Chris Walker has been revealed as Simon Andrews' substitute at MSS Colchester Kawasaki for the upcoming Oulton Park round of the 2010 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship – in a move that will reunite 'The Stalker' with the manufacturer that has helped to carry him to much of his two-wheeled success.
Though a long-time Kawasaki rider, Walker has been competing this season on a shoestring-budgeted privateer Suzuki GSX-R1000 run by CW Racing, but thus far both pace and results have been elusive, with a best finish to-date of ninth place in the Brands Hatch curtain-raiser leaving the BSB returnee a lowly 17th in the title standings two meetings in as the eagerly-anticipated news of a title sponsor has yet to materialise.
“It's been a lot of fun riding my privateer bike so far this year with the help of Ray Stringer,” the 38-year-old mused, “but with our team sponsors still a week or two away from being announced it's been difficult. I have been offered a fantastic opportunity in joining Nick Morgan at the MSS Colchester Kawasaki team for a round or two while Simon Andrews is out with a broken ankle. It's a ride I had chased hard for in the winter for 2010, so it's great to actually get the chance to ride the ZX-10R.
“I have always had a good relationship with Kawasaki, so I want to go out there and do the best I can – it's a factory that I have enjoyed a lot of success with over the years. I'm really looking forward to the challenge ahead and would like to thank all involved – Ray Stringer, Nick Morgan, Kawasaki and my sponsors for allowing me this chance and making it all possible. Roll on Oulton!”
Indeed, Walker is regarded as a hero by many Kawasaki fans after he swept to two of his four BSB championship runner-up finishes for the Japanese marque in 1998 and 1999 on the ZX-7RR. He cemented that reputation many years later, taking an incredible victory in the wet from stone cold last at Assen in the World Superbike Championship in 2006 for PSG1 Kawasaki.
Andrews was left with a broken heel following an unusual coming-together with Vittorio Iannuzzo during the second WSBK outing in Valencia earlier this month, standing in himself at the time for the injured Chris Vermeulen at Kawasaki SRT [see separate story – click here
]. He was replaced for round two of the 2010 BSB campaign at Thruxton by Howie Mainwaring – but MSS Colchester Kawasaki team boss Nick Morgan is effusive about the prospect of seeing Walker 'back in green' once again.
“We were very close to signing Chris over the winter,” he confessed, “and hopefully he can make the best use of this opportunity. It's good for the team as he offers another perspective on the bike, and we know the bike is in a position where he can concentrate on racing it. It's also great for the fans as he's always been such a popular rider – maybe we'll see some green wigs at Oulton!”
“Chris remains in the hearts of Kawasaki riders even after all this time,” added Michael Johnstone, Kawasaki Motor UK sales and marketing manager. “His British Championship days were fantastic, and the Assen WSBK victory meant a lot both here and back in Japan. We're glad to have him back on Kawasaki machinery in the British Superbike Championship and wish him all the best. We would also like to wish Simon a continued speedy recovery from his injuries.”