Chris Walker (motorcyclist)

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Chris Walker
Chris Walker - BSB Snetterton 2009.jpg
Chris Walker riding the Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha during the 2009 British Superbikes championship at Snetterton
Nationality English
Born (1972-03-25) 25 March 1972 (age 46)
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, East Midlands
Current team Santander Salt Kawasaki Sidecar
Bike number 9
Website Walker The Stalker

Chris Walker (born 25 March 1972 in Nottingham) is a British motorcycle road racer and former scrambler with the nickname The Stalker. He is a four-time runner-up in the British Superbike Championship, and a former race winner in the Superbike World Championship. For the 2015 season Walker signed for Tommy Hill's Be Wiser Kawasaki Team aboard a Kawasaki ZX-10R in the British Superbike Championship,[1] following his 2014 season with Lloyds British GBmoto squad.[2] Team manager Hill left in August, 2015,[3] and the team folded in September, leaving Walker without a ride for the final two race meetings of the season.[4]

In early 2016, Walker announced he would no longer participate in superbikes, instead switching to the British Sidecar Championship, initially with a two-year contract. With no previous experience, Walker stated he was excited by the future opportunities.[5][6][7]

Like Formula One legend Ayrton Senna, Walker developed Bell's Palsy in 2002 which paralysed part of his face.[8][9] He lists his determination as his best feature, and his love of puddings as his worst. He usually races #9.

Early years and British Superbike Championship 1995–2000[edit]

Walker only started road racing in 1995 after many years as an accomplished motocross rider, but by the end of that year and into 1996 he rose through the ranks with ease and had ridden in Grands Prix and scored points.

In 1997 he challenged for the prestigious British Superbike championship with Yamaha, finishing as runner-up to experienced team-mate Niall Mackenzie. He switched to Kawasaki for 1998, winning in the season’s first race, before it became clear that the Yamahas of Mackenzie and Steve Hislop were the bikes to beat. Injury to Hislop allowed Walker to take 2nd in the series again, a feat he repeated behind Troy BaylissDucati in 1999.

He came agonisingly close to the 2000 title, when an engine failure in his Suzuki took him out of a winning position with just three laps remaining of the final race at Donington Park, leaving Walker in tears and gifting the title to GSE Ducati’s Neil Hodgson. He did however take a second place at Brands Hatch in the World Superbike round that year, the best of his many wild card entries in the UK rounds (and occasionally Assen in the Netherlands) over the years.

500 cc World Championship 2001 and World Superbikes 2002–2006[edit]

Walker made an attempt at the 500 cc World Championship in 2001. He predicted that "For me it's going to be the toughest year ever",[citation needed] which proved accurate, as the factory Shell-sponsored Honda was hard to ride and forced Walker to override, resulting in many huge crashes. In 2002, he moved to the Superbike World Championship, initially with the Fuchs Kawasaki team.

Walker placed 6th in the championship for GSE Ducati in 2003, and 11th for Carl Fogarty's Foggy Petronas team in 2004, respectively teamed with James Toseland and Troy Corser (both of whom won the title the next season, Toseland riding the 2004 Fila Ducati to success and Corser the Alstare Suzuki in 2005).

In 2005, he joined the PSG-1 Kawasaki Corse team, proving to be the most consistent Kawasaki rider in terms of pace and results, securing one podium finish (3rd place, round 6 at Valencia) and finishing 7th place overall.

2006 saw Walker teamed up with Frenchman Régis Laconi and Spain's Fonsi Nieto on a Kawasaki Europe backed ZX-10R for PSG. Walker secured his maiden Superbike World Championship race win on 3 September 2006 in Race 1 at Assen, Netherlands in his 131st race. Starting the race in 13th position, and dropping to 26th position at the first corner following an excursion onto the grass, Walker braved the torrential rain and a high rate of attrition to win in a time of 44 minutes, 23.501 seconds. He came 9th overall in the championship, 19 points ahead of Nieto as the highest Kawasaki.

Despite his finishing position, Walker was subsequently dropped by PSG for the 2007 season, when Kawasaki is expected to support PSG as an official factory team.[10][needs update]

Return to the British Superbike Championship 2007[edit]

Walker at Brands Hatch in 2007.

Walker initially struggled on the Rizla Suzuki in the British Superbike championship, occasionally outpaced by rookie team-mate Cal Crutchlow. When Neil Hodgson tested the bike[11] some speculated that Walker's ride was under threat. The team insisted it wasn't, and at Oulton Park he took third in race one, in tricky conditions which saw many top riders (such as Jonathan Rea, Gregorio Lavilla and Tom Sykes) crash out. This was only his second podium of the season. His points tally for the year was 225, comparing favourably to his team-mate's 152.

World Supersport 2008[edit]

He was not retained for 2008, but raced in the Supersport World Championship for the very first time in and 2008, for the GIL Kawasaki team alongside teammate Katsuaki Fujiwara.[12] However, the bike was not competitive, and he switched to the Paul Bird VK Vent-Axia team in World Superbikes for the final five rounds of the season.[13] He opened with minor points at Brands Hatch, but crashed twice at Donington Park.

British Superbike Championship 2009–2013[edit]

For 2009 he was optimistic of a top British Superbike Championship ride, as all the established good riders are gone.[14] He ultimately joined the Henderson Yamaha team, but struggled for much of the year. He was competitive in race 1 at Mallory Park until chaos and controversy struck. He was running second when Josh Brookes lost control of his bike and catapulted race leader Simon Andrews, dropping oil from Brookes' Honda. Walker was one of five other riders who either crashed or downed their bikes to avoid crashing. The red flag was shown, but these seven riders were excluded from the results, due to an unexpected application of the rules. Brookes received a two-race ban for his mistake.[15]

For 2010 Walker was released by the Motorpoint Henderson Yamaha. It looked like he would not be racing in 2010, but he arranged a deal wirh on a privately run Suzuki tuned by former BSB rider Ray Stringer just a week before the opening round.[16] After 2 races Walker was offered a ride in the MSS Kawasaki team when Simon Andrews was injured in a crash while guesting in World Superbikes. He returned to the Suzuki once Andrews was fit again, but raced for SMT Honda at Snetterton, scoring the team's best 2010 results of two sevenths and an eleventh in the process[17]

During 2011 and 2012 Walker rode for Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki,[18] and for 2013 he rode with Quattro Plant Kawasaki.[19]

British Superbike Championship 2014 and 2015[edit]

After a season with Lloyds British GBmoto on a Kawasaki ZX-10R, for 2015 Walker changed to Be Wiser Kawasaki Team, again riding a ZX-10R, for a team owned by Alan Greig, having Be Wiser Insurance as main sponsor and part-sponsored by Dickies industrial clothing.

As the oldest rider competing in British Superbikes, Walker's extensive experience with superbike machines and Kawasaki makes him ideal as lead-rider to develop the new squad, partnered by Danny Buchan, fresh from his 2014 success as Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Champion.[2]

Former BSB rider and 2012 Champion Tommy Hill was team-manager, making his return to racing after three years' absence developing his graphic design business.[1] Hill left in August, 2015, and the team folded in September, leaving Walker without a ride for the final two race meetings of the season.[3][4]

British Sidecar Championship 2016[edit]

Walker is currently competing in the 2016 British Sidecar Championship with 2012 World Sidecar Champion passenger Ashley Hawes in the chair. With over 6 podium finishes already this year and a 100% race finish record, Chris and Ashley lie a comfortable 4th in the championship with only 4 races remaining.

Personal life[edit]

Chris' father John was the proprietor of John Walker Superbikes, a retail motorcycle dealership in Langley Mill, Nottingham, which also owned Fox's Kawasaki in Mapperley, Nottingham, and Wraggs Motorcycles in Mansfield.[20]

Chris Walker lives in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire,[21][6] and also runs a Kawasaki dealership Chris Walker Kawasaki in Grantham www.chriswalkerkawasaki.com

Career statistics[edit]

Stats correct as of 9 July 2012

By championship[edit]

British Superbike Championship[edit]

Year Bike 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos Pts Ref
R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R3 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R3 R1 R2
2007 Suzuki BHGP
5
BHGP
8
THR
9
THR
Ret
SIL
3
SIL
4
OUL
Ret
OUL
9
SNE
9
SNE
9
MOP
9
MOP
Ret
KNO
5
KNO
6
OUL
3
OUL
8
MAL
4
MAL
6
CRO
8
CRO
10
CAD
8
CAD
6
DON
6
DON
4
BHI
7
BHI
6
7th 225
2009 Yamaha BHI
14
BHI
8
OUL
11
OUL
9
DON
5
DON
3
THR
Ret
THR
Ret
SNE
6
SNE
17
KNO
7
KNO
5
MAL
Ret
MAL
12
BHGP
9
BHGP
Ret
BHGP
12
CAD
11
CAD
6
CRO
Ret
CRO
11
SIL
Ret
SIL
11
OUL
9
OUL
14
OUL
7
9th 141 [22]
2010 Suzuki BHI
9
BHI
Ret
THR
Ret
THR
15
MAL
6
MAL
5
KNO
10
KNO
C
10th 130 [23]
Kawasaki OUL
8
OUL
11
CAD
7
CAD
8
[24]
Honda SNE
11
SNE
7
SNE
7
BHGP
22
BHGP
Ret
BHGP
13
CAD
11
CAD
15
CRO
9
CRO
12
SIL
9
SIL
8
OUL
16
OUL
Ret
OUL
9
[25]
2011 Kawasaki BHI
10
BHI
11
OUL
16
OUL
11
CRO
Ret
CRO
13
THR
8
THR
8
KNO
14
KNO
7
SNE
8
SNE
8
OUL
14
OUL
C
BHGP
5
BHGP
15
BHGP
15
CAD
10
CAD
Ret
CAD
DNS
DON
Ret
DON
9
SIL
17
SIL
Ret
BHGP
12
BHGP
5
BHGP
Ret
12th 105 [26]
2012 Kawasaki BHI
12
BHI
C
THR
NC
THR
15
OUL
7
OUL
1
OUL
9
SNE
7
SNE
7
KNO
Ret
KNO
Ret
OUL
7
OUL
12
OUL
11
BHGP
6
BHGP
DNF
CAD
13
CAD
11
DON
8
DON
10
ASS
15
ASS
14
SIL
10
SIL
8
BHGP
DNF
BHGP
DNF
BHGP
9
9th 138 [27]

Superbike World Championship[edit]

Year Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Pos Pts Ref
R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2 R1 R2
2002 Kawasaki ESP
10
ESP
7
AUS
9
AUS
9
RSA
8
RSA
9
JPN
11
JPN
13
ITA
Ret
ITA
10
GBR
14
GBR
4
GER
DNS
GER
9
SMR
7
SMR
8
USA
11
USA
10
GBR
6
GBR
8
GER
9
GER
15
NED
Ret
NED
7
ITA
11
ITA
12
9th 152 [28]
2003 Ducati ESP
3
ESP
4
AUS
7
AUS
6
JPN
Ret
JPN
Ret
ITA
6
ITA
6
GER
5
GER
3
GBR
9
GBR
8
SMR
5
SMR
8
USA
5
USA
3
GBR
3
GBR
Ret
NED
5
NED
8
ITA
Ret
ITA
5
FRA
3
FRA
3
6th 234 [29]
2004 Petronas ESP
3
ESP
7
AUS
10
AUS
8
SMR
6
SMR
13
ITA
8
ITA
7
GER
Ret
GER
7
GBR
Ret
GBR
12
USA
Ret
USA
Ret
GBR
9
GBR
4
NED
12
NED
10
ITA
Ret
ITA
16
FRA
8
FRA
8
11th 128 [30]
2005 Kawasaki QAT
14
QAT
Ret
AUS
9
AUS
Ret
ESP
4
ESP
3
ITA
8
ITA
8
EUR
6
EUR
6
SMR
8
SMR
11
CZE
4
CZE
10
GBR
5
GBR
4
NED
Ret
NED
DNS
GER
Inj
GER
Inj
ITA
6
ITA
C
FRA
7
FRA
5
7th 160 [31]
2006 QAT
Ret
QAT
16
AUS
10
AUS
10
ESP
23
ESP
7
ITA
11
ITA
9
EUR
6
EUR
8
SMR
Ret
SMR
4
CZE
7
CZE
10
GBR
7
GBR
8
NED
1
NED
14
GER
11
GER
10
ITA
12
ITA
14
FRA
6
FRA
8
9th 158 [32]
2008 Honda QAT QAT AUS AUS EUR EUR ESP ESP NED NED ITA ITA GBR GBR SMR SMR CZE CZE GBR
15
GBR
15
GER
Ret
GER
Ret
ITA
18
ITA
15
FRA
15
FRA
15
POR
17
POR
19
31st 5 [33]

Supersport World Championship[edit]

Year Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pos Pts Ref
2008 Honda QAT
9
AUS
14
SPA
9
NED
12
ITA
Ret
GER
9
SMR
12
CZE
11
GBR EUR ITA FRA POR 16th 36 [34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Motorcycle News, October 2014 Tommy Hill returns to BSB as team boss with Be Wiser Kawasaki Retrieved 14 November 2014
  2. ^ a b Horton, Paul. "Wiser move for Walker" Chad, local newspaper, 13 November 2014 p.111 Accessed 14 November 2014
  3. ^ a b Hill leaves Be Wiser Kawasaki after ‘differing ideas’ Bike Sport News, 25 August 2015, Retrieved 10 October 2015
  4. ^ a b Be Wiser Kawasaki withdraw from BSB Motor Cycle News, 28 August 2015, Retrieved 10 October 2015
  5. ^ Stalker switches to sidecars for 2016! Motorcycle News, 13 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016
  6. ^ a b Chris Walker moves from superbikes to sidecars Newark Advertiser, 21 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016
  7. ^ 'Why I'm moving to sidecars' Bennetts, 4 February 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016
  8. ^ BBC Sport, July 2002 Walker primed for GSE Retrieved 14 November 2014
  9. ^ Famous sufferers of Bells Palsy
  10. ^ http://www.robmacracing.com/team/rider.asp?rider=Chris%20Walker&champ=superbike[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Soup :: Hodgson To Test Suzuki Superbike :: 06-18-2007 Archived 20 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ http://www.kawasaki-racingteam.eu/road-race/gil/ GIL Kawasaki team
  13. ^ Good progress for Chris Walker on debut World Superbike test - | Motorcycle Sport | WSB | BSB | MotoGP | TT & Road races | MCN
  14. ^ Haslam to WSBK with Stiggy Honda? | WSBK News | Sep 2008 | Crash.Net
  15. ^ 'Reckless' Brookes banned for two BSB rounds - News | Motorcycle Sport | BSB Results | MCN
  16. ^ Error Archived 29 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ SMT boss ‘over the moon’ with Walker debut
  18. ^ Walker and Hillier sign for Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki Racing Mirror, November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2014
  19. ^ Dickies Workwear Retrieved 20 November 2014
  20. ^ John Walker Superbikes Limited (dissolved) Open Corporates Retrieved 20 November 2014
  21. ^ Ollerton race ace Chris Walker qualifies for MCE British Superbike Championship Showdown Chad, local newspaper, September 2014, Retrieved 20 November 2014
  22. ^ 2011 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli Archived 9 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Stalker inks 11th-hour deal with private Suzuki | BSB News | Mar 2010 | Crash.Net
  24. ^ Walker to ride MSS Kawasaki at Oulton - News | Motorcycle Sport | BSB Results | MCN
  25. ^ Racers-Republic | Walker replaces Iddon at SMT Honda
  26. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-01-20. 
  27. ^ "Round 7 - Standings" (PDF). MotorSportVision Racing. 8 July 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  28. ^ bebo.com - Profile from Chris Stalker Walker <chrisstalkerwalker>
  29. ^ 2003 Standings Riders - FIM Superbike World Championship - worldsbk.com Archived 24 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ Motorcycle Racing Online - World Superbike championship review 2004
  31. ^ Motorcycle Racing Online - 2005 World Superbike statistical summary
  32. ^ World Superbike Championship, 2006 - MotorSM.com Archived 1 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ Walker signs for Vent Axia Honda - visordown.com
  34. ^ World Supersport: New Kawasaki signing Chris Walker speaks to MCN - | Motorcycle Sport | WSB | BSB | MotoGP | TT & Road races | MCN

External links[edit]