Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar is the new name for Webike SRC Kawasaki France, which competed with considerable success in the EWC under Gilles Stafler’s guidance prior to the respected team owner taking the decision to retire at the completion of the 2022 season and put his operation up for sale.
Ryuji Tsuruta recently completed the takeover of Stafler’s SRC team in partnership with the Japanese River Crane (Webike) and Motohouse Co organisations.
With increased backing from Kawasaki Motors Japan, Tsuruta has entered the EWC under the Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar banner but has kept the familiar #11 as well as continuing to count on the services of Randy de Puniet, a member of the SRC rider squad in 2022.
Japan’s Kazuki Watanabe, previously part of the Yoshimura SERT Motul EWC line-up and a rider with recent MotoGP experience, will join de Puniet at Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar along with French rising talent Christophe Ponsson.
Meanwhile, SRC Technical Manager Thomas Baudry transfers over to Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar in the same role and will work closely with Sub-Manager Keisuke Nakayama. Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR will run on Bridgestone tyres.
“As Team Manager, I will lead the team and participate fully in the FIM Endurance World Championship with the mission of winning the title,” said Tsuruta. “After Gilles made the decision to retire, we have received his full support and cooperation and that of his staff, while François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, the EWC promoter, Kawasaki France, Kawasaki Europe, Kawasaki Motors Japan and Webike, have supported us with this project.
“It has been 10 years since Trickstar Racing began challenging in the EWC, at Le Mans in 2013, with the aim of becoming the best in the world. We have grown stronger and I hope we continue to grow and become even stronger. We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to the EWC, Kawasaki, Webike and the other sponsors and related parties for giving us the opportunity to take on this challenge.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, said: “It’s great news indeed that Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar has confirmed its EWC participation to ensure a #11 Kawasaki will still be on the grid in 2023 and, hopefully, beyond. Ryuji Tsuruta and his partners have worked hard and demonstrated great commitment to be in this position. By taking over an established team with highly capable personnel and with great pedigree in the EWC, Team Kawasaki Webike Trickstar is well placed to write the next Kawasaki-powered chapter in the EWC.”