Congratulations Jan de Groot

January 26, 2006 6:00am

10 years Manager Kawasaki Racing Team

Renowned for his 2 stroke tuning wizardry and recognised for moulding World class riders into World champions, Jan de Groot still continues to push the Kawasaki Factory Motocross team towards the ultimate honour, a World Championship title, and 10 full years after he took up the challenge!

Jan was selected by KHI to take over from Alec Wright who had run the Factory Racing set-up in the UK for many years after starting up the famous Team Green set-up in November of 1978. Alec worked alongside Jan to hand over the team in 1994 before retiring at the end of that year.

Despite finding it hard to let-go Alec admits that Jan was the best man for the job.

“There was no one else really to consider, no one with the best qualities to create Champions which is what Kawasaki needed.  Jan was the best man for the job”

Jan’s success with Kawasaki was immediate! Coming of the back of World Championships with Greg Albertyn in 1992 and 93, the Factory Kawasaki team clinched the prestigious premier class 250cc title with Stefan Everts in 1995 for Kawasaki’s first ever World MX title.  Everts moved onto another team and so with a new challenge and a fresh young 125cc French rider named Sebastian Tortelli the Kawasaki Racing Team continued to blow away the regular GP riders hopes by taking the 1996 World 125cc Championship crown in fine style.

Still a teenager Tortelli needed just one year to settle down in the fiercely contested 250cc class showing inspirational riding in 1998 against the legendary Everts and beating him for the World Championship at the final round before packing his bags and heading off to the United States in search of that exclusive AMA Supercross title.

Jan and Kawasaki would have to wait four more years before the next World title but came so close to glory with the likes of Pit Beirer, Talon Vohland, Chad Reed and Steve Ramon who all finished their classes’ final standings top 3 positions! Then in 2002 it happened again, everything clicked for the team when, with Mickael Maschio moving down to 125cc class and armed with the early 03 machines, the petit Frenchman took on the might of KTM who had 8 other riders in the top 10 that year!...and won, giving Jan and Kawasaki four world Championship titles in just 7 years!

Also celebrating his 60th birthday this year, Jan still loves his job and drives himself and his team of riders and mechanics hard to achieve their goals.

“I enjoyed working with all my riders; they all have special qualities which made them the winners they were!”

And for 2006? Jan’s as confident as ever.

“With both Stephen and Tanel in MX1 we have a real chance to win another World Championship for Kawasaki.  It won’t be easy but we will be ready now with the all new KX450 four stroke machine that Tanel helped develop this season. We have an excellent production bike base to work from and two talented young riders!”


Enduro career:

Dutch Champion Enduro      1965   50 cm³
Dutch Champion Enduro      1970   125 cm³
Dutch Champion Enduro      1971   125 cm³

Business career:

1967-1975:    Own motorcycle/tuning shop
1975-1980:    Technical Coordinator of Dutch Kawasaki Distributor
1980-1984:    Mechanic of Gerrit Wolsink
1984-1993:    Technical coordinator/Manager of Dutch Honda Teams
1994:              Technical coordinator Kawasaki Racing Team
since 1995:    Manager Kawasaki Racing Team

World Championship titles won as MX Team Manager
1992   Greg Albertijn            125 cm³          Honda
1993   Greg Albertijn            250 cm³          Honda
1995   Stefan Everts             250 cm³          Kawasaki
1996   Sebastien Tortelli      125 cm³          Kawasaki
1998   Sebastien Tortelli      250 cm³          Kawasaki
2002   Mickael Maschio       125 cm³          Kawasaki

Podiums of the Kawasaki Racing Team

1994   Stefan Everts             2./250 cm³      Kawasaki
1995   Talon Vohland           3./250 cm³      Kawasaki
1996   Sebastien Tortelli      3./250 cm³      Kawasaki
1996   Talon Vohland           3./250 cm³      Kawasaki
1999   Pit Beirer                    2./250 cm³      Kawasaki
2000   Pit Beirer                    3./250 cm³      Kawasaki
2001   Steve Ramon             2./125 cm³      Kawasaki
2001   Chad Reed                2./250 cm³      Kawasaki