I first met Kevin (Beaker) early 2023 at the Burt Munroe Challenge.
From the beginning of our convo his passion and immense enthusiasm for motorcycle racing was clear! So infectious and contagious!
Even though he'd crashed and couldn't continue to race that day he was generous with his time and had some great stories to tell!
Enjoy reading about his racing career below...
Ange | DOCNZ Pres
Started racing off-road enduros in the mid-80s, but road racing started 15 years ago.
With a passion for motorcycle racing, it was always on my radar, but it wasn't until I organised Brian Bernard for some training days that I experienced the joys of being on the track. With his guidance and encouragement, I threw myself into it!
As a teenager, being told I was useless and would never amount to anything, I found solace on my motorbike and a sense of belonging with other motorcyclists. The camaraderie is infectious, except for Harley riders!
The challenge to improve your lap times is my favourite part of racing, just like my enduro racing. It's your machine against the track.
The worst part is crashing and the work it creates, as it can be a chaotic season with back-to-back weekends, so time is limited to repair from a crash, not to mention costly and hurtful to the body. Thanks to the Dainese D-air Race suit, I have more protection now!
I'd have to say the Ducati V4 has given me so much since I bought it in 2018. It would have to be the best bike I've ridden. Although, I'm not sure about it as a street bike. Like all Dukes, their suspension is way too hard, but KTECH fixes it!
In the '70s, I was fortunate to know two NZ motocross guys, Terry Meeks and Blair Harrison (Horrie). Their skills were impressive in 1976, and I always wanted to race a dirt bike, which I eventually did before transitioning to road racing.
Since I started racing, I don't ride on the road anymore. However, I do apex every corner in my Merc A35 AMG. I'm not a car guy, but after driving one, it's the only car that puts a smile on my face like my bike does.
Racing is both physical and mental. While racing enduros, my training was crucial to performance, and I still use the same methodology. I'm on the exercise bike three days a week, then weights three days a week, with one day off. I also ride my motocross bike to stay bike fit and have the odd practice day at the track. I've been using self-hypnosis for mental training since 1911, and I find it a handy tool for focusing.
I watched the movie "The Game Changers" three years ago, and now I don't eat meat. Plant protein shakes help with performance and recovery while racing and on pre-race days. I also love my avocados and poached eggs!
My dream bike would be a Suter V4 injected 2-stroke. The last price I saw was €140,000, so it's a bit more than the 50K I have invested in my current bike.
If I had the opportunity for a dream team, it would be:
Troy Bayliss - Crew Chief
Chaz Davies - Rider Coach
Shaky Burn - Team Manager
Mechanics from the BSB Paul Bird Ducati team
When getting familiar with a new track, I walk it first to check out the surface and irregularities. Then, three or four good sessions will get me close to where I need to be. During a race, the braking points may get pushed out as I gauge my level against riders more familiar with the track.
I would have to say that being on the back of Troy Bayliss at Lakeside Raceway was my most memorable experience. To feel what top-level riders do firsthand is incredible. There were two things, full brake or full throttle and NOTHING ELSE!
During a race, it's all on the limit; otherwise, you're not up at the front. I don't compromise my safety for lower positions. If I have to risk it all for 7th or 8th place, then I have to weigh the gain versus the loss.
At my age, I got HERE by being smart, not DUMB, so calculated risk-taking is key!