Since contesting the full ASBK for the first time in 2017, Kelvin Reilly’s Kawasaki BCPerformance team has taken the fight right up to the established front-runners in the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), presented by Motul.
This season, the Kawasaki BCPerformance outfit is running two former ASBK Champions, Bryan Staring and Josh Waters. In previous seasons, the team has been home to the likes of Robbie Bugden and Ben Burke.
The UK-born and raised Reilly enjoyed a prosperous motorcycle career in his homeland, highlighted by numerous race victories in the British championship, a three-year stint in the European Superstock Championship and two years in the World Endurance Championship, highlighted by appearances in the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Reilly immigrated to Australia in 2012, bringing his raw passion for bike racing on the journey. When he noticed there was no Kawasaki representation on the ASBK grid, the Kawasaki BCPerformance operation was born.
“I realised there was no Kawasaki team in the Championship, so I decided to have a crack at running a team – I was able to attract some support from Kawasaki” he said.
“To be honest, running a race team in the ASBK is one of the most stressful things I’ve done, because the level of competition is so high. But I’ve 100 per cent enjoyed the experience and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Like any race team owner, Reilly has experienced the ups and downs of motorsport but nominates the 2019 Tailem Bend round, where Bryan Staring won all three races, as a particular highlight.
“Everything was on point that weekend,” he recalled.
“Bryan was riding at his absolute best, the bike was working well, the team was performing brilliantly and the Dunlop tyres were well-suited to the track conditions.”
For this season, Kawasaki BC Performance is campaigning the brand-new Ninja ZX10-RR motorcycles, becoming one of the first teams to race them anywhere in the world. As Reilly explains, this has not been without its challenges.
“We only received the bike just before the season started, and because we’re some of the first people in the world to receive it, there have been challenges around data, information, product supply and testing,” he said.
“However, the overall package is certainly an improvement on what we had last year – the engine power characteristics are much better. We’re just refining it to make it useable in a race environment.”
Triple-champion Waters has joined the team in 2021 and Reilly said he is settling in nicely.
“Josh and Bryan are working well together, they’ve won four Australian titles between them, so there is no question about their ability,” he said.
“It has been a learning process – we’ve had to learn how to set up the bike to suit Josh, and he’s had to adapt his riding style to suit the bike.”
Heading to Hidden Valley, Reilly has lofty goals but paid credit to the main title protagonists.
“We’re aiming for the podium at Hidden Valley, but the likes of Wayne Maxwell and Troy Herfoss have lifted their game,” he said.
“They’re riding the best we’ve seen and their bikes are very good. It will be tough to beat them, but very satisfying when we do.”