Ollerton’s MCE British Superbike Championship rider Chris Walker is looking forward to his first race of the 2015 season this Easter weekend at Donington Park with his new outfit, the Be Wiser Kawasaki Team, headed up by 2011 BSB champion Tommy Hill.
At the BSB Official Test Day at Donington Park last Thursday, the elements took their toll and threw at the riders a mixture of rain and sleet in the morning followed by an afternoon of sunshine but very cold winds.
After missing the morning session due to the weather and a wet track, Walker also missed session due to bike technical issues with fuelling and electrics.
He finally got out during test session three to get in some all important laps and finished 29th overall, completing only 13 laps with his fastest time on lap 11 of 1:34:309 and a speed of 94.94mph.
The oldest rider on the grid and veteran of over 280 BSB races, 21 wins, 11 pole positions, and his most recent win at Oulton Park in 2012, Walker is aiming to make a top six ‘Showdown’ place in 2015, after a successful 2014, where he finished sixth overall.
Walker is positive he can challenge aboard the Kawasaki ZX-10R, bikes that he has been familiar with during his Superbike career.
Nicknamed ‘The Stalker’, Walker started his career as a local motocross rider at the age of 13, moving to road racing in 1994. By the end of that year and into 1996 he rose through the ranks with ease and had ridden in Motorbike Grand Prix and scored points.
Chris described the year 2000 as his heyday, but then lost out in the British Superbike Championship when an engine failure in his Suzuki took him out of a winning position with just three laps remaining of the final race at Donington Park, leaving Walker in tears and gifting the title to GSE Ducati’s Neil Hodgson.
Between 2001 and 2006 Walker went into the 500cc World Championship and World Superbikes with his best result, his maiden Superbike World Championship race win in 2006 at Assen, Netherlands.
He moved back to British Superbikes in 2007, where he is firmly established.
Team mate to Walker this season is highly talented 21-year-old Danny Buchan, who has also had a long relationship with Kawasaki and last year took his first Championship title for them, winning the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship with 11 podiums, including eight wins.
Buchan has had many successes in his short road-racing career and is now ready to move back into the British Superbike Championship to undertake this new challenge.
Buchan finished the test at Donington in second position below 2014 Champion Shane Byrne, showing both Walker and Buchan and their bikes are worthy of some good results during 2015 and the Be Wiser Kawasaki Team, definitely a team to watch during 2014.
Walker said: “This is a very important test for us. You don’t know what you are going to achieve.
“We have definitely had better test days that’s for sure - four seconds slower than I managed last year literally with the weather this morning and then the afternoon session with fuelling and electronics gremlins.
“We only managed to to do five flying laps I think, but didn’t do a too bad job. The bike in essence has got all the right ingredients, we have just to get the recipe right.
“Buchan was second on the time sheet, so it shows what the bike is capable of when running right and gave me some heart from not having one of the easiest of days. But will be a different world when racing.
On Donington this weekend, he added: “It’s one of my favourites, it really is.
“I’m desperate to a good job here and would sooner have had the dramas today than next weekend.
“Fingers crossed we will get it all sorted out during the week and the bike will arrive here on Friday ready to go.”
As well as his British Superbike Championship challenge, Chris is also well known for his Chris Walker Race School, based at Mallory Park circuit in Leicestershire.
Of his local fans, he added: “I have been very lucky to have support over the years from the local BSB fans and been lucky to have come from a great stock like John Reynolds, who is a local guy.
“Also, we’ve had a few legends along the way, Steve Spray before John Reynolds, so it’s nice to be in that bunch, it really is, and thanks again for the support over the years. It’s what’s kept me in a job for so long and I’ve had such a following, it’s great.”
There are 12 rounds to the British Superbike Championship and it all starts this Easter weekend at Donington Park Circuit with another local round at Cadwell Park on 21st-23rd August.