As leadened skies made way to a drying wind and then sunshine, the day began for an impressive early contingent of KRC members with a hearty breakfast of bacon or sausage baps and copious cups of tea and coffee. With exclusive use of a huge carpeted and fully serviced marquee – plus a section of the famous Redgate corner as an exclusive viewing area – KRC members were anticipating good things from all Kawasaki riders and especially the KRT trio of Sykes, Bas and Salom as well as 600 Supersport rider, Sofuoglu.
“It’s something we have done for a few years now”, commented Eleanor Berry, Kawasaki’s full-time KRC coordinator. “Our inaugural event at Silverstone was a huge success so we naturally thought that Donington would be another great venue, especially as Tom Sykes is reigning Superbike Champion.”
Featuring an all-day quiz, interviews with Danny Buchan and Chris Walker in the morning and the prospect of some close racing action, the first Superbike race could not come soon enough for the near 400 members who relaxed in the marquee. The Kawasaki riders did not disappoint despite lower than expected grid places due to a rain affected qualification.
No matter that they were sixth and seventh on the grid, Baz and Sykes both made good starts with the Frenchman very much in contention immediately and Sykes taking a measured approach just behind the leading pack. As Baz kept station, Sykes improved each lap much to the delight of flag waving and cheering KRC members. A first and second place at race end with Salom as leading EVO rider was the perfect entrée into a generous buffet lunch and whetted the appetites of KRC members for more success later in the day.
“With Luke Wilkins from the Bike Channel hosting the day there was always something going on”, commented Eleanor. “With plenty of space to relax and no pressure for track side viewing apace the atmosphere was brilliant. We soon got over the disappointment of seeing Kenan lose ground in the Supersport race and set our sights on the second Superbike encounter of the day.
To be in an exclusive area among KRC members that are so passionate is a real privilege. On top of that the race was just so exciting. Loris was again strong to start with and Tom was in contention right from the get go. To have another first and second seemed like we had secretly planned it for our KRC guests… as if we would do that!”
Making the day as lime green as it was possible to do, there was one final treat for KRC members who stayed until after the final race celebrations had receded. Loris Baz and David Salom both made their way through the under track tunnel and made their way to the KRC hospitality to be interviewed and sign autographs.
“The reception was fantastic”, comments Kawasaki Marketing Manager, Mark Spiller. “It was so pleasing to see a standing ovation for our riders and for their every word to be savoured by dedicated Kawasaki fans.
As if that were not enough, a few minutes later Tom Sykes arrived and the reception was tumultuous. He is such a great ambassador for our brand and his interview with Luke was a real crowd pleaser. It’s testament to his good nature that Tom stayed until the very last autograph was signed and final “selfie” taken before making his way back to the team”.
The 2014 KRC members event ended with Tom Sykes heading the championship, Loris on the same points as second place man, Jonathan Rea and David Salom heading up the EVO class. Added to that the weather stayed dry for racing which is always a bonus as Eleanor concludes.
“It was a long and exhausting day, but so rewarding. Our competition prize winners won Chris Walker Race School Days, a Mick Extance Day for two, VIP BSB Tickets & KMUK clothing signed by Tom Sykes. The food and drinks were plentiful and the bespoke viewing area a real bonus. Overall though, my memories of the day will be the infectious enthusiasm of the KRC members. We created the KRC concept but it is the members that have transformed this into the best manufacturer one-make club in the UK”.