The Buildbase Hawk Racing team owned by Stuart Hicken has made a dramatic switch from Kawasaki to BMW – with backing from BMW Motorrad UK.
The team will field three riders on S1000RR machines: John Laverty in BSB, Barry Burrell in BSB Evo and Richard Cooper in National Superstock. Laverty will have a teammate in BSB but the team aren’t yet ready to announce the details
But, rather than the team running factory WSB-spec S1000RRs in BSB, the bikes will be built in-house by Hicken’s staff.
Hicken said: “The S1000RR has a year of racing under its belt and from watching it all season, it seems like it has no bad traits but all good ones. Maybe, being linked to a European-based manufacturer there is also an opportunity to build for the future.”
Hicken’s team has always previously run Kawasaki machines, but he said: “We had a Kawasaki offer but I didn’t think it warranted what we had done for them in 2010.
“We are now a ‘factory’ supported BMW team but we’ll continue to develop our own machines.
"We’ll run Pectell on the superbike (which they used on Laverty’s and Adam Jenkinson’s ZX-10s last year) while the Evo bike will have to run the control electronics package.”
Having such close links to the factory might beg the question why the team isn’t running a full factory bike for Laverty? But even if a bike was available, the costs would be prohibitive and, as Hicken said: “A WSB bike is not always the ideal machine for BSB anyway.”