On the eve of Team #109’s race truck departing for preseason testing in Catalunya with newly signed rider James McManus, I managed to get a few words with Team Manager Paul Tobin. The CMRVC have been a sponsor and supporter of Team #109 for a number of years helping to promote young Irish talent in motorcycle racing in the British and World Championships.
You've mentioned before that the team have been fortunate to get support from the Japanese manufacturer and this year is no different. While you wouldn't necessarily call yourselves a "factory" team by any means but what level of support do you receive from Kawasaki?
Kawasaki have the same ethos as ourselves to promote young riders in the sport and this was shown to us in 2019 when we carried the #TeamGreen mantle for Kawasaki and also ran 4 bikes at British level that year for Kawasaki. Since we have moved on to the World stage this ethos has been held true with the introduction of the Affinity Racing Academy whom have picked up where we left off at British level to promote this young talent. As for support from the manufacturer we get technical help, discounted parts and discounted bikes which is great for the team. It might not sound like a lot but crashing is an inevitable part in racing and bikes are expensive to put back together so heavily discounted parts make it that bit cheaper to go racing at this level so they basically act like a sponsor and we do our do our best to repay them by getting the best results possible with the bike.
James will be riding for the Affinity Sports Academy in the British Championship. Is there a partnership in place there between yourselves and the ASA or how will James manage the calendar of races?
James is obviously riding in both Championships but 1 round clashed at the start of the season so while putting in the leg work to getting James signed we had a meeting with Leon Haslam to go through everything with him so we’ve now created a partnership with the Affinity Sports Academy which will allow some of their riders to come to us which will bring on the next British and Irish riders up to World level. From a World Championship Gran Prix level the governing body Dorna have created a number of stepping stones for younger riders to go from the National to World Championships but it can be hard so this partnership with the Affinity Sports Academy will allow riders to transgress if they want to do a wildcard or get a taste for the World level while also assessing riders for the following season if they want to step up. We’re both Kawasaki shod teams so it gives the BSB rider a great chance to step up to World level and obviously having Leon in the paddock will help James massively from a rider training perspective. The calendar has changed again, and you can only plan what is put in front of you while working under COVID so at the moment its looking likely that James may miss a couple more rounds so we may have to sit down and work through the ins and outs again but at the end of the day James will have a number of rounds completed at World level before British level kicks off and that will stand to him greatly.
Donal J. Arnold CMRVC PRO