Congratulations Jan de GrootThursday, January 26, 2006 | 6:00 AM
10 years Manager Kawasaki Racing Team
Renowned for his 2 stroke tuning wizardry and recognised for moulding World class riders into World champions, Jan de Groot still continues to push the Kawasaki Factory Motocross team towards the ultimate honour, a World Championship title, and 10 full years after he took up the challenge!
Jan was selected by KHI to take over from Alec Wright who had run the Factory Racing set-up in the UK for many years after starting up the famous Team Green set-up in November of 1978. Alec worked alongside Jan to hand over the team in 1994 before retiring at the end of that year.
Despite finding it hard to let-go Alec admits that Jan was the best man for the job.
“There was no one else really to consider, no one with the best qualities to create Champions which is what Kawasaki needed. Jan was the best man for the job”
Jan’s success with Kawasaki was immediate! Coming of the back of World Championships with Greg Albertyn in 1992 and 93, the Factory Kawasaki team clinched the prestigious premier class 250cc title with Stefan Everts in 1995 for Kawasaki’s first ever World MX title. Everts moved onto another team and so with a new challenge and a fresh young 125cc French rider named Sebastian Tortelli the Kawasaki Racing Team continued to blow away the regular GP riders hopes by taking the 1996 World 125cc Championship crown in fine style.
Still a teenager Tortelli needed just one year to settle down in the fiercely contested 250cc class showing inspirational riding in 1998 against the legendary Everts and beating him for the World Championship at the final round before packing his bags and heading off to the United States in search of that exclusive AMA Supercross title.
Jan and Kawasaki would have to wait four more years before the next World title but came so close to glory with the likes of Pit Beirer, Talon Vohland, Chad Reed and Steve Ramon who all finished their classes’ final standings top 3 positions! Then in 2002 it happened again, everything clicked for the team when, with Mickael Maschio moving down to 125cc class and armed with the early 03 machines, the petit Frenchman took on the might of KTM who had 8 other riders in the top 10 that year!...and won, giving Jan and Kawasaki four world Championship titles in just 7 years!
Also celebrating his 60th birthday this year, Jan still loves his job and drives himself and his team of riders and mechanics hard to achieve their goals.
“I enjoyed working with all my riders; they all have special qualities which made them the winners they were!”
And for 2006? Jan’s as confident as ever.
“With both Stephen and Tanel in MX1 we have a real chance to win another World Championship for Kawasaki. It won’t be easy but we will be ready now with the all new KX450 four stroke machine that Tanel helped develop this season. We have an excellent production bike base to work from and two talented young riders!”
Dutch Champion Enduro 1965 50 cm³
Dutch Champion Enduro 1970 125 cm³
Dutch Champion Enduro 1971 125 cm³
1967-1975: Own motorcycle/tuning shop
1975-1980: Technical Coordinator of Dutch Kawasaki Distributor
1980-1984: Mechanic of Gerrit Wolsink
1984-1993: Technical coordinator/Manager of Dutch Honda Teams
1994: Technical coordinator Kawasaki Racing Team
since 1995: Manager Kawasaki Racing Team
World Championship titles won as MX Team Manager
1992 Greg Albertijn 125 cm³ Honda
1993 Greg Albertijn 250 cm³ Honda
1995 Stefan Everts 250 cm³ Kawasaki
1996 Sebastien Tortelli 125 cm³ Kawasaki
1998 Sebastien Tortelli 250 cm³ Kawasaki
2002 Mickael Maschio 125 cm³ Kawasaki
Podiums of the Kawasaki Racing Team
1994 Stefan Everts 2./250 cm³ Kawasaki
1995 Talon Vohland 3./250 cm³ Kawasaki
1996 Sebastien Tortelli 3./250 cm³ Kawasaki
1996 Talon Vohland 3./250 cm³ Kawasaki
1999 Pit Beirer 2./250 cm³ Kawasaki
2000 Pit Beirer 3./250 cm³ Kawasaki
2001 Steve Ramon 2./125 cm³ Kawasaki
2001 Chad Reed 2./250 cm³ Kawasaki