‘I feel very privileged that the Royal Automobile Club considers me worthy of it,’ said 28 year-old Tom. ‘It’s taken a long time, and a lot of hard work, and it’s an honour to be recognised by such well respected industry figures. I am very proud.’
In 2013 Tom Sykes was crowned the fifteenth World Superbike Champion, the fourth from Great Britain and only the second rider to win for Kawasaki in the series for twenty years‘The Torrens Trophy is awarded to an individual or organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of safe and skilful motor cycling in Britain,’
said Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club’s Motoring Committee. ‘It is only awarded when we think justified, and Tom’s is an outstanding achievement.’
As World Champion, Tom Sykes follows in the footsteps of other great British riders Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson and James Toseland, who himself won the award in 2008. ‘Tom had a tough time in the 2012 season, losing the World Superbike title by just half a point,’
commented Toseland; ‘But after the winter break he came back more motivated and more determined in 2013. I watched the race at Magny Cours and was really impressed by how focused and consistent he was in such terrible conditions. It’s a great achievement to win the Torrens Trophy and be recognised by such an established and respected organisation as the Royal Automobile Club.’
Four-time World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty also had kind words for Tom; ‘Congratulations and good on you mate, well deserved. I’m really pleased for you – especially when you came so close before. It’s a great achievement and I am sure you will win again this season. When you notch up another 58 race wins, and a few more World Superbike Championships, please can you call it a day and walk away! Only joking, I am a big fan, well deserved.’
The Torrens Trophy
The award was initiated by Arthur Bourne, a motor cycling journalist who wrote a column under the name Torrens. Bourne later became a vice-chairman of the RAC.
Background on Tom’s Career History:
Huddersfield-born Sykes rode in the British Supersport Championship from 2003 to 2006, before moving to British Superbikes in 2007.
The turning point in his career came in 2008 when he moved to the Rizla Suzuki team. He took three wins and a further eight podiums for Suzuki and, in a run of ten races towards the end of the season, he finished eight times on the podium.
When the team entered him for wildcard races at the Brands Hatch and Donington Park rounds of the World series, Sykes astonished everyone with his pace – taking a stunning second place in the first race at Donington.
His 2008 performance earned him a ride with Yamaha Motor Italia in 2009; alongside triple AMA champion, Ben Spies. Tom stayed with World Superbikes for 2010, switching to the factory Kawasaki Team.
Kawasaki signed him again for 2011 and 2012; the team switching hands from Paul Bird to the Spanish Provec outfit with increased an involvement from Japan.
Sykes took fourth and third at the season opener in Australia followed by two second places in Imola. The Yorkshireman took his first win of the 2012 season at Monza and, after taking three victories and a further seven podiums (not forgetting a sensational eight pole positions) Sykes was well within chance of taking the championship. But at the final round at Magny Cours he was denied the Championship by just half a point.
Sykes and Kawasaki came back with a vengeance in 2013, and his determination finally saw him crowned champion. Sykes took a total of nine wins in the 2013 season and finished on the podium in seventeen of the twenty six races.
Sykes’ story is one of perseverance and loyalty, from rider, team and manufacturer. Kawasaki saw something special in Tom Sykes and it’s clear the feeling is mutual. For 2014, Sykes will return for a fifth year with the Japanese manufacturer!
All Images - Copyright LGM Photographic
See more news plus add your own comments, on the Kawasaki News UK
Follow Kawasaki and your favourite riders on Twitter @Kawasaki-news