Ward excited by Kawasaki move
Ward excited by Kawasaki move

Canterbury’s Tom Ward will be riding for the Massingberd-Mundy MSS Performance Kawasaki team for 2020.

He will be on board a Kawasaki Ninja ZX10-RR in the Superstock 1000 series once the 2020 season gets underway.

Speaking to Kent Sports News about how the opportunity came about, he said: “I basically spoke to a friend who rode for Kawasaki last year and what was happening with his ride for 2020 as he was moving up to Superbikes and he said about a new team being formed for 2020 and that it would be the official Kawasaki team in the Stock 1000.

“He passed my number onto the Tom from MSS who would be running the outfit and I actually bumped into him in parc ferme after the race and had a little chat. I also spoke to Nick Morgan the owner of MSS after the weekend as I’ve known him for some years throughout racing.

“After a selection process of me and some other riders, I went up to MSS for an interview and ended up getting the ride which I was ecstatic about!”

Joining Tom as team mate this season is Chrissy Rouse who is experienced in the series and Tom is delighted to have him alongside him in the garage for 2020.

He added: “I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate to be honest, we’ve raced against each other for about ten years and are good friends, we get on really well and are quite similar which is nice.

“Along with getting on well he also rode the Kawasaki Ninja ZX10-RR last year and ended the championship in fourth place and had a race win with multiple podiums which is great because he has a good understanding of the bike, lots of data and is great to bring me along and compare data with.”

We asked Tom if he had set himself any goals once he hits the track on board the Kawasaki, or whether it was a case of taking each race at a time while he beds in.

“To be honest, the goal is always to go out and win races but it’s a new bike a new team so this isn’t always possible straight away.

“I feel comfortable on the bike after our first test and there really isn’t any reason why I shouldn’t be up at the sharp end from round one. I’m confident once the first couple of races have gone by the nerves will settle and I think that’s where I will come into my own.”

Last season Tom was running himself with his dad but admits that it isn’t easy to be able to do that and race.

He said: “It has its pros and cons, pros being you dictate what goes on in the team, you can go and do a track day when you like and ultimately you don’t have the pressure of performing like you do in a team.

“It’s a much more relaxed environment which is some cases helps me perform better. Cons are lack of funds, bike setup I had to do mostly myself with the help from me pestering K-tech and other top teams for Information.

“Learning to read data and then over evaluating the bike rather than getting on it and riding it! Sometimes I felt like a test rider rather than a racer as all the time I was just trying to work out how to make the bike better, whether it be gearing, ride height, spring rates and engine braking.

“As a rider you just want to get on and think about where you can improve on track. I found it incredibly rewarding when I did get a good result because the hard work from my dad and my friend James had paid off and sharing that with them is very special!”

Tom’s best result of the 2019 season came in the final round at his home track of Brands Hatch, when he achieved his first Superstock 1000 podium, something he was rightly thrilled about.

He added: “It was amazing, it was a weird one as I had struggled all weekend in the dry with finding a good setup. I was lucky we had a weird qualifying half wet, half dry as in those circumstances it’s not so important about setup and I hung it out for the last two laps and qualified second.

“The race got red flagged and got restarted which was great because the bike was quite far out with setup I changed the rear ride height by 1.5mm which is a big change, I didn’t have time to change the rear spring which was a shame but I still managed to finish third.

“I was elated to finish where I did but at the same time kind of annoyed I didn’t have the setup quite right as I knew the potential I would have had! When I got back to parc ferme I was really overwhelmed as even though I thought I could have finished better all the hard work over the season was rewarded with this one result!

“To be sharing the podium with the championship winner and the race winner which would be the bike I would be riding next year was really cool. Two factory teams then me my dad and friend I felt pretty proud of what we’d achieved.”

Tom is confident that moving to MSS Performance is the right move after his 2018 move to a team didn’t quite work out.

“2018 was a tough season to compare to as it was a newish team with new bikes, no previous data, a lot of things missing like data logging and ultimately the team was there for the Superbike.

“MSS Performance are a proven team with multiple championships under their belt and they know what it takes to win, they are supported my Team Green which is basically official Kawasaki backing.

“They have collated years’ worth of data from champions riding the Kawasaki, so the base of where I am jumping on a bike is one that can win. I was picked through a selection which is amazing for me as I’ve got there on my own merit rather than bring a load of cash.

“Everyone at MSS is mega and it really is the full package, I feel super appreciative of the fact I have got the ride and now I’m just so excited I’ve got the tools and backing to go out and perform to the best of my ability.”

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