Ward excited for 2019
Ward excited for 2019

Tom Ward is looking forward to getting back on track in 2019 as he takes on the National Superstock 1000 Championship as a privateer.

The 24-year-old from Canterbury had an up and down 2018 season which left him frustrated with a lack of progress, but he is sure that 2019 is going to be completely different.

Speaking to Kent Sports News about a frustrating season, Tom said: “Yes for sure it was a very up and down season, I had a slow start as we had no previous data for this bike so it was brand new for everyone involved!

“Once I found my feet on the bike and got a decent base setting with the help of having my test bike supplied by Robinsons Foundry I began to get some good results. The end of the season was a wet one and for me I have always struggled in the wet so it was great for me to finish so strong in the latter part of the season.”

Tom joined a big team for 2018 which should have seen him develop on with the backing of the team and the mechanics, but sadly it didn’t work out that way.

He added: “To be honest it was quite a big let-down, I was promised quite a lot of things at the beginning of the season and led to believe I would have a chance of sticking with the team for a few seasons but due to a new manager coming on board he unfortunately ruined quite a good team

“I loved working with some of the guys in the team and it really made me learn a lot which is great, having expertise from the guys at Ktech and Alessandro Finelli was mega but like I say we didn’t have any data to go by and I didn’t even get a data logger on my bike until round 7 although it was in my contract.

“I had a lot of things like this happen with the team which I found very unprofessional as a rider and especially on a new bike I really struggled to move forward and improve the development of the bike. Before round 6 I was about to walk away from the team and do It by myself but unfortunately the team would not give me back any of my money I had put in back, at this point I had already paid over £40,000.”

Despite this bike racing is one of the hardest sports to predict and with each track totally different from the last and the weather unpredictable it does make for some exciting races, and level out the playing field for everyone.

“At times it can be the thing that makes you want to hang up the leathers as the simplest thing can go wrong and be so detrimental but at the same time you can be rewarded by the misfortune of other riders crashing and putting you in a better position so it really is swings and roundabouts.

“I think bike racing on a whole is just such an addictive sport so along with the entire different factors whether it be weather or a bad qualifying it really makes it more exciting.”

With Tom going back to his routes and working with his dad for 2019, he is excited to see what he can achieve when he is in control of the bike and the developments and adjustments.

He said: “I’m more excited than ever for 2019, it’s got to be the best position I’ve been in for a while in racing, I’ve got all the gear I used this year (bike & spares) all the information I gained, some really good people helping with setup and most importantly I’ve got people around me who genuinely want me to do well and that really is the most important thing.

“A happy rider is a fast rider and if you’ve got people around you who are deconstructive not constructive it’s going to be a lot harder for you to succeed. Unfortunately racing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be most riders pay their way in racing and there is little in the way of reward.

“I still work full time and with the help from my loyal Sponsors that’s how I pay for it. Next season is about enjoyment and having fun, so I’m going to make the most of that and hopefully come back with some decent results.”

Raising funds to be able to go racing is one of the hardest things that you have to do when you are a privateer and for Tom he likes being in control of generating sponsorship and backing for the season.

He added: “Most certainly, it’s great as often you go into a team with a big sponsor putting in over £10,000 and all the get is a tiny sticker on the seat unit. By doing it yourself all my sponsors get a decent space on the bike, leathers, truck etc. so it works well for them as well.

“I’m really grateful for my sponsors so it’s nice to be able to give them a bit more, even doing it ourselves we are going to have a little hospitality area where they can come in have some tea and biscuits and just chill out. I enjoy having them there so it’s going to be nice to accommodate them. I am still looking for more help to cover costs this season so if there’s anybody interested please get in contact.”

Finally we asked Tom if there were any highlights that stood out for him from his up and down season, and there was a couple of races that stood out for him, and he was quick to thank his sponsors for their backing as well.

He said: “For me my wet race at the end of the season was my highlight, I started 11th and finished 6th which doesn’t sound amazing but I’ve always struggled in the wet and I really felt like I found my mojo again in that race.

“I managed to overtake three people on the last two laps and just generally really enjoyed riding my bike. As well this weekend I managed a 1.27.8 which was only 0.7 from pole position, I was hoping for a dry race but chuffed to cross the line in 6th in bad conditions.

“I would like to thank all my sponsors for this season, Zenith Detailing, Maximise my land, Creekside Construction, Elec-Sec, County Clothes, Fabweld Metalworks, Stocks garage, Parker’s Design & Print, Dave Bradbury, Shark helmets, Robinson’s Foundry.”