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Dec 18, 2013

Tom Sykes: The Post-Season Life Of A Superbike World Champion

2013 FIM Superbike World Champion Tom Sykes after winning his title at Jerez.
Sykes Hard On The Gas After Winning Title

After Tom Sykes and the Kawasaki Racing Team had won the World Championship on October 20th you may think that all the hard work had been done. Not a bit of it, as things were only getting started…

Ultimate success is the aim of all who get involved in major motorsports championships and in 2013 Tom Sykes won his first ever World Championship crown, while Kawasaki won their first World Superbike Rider’s Title for 20 years. A great job well done, an honour shared by all involved.

An indication of the extra work and global focus that arrives when championship success brings extra attention can be seen even if we only look at what happened immediately after Sykes took his title.

It went like this…

Sunday 20th October – Circuito de Jerez, Spain

12:45 World champion after race one!
13:00 Podium ceremony
13:10 Official Dorna TV interview
13:20 Paddock show interview in front of the fans
13:30 Journalist interviews
13:45 Pirelli ‘art painted tyre’ presentation to new champion
14:15 Meeting with team to prepare for second Jerez race
14:30 Motor home to relax for second race
15:00 Ready to rock on track again
15:30 Race 2 starts
16:15 Fireworks & podium ceremony
16:30 TV and paddock show interviews
16:45 Journalist interviews
17:15 Official category winner
17:45 Team picture
17:55 Changes out of leathers
18:00 Official press conference then back to the pit box and some time to relax
20:30 Official FIM prize giving ceremony
21:40 Team Dinner with the Kawasaki family – team, friends and family comprising 82 people in all.
23:30 After-Dinner speeches from Tom, Kawasaki representatives and team members.
00:30 Bedtime in the motor home - no party for Tom as his wife Amie is expecting a baby in a few weeks.
Monday 21st October
10:00 Wake Up
10:30 Team shows him a very busy interview/photo shoot/testing programme
11:00 Short time to relax and prepare
12:15 Meets 14 journalists who have been testing his bike at Jerez
12:30 Interviews for official Kawasaki website story
12:45 TV Interview For KME and KMC
13:00 Lunch
13:20 Changed into leathers again
13:30 Photo session with journalists
13:40 Italian TV interview
13:50 Roadbike Ninja 300 and Ninja ZX-10R track test and pictures.
15:30 Relax
16:00 First official KRT winter test of the 2014 Ninja ZX-10R, already with new parts to try out for the next season!
18:00 Finish testing
19:00 Farewell the team
20:00 Home to UK

This was only the start of his winter testing and PR activities, which this year have become all the more frequent and intense because he is the world champion - and halfway through it all he become a father for the first time as well…

A few days after leaving the final round of the year Sykes was back at Jerez testing, between 30 and 31 October. He did not quite get to test on track at Motorland Aragon in mid-November, as this was when his daughter was born.

On the 5th and 6th of November Tom was the star of the EICMA Motorshow in Milan and played a part in the Kawasaki World Conference press event. On home soil, Sykes attended the NEC show in Birmingham on 23rd November in association with Kawasaki UK - and then went back again on 29th November to join the Kawasaki Club Riders Club at their popular event.

He returned to Jerez for a three-day test between 25 and 27 November (shortly before the off-season test ban started on December 1) to take the fastest lap of all and reconfirm 2014 plans for bike development.

He left from there to go to Monaco for the annual FIM Gala, to collect his world championship medal and certificate from the FIM President. More recently he collected the prestigious Caschi D’Oro (golden helmet) award from Motosprint Magazine in Italy, on 5th December, before visiting the Kawasaki factory in Japan shortly afterwards. During his Japanese trip he met the President of the motorcycle division as well as other Kawasaki staff, including the team behind the Ninja ZX-10R roadbike.

A busy schedule all round, you have to agree, with Sykes simultaneously looking forward to some time off from his travels, but he also knows exactly why he has been so busy. Success.

Having narrowly missed out on the championship in 2012, Sykes was happy to have so many things to do in the winter of 2013, after achieving his lifetime’s ambition of becoming SBK champion. “I am very fortune to be the world champion and it is such a fantastic feeling,” said Sykes at the end of his dazzlingly successful year. “I got some stats the other day about how we did this year and it makes you feel even more proud of everybody’s achievement. With the title comes responsibility; appearances, press activities and so on. Kawasaki won the riders’ title for the first time in 20 years so I have been running around quite a bit! In among all that came the birth of our daughter. So you could say that it has been a very busy time. I am making the most of it because last year I lost by half a point, so I would much rather do all the press days that come with winning the championship this year.”

On track, Tom and Kawasaki will get back to business as soon as the testing ban is lifted in mid January, with two European tests scheduled before the 2014 season starts in Australia, on 23 February.