Byrne makes 250 debut while Tedesco, Walker and Roncada prepare for 125 Western Region kick-off
IRVINE, Calif. (December 31, 2003) ¿ Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Michael Byrne will make his debut for the Irvine, Calif.-based factory-backed racing team on a Kawasaki KX250 on Saturday night (Jan. 3) at the opening round of the THQ Supercross Series at Edison Field in Anaheim, Calif. The 24-year-old Australian rode a partial season with Kawasaki in 2001, riding a KX250 for Jeff Emig’s support team, and is entering his first full-season of 250 competition.
Byrne, who resides in Lake Elsinore, Calif., is feeling healthy again after missing parts of his first two season racing in the U.S due to a variety of injuries. This past off season in November, while training at the Kawasaki test facility, he re-injured his left shoulder and had surgery to repair the torn cartilage. Byrne made speedy recovery and was back on the track just four weeks later. He has shown speed and consistency in the weeks leading up to Anaheim, and continues to build up the endurance and stamina needed to compete in the rigorous 16-race, 18-week Supercross schedule.
“I’m feeling really good on the bike and my shoulder is feeling stronger and stronger,” said Byrne, a three-time Australian motocross champion. “My shoulder wasn’t 100-percent before re-injuring it in November, so I guess having it completely repaired is a positive. My lap times keep getting lower and lower at the test track. I’m looking forward to my first full season on a 250 and Kawasaki has provided me the tools to succeed.”
Byrne’s Chevy Trucks Kawasaki teammates James Stewart and Paul Carpenter will compete in the seven-race 125 Eastern Region Supercross series, which begins at Houston on Feb. 14, and will not attend the Anaheim race. Stewart, Haines City, Fla., the 2003 125 Western Region champion, is looking to become the first rider in the sport’s history to capture 125 Supercross titles on both coasts. Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., who broke a bone in his wrist in early-December, is currently rehabilitating the injury and is expected to return by the start of the Eastern series. He is one of the more accomplished four-stroke riders, having won four AMA Four-Stroke National Championships in his career.
Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks has developed a powerful line-up to compete in the 125 Western Region Supercross series. Leading the charge out West is returning member Matt Walker and newcomers Ivan Tedesco and Stephane Roncada. All three riders have 125 Supercross wins under their belts and are considered by industry experts as contenders for the title.
Walker, McRae, Ga., is fresh off a successful 125 Western Region Supercross campaign that netted him four top-five finishes before suffering a season-ending knee injury at the series’ second-to-last race. He is again healthy and expected to ride a Pro Circuit-tuned Kawasaki KX125 two-stroke machine.
Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., arrives at Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks for his first-tenure aboard a Kawasaki. His performance was slowed a year ago by nagging injuries, but his career performances in 125 Supercross figure to have this Albuquerque-native in the hunt for a championship. Roncada returns to Kawasaki to compete in the 125 class, after spending two seasons (2001-02) racing a factory-tuned Kawasaki KX250 out of the Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki pit. Roncada, Menifee, Calif., split time between the 250 and 125 classes last season and actually performed much better aboard a 125 machine. His career best finish came in 2000 when he won the 125 Eastern Region Supercross championship and narrowly missed winning the 125 AMA Motocross title by just four points. Both Tedesco and Roncada will compete aboard Kawasaki’s new KZX250F four stroke machine.
Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks teammate Eric Sorby will join Stewart and Carpenter to compete in the 125 Eastern Region Supercross series. Sorby, a Frenchman from Corona, Calif., also showed flashes of brilliance a year ago and, with two years of racing in the U.S. under his belt, figures to be a threat in ’04. He will ride a Kawasaki KX125.
Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A., is known for its power, exhilaration and leading-edge technology, and through the years its race teams have reinforced that reputation. Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki has fielded winning teams throughout its 32 years of professional motocross competition, as evident by its record 20-consecutive championship seasons (1984-present). Stewart’s 125 Western Region Supercross title also continued Kawasaki’s impressive string of championships as its professional teams have won an industry-leading 18 AMA titles over the past decade (1994 to 2003).
Chevy Trucks returns for a fifth season as title sponsor of Kawasaki’s factory-backed motocross racing team. The Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki motocross program also includes title sponsorship of Kawasaki Team Green¿ and official truck sponsorship of Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.