the race bike side of things, which is something I feel an integral part of. The technical aspect of working with the team and KHI is deeply satisfying to me, not just the successes on track.”

Steve Guttridge (Racing Manager Kawasaki Europe): “Tom has grown up inside our Kawasaki WorldSBK projects as have Kawasaki with Tom Sykes. The combination of Tom and his crew chief Marcel Duinker and data engineer Danilo Casonato, along with a great team of staff around them, has been invaluable to our Ninja ZX-10R's success and overall model feedback over the past several seasons. Both sides obviously value their relationship dearly and the continued potential of that relationship into the future. Given all of these things we are obviously very happy that we can look to the next two seasons with Tom.”

Guim Roda (KRT Team Manager): “Tom signing for two more years with Kawasaki is a very nice point to continue our project from, while also developing the latest Ninja ZX-10R until 2018. This is a part of Kawasaki’s strategy - to have two top riders inside KRT project - and now we can say proudly that we still have the two best riders in the WorldSBK championship. It has been a longer negotiation with Tom because he has been with Kawasaki for seven years - two with PBM and five with KRT - and there’s always some private and personal points we have to respect when a rider thinks about taking such a important decision. Tom always said from the beginning his first wish was to continue in the Kawasaki family, so we are happy he can trust in the new ZX-10R and KRT staff to get what he expects. I personally think that the best of Tom Sykes is yet to come. The level of competitiveness from KRT will be high and we will increase this even more, so I’m sure other manufacturers will have a tough job for the next two years.”

Ichiro Yoda (KRT Senior Engineer): “I have been involved for many years in racing activities, since 1980, and I know how difficult it is to have a rider motivated and convinced to stay for a nine years with a brand. We have given Tom the option to think calmly and we are very happy that he has decided his future is with Kawasaki and KRT. His value as a rider has been proved through many years. He has been now, for five years, in the top two or three in the world. This is not easy to do. His experience and sensitive riding style gives us good direction on the points to take care of to improve the Ninja ZX-10R in the next two years. I am personally very happy to again have two great riders in KRT.”


Mr. Yuji Horiuchi (General Manager of R&D Division, Motorcycle & Engine Company KHI): “To have not one but two WorldSBK Champions in our team is a considerable achievement. We are happy that the valuable work Tom has already done on the development of the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R and his enviable technical ability can continue to benefit us for the next two seasons and that our racing project with KRT has the talent and stability it needs to achieve even greater racing success in the years to come”.