Irvine, Calif. (November 30, 2005) — Kawasaki Racing Team has a simple objective in 2006, and that is to win championships in the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series and AMA Toyota Motocross Championship with returning riders James Stewart and Michael Byrne. However, achieving that objective is no simple matter.
“A lot of things have to go right,” says Kawasaki Racing Team manager Mike Fisher. He speaks from experience.
As a former professional racer, Fisher understands the ups-and-downs a rider can go through over the course of a season. He retired from racing in 1995 and went to work for Kawasaki’s research and development department before being appointed as Kawasaki’s team manager in the last half of the 2005 AMA Motocross season.
“We had a lot of problems develop last season but we’re ready to put all that behind us,” said Fisher. “We are confident in the abilities of our riders and we think the 2006 SX/MX season will be better than ever. That’s why we race, because we ultimately have something to prove.”
Both of Kawasaki Racing Team’s riders are out to prove something in 2006. Fisher says that James Stewart, 19, of Haines City, Fla., is out to prove that he is back in business after injury and illness haunted him last season. The young racer came back from a fractured left forearm at Phoenix to win three Supercross events in Dallas, Seattle and Houston before he was sidelined with a peculiar stomach illness and a concussion during the motocross season. After being treated for a bacterial infection in his intestine during the off-season, Stewart’s ready to prove that he is healthy and focused on winning a championship.
“I’m planning on giving the fans some great racing this year,” says Stewart. “Kawasaki and I are committed to winning. Last season was tough but I’m still young and I have a long way to go in this sport.”
For 26-year-old Michael Byrne, he’s out to prove that although he had some bad luck during last year’s Supercross season, he is now more focused than ever to make it to the podium. The Australian transplant who resides in Murrieta, Calif., had several great races during the first half of the season until he sustained a shoulder injury at the Atlanta Supercross, which forced him to sit-out the remaining seven events. Undaunted by the minor setback, Byrne used the time to train for the grueling motocross season and test the all-new KX"¢450F. His efforts proved positive as he earned a sixth overall finish on the KX250 during the motocross season and a second overall finish at the U.S. Open riding the KX450F.
“Being in the top five each week will be very important,” says Byrne. “This will be one of those years when a lot of different guys can win, and just like most forms of racing, if you finish near the front every week, it will pay off at the end of the season. The KX450F is a great bike and it will definitely improve my chances.”
“Everyone acknowledges that Byrne is a top talent just waiting for a breakthrough,” adds Fisher. “His performance at the U.S. Open showed that he has the ability to be out in front, and we’re all working hard to get him on the podium next season.”
Both riders will compete for Kawasaki Racing Team during the 15-event Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series and the 12-event AMA Toyota Motocross Championship in 2006.
“We’re eager to start over with a new focus,” said Fisher. “The KX450F is also a benefit for our team; Byrne will ride it during the Supercross and motocross seasons. Stewart will be on the KX450F in Supercross for select races and throughout the motocross season. With all this talent and new equipment to work with, we expect to have winning results.”
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) markets and sells at wholesale Kawasaki motorcycles, ATVs, personal watercraft and utility vehicles through a network of more than 1,500 independent retailers, with an additional 8,400 retailers specializing in power products and general purpose engines. KMC and its affiliates employ nearly 2,400 people in the United States, with more than 350 of them located at the Irvine, California headquarters.
Kawasaki’s tagline, “Let the good times roll."¢”, is recognized worldwide and the brand is aggressively carrying its heritage of leading-edge power, performance and exhilaration into the 21st century. Information about Kawasaki’s complete line of recreational products and Kawasaki affiliates can be found on the Internet at www.kawasaki.com