The internet world is buzzing after Dirt Bike Magazine posted this article speculating that Kawasaki is going to pull the plug on its off-road program after 2012. I had heard rumors that Kawasaki would be cutting back and not participating in the WORCS in 2013, which in itself was bad as it wouldn’t allow Taylor Robert the chance to defend his title for them. But, ending the program is a whole different story with a lot of ramifications across the industry. We don’t know all of the details, but judging by some stuff I’ve seen from people close to the matter on Facebook and Twitter we’ll be getting a press release sometime soon (unless they go the route of Suzuki and never actually make an official release) about the end of the team.
Dirt Bike places the blame of the team not coming back squarely on the shoulders of Ryan Villopoto and his massive new contract. I doubt we’ll ever know the whole truth behind this, but I think that excuse is too convenient.
Regardless of the reason(s) Kawasaki has decided to pull out, there will be a lot of things shaken up because of this. Here are a few things that come to mind:
- Four riders (Taylor Robert, Justin Soule, Bobby Garrison, and Destry Abbott) will be out of work and thrown into the already large pool of off-road riders looking for rides in 2013.
- I can’t say for sure, but there’s got to be quite a few mechanics and team personnel that will be collateral damage in this and will need to find jobs.
- With no factory supported teams in its pro class, this could very well be the nail in the WORCS coffin. I know they’re making format changes for 2013 but what kind of World championship racing series has no factory support?