Motocross

Swordy stays put!

Swordy stays put!

STEPHEN SWORD – Britain’s hottest hope for a motocross world crown – has signed on the line to stay with Jan De Groot’s factory Kawasaki team until the end of 2006.
The two-year deal should see Swordy stay in the MX2 class for ’05 STEPHEN SWORD – Britain’s hottest hope for a motocross world crown – has signed on the line to stay with Jan De Groot’s factory Kawasaki team until the end of 2006.
The two-year deal should see Swordy stay in the MX2 class for ’05 before moving up to the premier MX1 division the following season on Kawasaki’s eagerly-awaited KX450F four-stroke.
And, if the GP rumour mill is correct, he will be teaming up with seven-time world champ Stefan Everts who’s been tipped to return to the Kawasaki camp.
Stephen is delighted with the deal. "Jan wanted to sign me up quickly and I wanted the same," he says. "It was just a case of sorting out a few details and they came up a good deal straightaway. It means I can get my head down and concentrate on my riding and winning a world title. If I can improve as much next year as I have this season then it’s looking good."
After leading the title chase during the early stages, Swordy’s suffered a series of setbacks that have seen him slip to third in the MX2 standings – most recently a bike seizure in Italy that resulted in a huge crash.
"Sure, we’ve had a few problems," admits Stephen, "but nothing bad enough to make me change my mind. Kawasaki are happy with me and I’m happy with Kawasaki and this year’s world championship isn’t over just yet – although I know it’s going to be hard to win it now.
"The two-year deal gives me an option to move up to MX1 in 2006 – it’s what I want to do if next year goes to plan and I win a world title. And the 450 will have had the benefit of a year in GPs so it will be an even better bike by 2006."
So what about the link to Everts? "I’ve heard the rumours about Stefan signing for Kawasaki but I don’t know how true they are," he adds. "Whether it’s Stefan or not, Jan wants someone who can win races and Stefan certainly can. It would definitely be good for me working closely with someone like Stefan."