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
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
“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!”
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