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Kawasaki has dramatically scaled-back its Team Green road racing program for 2001 and will eliminate the program entirely for 2002. Kawasaki supported 13 riders in 2000 and has offered to help five riders or teams in 2001.
"We don't have free bikes, we have discounted bikes below dealer cost and a small parts allowance, and sell additional parts at below dealer cost," said Malcolm Wood, Team Green Road Racing Coordinator on December 19. "The program is designed to help people who are gonna be there anyway."
Wood said he has offered 2001 support to Zlock Racing in Formula USA with riders Ty Howard and Michael Barnes; Ty Howard in CMRA events; CMRA Endurance Champions Team Green with riders Don Hawkins, Dalton Hamilton, Greg Abbott and Ty Howard; WERA endurance team Leaning Lizards with riders Tracy Shidler and Brian Healea; and Eric Wood.
But Malcolm Wood said that he had to break the bad news to the rest of his 2000 support riders that there would be no support in December, six months after preliminary discussions between Wood and his support riders started for the 2001 season started.
"It was a late change from talking to my guys in June, then having to let them down," Wood said. "The second week in December I have to call 'em back and tell them the bad news and it broke my heart. My heart goes out to those guys. It told all these guys, the ones we will have something for, it's really not much. There's guys like Eric (Wood), who has been so loyal, passed up countless offers to remain loyal to the brand. And that's what we're trying to do, build brand loyalty. We're just trying to sell motorcycles." Malcolm Wood said that Eric Wood was considering alternative offers from Suzuki and Ducati.
Malcolm Wood's job at Kawasaki is being dissolved; Wood had the job for one year, and previously worked at a dealership in Oklahoma while working part time with Kawasaki as a demo ride escort. "I'm searching. I got two weeks," Wood said December 19.
"I don't hold any animosity toward anybody. Companies have to make tough decision with their budgets and things that they have to do. They were charged with cutting the budget and this is where they decided to cut it. There will be no official representation in 2002."
Malcolm Wood said that Kawasaki's Team Green motocross and off-road support programs have not been cut and will continue.