Slide It Like Sykes
By Sean Alexander, Verticalscope Powersports Editorial Director
Easily my personal highlight from 2013 was discovering, beyond all expectations, that Kawasaki World Superbike Rider Tom Sykes is a true hooligan who thinks and acts just like every great MOron I’ve ever known. He curses like a sailor, and will race/compete with any and everyone around him in or on anything available. This realization was solidified when Sykes joined the Kawasaki PR team last September for a fun day of ATV slick-track racing at (not-so) glamorous El Cajon Speedway in Southern California.
That event was an attempt to find something fun and entertaining to occupy the time of the media guests at the Kawasaki Dealer Meeting, prior to the closing night’s festivities. Kawasaki’s PR team originally planned on racing KLX110 minibikes on a rinky-dink track lubed with vegetable oil, but the surface was so slippery that there would be zero notice before the bikes lost traction and slammed a rider into the pavement. Wisely, Kawasaki made the decision to switch the event to mini ATVs.
Though not originally designed for it, the Kawasaki KFX90 ATV may in fact be the perfect vehicle for maximum fun on a slick-track. Call me a weirdo if you’d like, but I guarantee you it’s absolutely the most fun you could possibly have on a tiny paved track that’s been coated with a hundred gallons of vegetable oil!
And then Sykes showed-up! We had worked with Sykes at prior events, so we knew he was a great guy, but we’d never had a chance to actually bench-race and ride with him. Sykes hit the track like a tornado… the bragging, cussing, taunting and lying were matched only by Tom’s enthusiasm and the balls-to-the-wall manner in which he attacked the track.
With only four ATVs and over 30 participants, we were forced to divide the editors and staff into multiple heats and semis, a WSBK-style Superpole session and two mains. At the end of the day, Sykes was won his heat races, took the Superpole and won the gold in his main. I won the other main.
Want to have fun? Ride a mini ATV on a slick track. Want to have more fun? Invite Sykes.