Since its creation, Hawk Racing has been one of the most competitive and professional teams in the paddock in both track and road races.
Stuart has enjoyed a long and fruitful association with the sport since he started racing motorcycles in the late 1960’s. During his successful 12 year racing career, including several appearances at the Isle of Man TT, Stuart gained as much pleasure from preparing his bikes as he did from riding them.
After retiring from racing, his mechanical and technical skills were in great demand, especially in Grand Prix where he managed the White Power Suspension support truck for almost a decade. Stuart’s technical and managerial expertise gained at motorcycle racing’s highest level, led him to manage and achieve success with several high-profile national and international championship teams, such as Medd Racing and Rêve Racing.
Hawk Racing is a family run team, with Stuart’s son Steve now leading the way, however Stuart is always present to pass on his expertise and logic. Together, they have a keen eye for young, up and coming riders that they can develop into potential championship winners, striving for podiums and success.
Today, the team competes in the British Superbike Championship and major international road races including the Northwest 200 and the Isle of Man TT.
The team began in 1999 on a Kawasaki ZX7RR with Phil Giles riding in the British Superbike series with the team achieving a fantastic second place in the privateer’s cup for the season.
In 2000, the team remained on the Kawasaki ZX7RR, however changed the rider to Gordon Blackley to compete in the British Superbike series. The team also ventured for the first time in the world-renowned Isle of Man TT with Blackley, taking 9th place in the Senior TT aboard a Kawasaki ZX9.
2001 saw Hawk Racing increase from a one rider team to a two-rider team, with Mark Burr being signed alongside Gordon Blackly. For this season, the team only competed in the British Superbike Series, continuing with the Kawasaki ZX7RR.
The race season of 2002 began with a huge accomplishment when Hawk Racing became a manufacturers team, making them the official Kawasaki entrant for the British Superbike series. A slight change in rider line up meant that Mark Burr was joined by Glen Richards with Richards finishing a fantastic 7th in the championship, the best finish the team had achieved in the series so far.
Fresh from a great end to the season, 2003 saw the team expand further to a three rider Superbike team. Accompanying Glen Richards for this season on the Kawasaki ZX7RR was Scott Smart and Lee Jackson. The team had another successful year in the championship with a 4th place for Richards, a 10th place for Smart, and a 14th place for Jackson where he finished all the races except Donington where his exhaust valve broke.
2004 saw the team embark on the challenge of a newly developed Kawasaki, the new ZX10-R. The bike provided one of the best packages in the championship despite a lack of technical support from the manufacturer.
The team went back to having two riders for the British Superbike series with Scott Smart and Glen Richards continuing. However, Richards was injured at Thruxton and replaced with John McGuinness, who gained his first podium finish at Brands Hatch. McGuinness also competed with Hawk Racing at the Ulster Grand Prix finishing second in a photo finish. Smart finished 4th in the superbike series, winning four races out of the season, the first ever ZX10-R win in the world!
In addition to this, the team debuted in the National Superstock cup series, entering with a young and enthusiastic Peter Hickman who won the championship.
In 2005, the team only competed in the British Superbike series with Glen Richards returning from injury and new Australian rider Dean Thomas, finishing 5th and 6th respectively. This season saw Thomas finish every single superbike race.
2006 was a busy year for the team. It saw the new model ZX10 come into play, gaining the nickname ‘the dreaded wheelbarrow’, with the team signing two Australian riders, Dean Thomas and Craig Coxhell. The British Superbike series was a struggle this season as Coxhell broke his collarbone challenging for a podium place, and Thomas finished 12th in the championship. Peter Hickman re-joined the team this season, making his debut Superbike ride on the 2005 specification ZX10. The team were more successful on the roads this year, winning Scarborough’s Cock of the North with Ian Hutchinson on the new model ZX10, and Carl Rennie being the Isle of Man TT entry, finishing 6th after a hair-raising race.
The team scaled things back in 2007 by not participating in any road races and only contending in the British Superbike series on the ZX10. Scott Smart returned to the team and Peter Hickman remained from the previous year. Unfortunately, this season was one of trials and tribulations resulting in Peter Hickman leaving the team halfway through. The team signed James Hayden who finished as the top Kawasaki on his debut race for the team.
The 2008 season bought the new Kawasaki ZX10 but it was a difficult year for the team with Scott Smart being their only British Superbike contender in the series. The team did chance the Superstock 600 Championship debuting Luke Stapleford who finished a fantastic 8th in his first ever Championship.
The comeback year for the team was 2009 where title sponsor Buildbase came on board, with the team becoming known as Buildbase rather than Hawk Racing. The team continued with their British Superbike series contention on the Kawasaki, with John Laverty and Tristan Palmer signed to ride the Superbikes, backed up with Luke Stapleford in the Superstock 600 class and James Hiller in the Superstock 1000 class. The team returned to road racing once again with Hillier at the Isle of Man TT, rounding off with a 100% finishing record and a superb 9th place in Senior TT.
2010 saw the team concentrate on the British Superbike series, partnering John Laverty with Adam Jenkinson for the superbike season, with Barry Burrell and Lee Jackson contesting the National Superstock 1000cc series. Burrell wildcarded in the European Superstock 1000 championship at Silverstone where he showed his potential by battling for a podium finish, finishing in a positive 7th position.
In 2011, Hawk Racing secured the title as BMW Motorrads Official British Superbike and Superstock team as Buildbase BMW, riding the BMW S1000RR in the series which for this year ran two Superbike classes as the EVO class was introduced. Barry Burrell stepped up from the superstock class into the new superbike EVO class, with John Laverty and Ian Lowry participating in the superbike class. Laverty had a significant crash at Oulton Park resulting in him being ruled out for the rest of the season, however Richard Cooper rode in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, leading the team to victory by winning the championship in the debut BMW season.
The team showed strong progress throughout the 2012 season on the BMW S1000RR with Steve Brogan and Howie Mainwairing-Smart competing in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, earning successful podiums throughout the season. Dan Linfoot and Barry Burrell rode the superbikes for the series with Peter Hickman returning to the team part way through the season, replacing Linfoot who had the opportunity to ride in the Moto2 World Championship.
The 2013 season saw two new riders on the superbikes for the British Superbike series, with the team-mates going head-to-head at Donington Park for a final showdown position, scoring BMW their first pole position. Jon Kirkham and James Westmoreland battled it out however ‘Westy’ sealed the position on result countback as the points were equal. This season saw 17-year-old Lee Jackson debut in the National Superstock 1000 championship finishing the season in 4th place.
2014 saw Hawk Racing’s most successful season to date, all whilst riding the BMW S1000RR. The team had a remarkable season in the British Superbike series and made a return to road racing. James Westmoreland and Ryuichi Kiyonari rode the superbikes in the series, with Kiyonari winning seven British Superbike races, leading the championship up until the last round where he crashed out in Friday morning practice, breaking his collarbone resulting in a second place in the championship. Lee Jackson continued his development in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, taking his first ever superstock 1000 win at Thruxton.
The roads campaign was also a great success with Michael Dunlop on board the Hawk Racing BMW S1000RR with a win and a second position at the NorthWest 200, but the highlight of the roads was winning the Isle of Man TT Superbike and the Senior TT, setting race records in both races.
In 2015, Lee Jackson moved into Superbikes alongside Ryuichi Kiyonari, with Jackson having a successful debut year of several top ten results. Kiyonari crashed out at Oulton making way for Richard Cooper to join the superbike line up late in the race calendar. Michael Dunlop made a sensational return to the team mid-way through practice week at the Isle of Man TT races, going on to secure the second fastest lap of the mountain circuit of 132.515mph on BMW machinery.
2016 saw the team move to its new home at Mallory Park Circuit. The line-up for competing at the British Superbike series remained the same as last years with Richard Cooper alongside Lee Jackson to form the Buildbase BMW Motorrad team, with Cooper taking a win at Oulton Park. Taylor Mackenzie headed-up a title challenge in the National Superstock 1000 class winning six out of the eleven races. The success continued in the road campaign with Michael Dunlop leading the way. Onboard the BMW S1000RR, he won the Isle of Man Superbike and Senior TT, setting the fastest lap in history. He embarked on the NorthWest 200 Superbike race, setting another lap record to reach the chequered flag and win it. The team entered the Southern 100 for the first time, winning all four superbike events with Dunlop.
In 2017, Hawk Racing switched manufacturer to Suzuki, making their assault on the British Superbike series as the Official Suzuki team with the all new GSXR1000R and took on the mammoth task of running two superbike teams: Buildbase Suzuki and Bennetts Suzuki. With lots to learn, the team enlisted the former world champion Sylvain Guintoli to ride for Bennetts Suzuki, with Taylor MacKenzie stepping up a class to join him. Sadly, MacKenzie’s season was blighted with injuries, however Guintoli took a well-deserved win at Assen. Richard Cooper set out on his National Superstock 1000 challenge on the Bennetts Suzuki but missed out on winning the championship by 10 points. Bradley Ray debuted to take the helm of the Buildbase Suzuki superbike, gaining a podium at Oulton Park showing his future potential. The road campaign was not as successful this year with a retirement from the Isle of Man TT Superbike race with Michael Dunlop, yet the team bounced back winning the Senior TT.
Starting the 2018 season in style, the team ran as Buildbase Suzuki with Bradley Ray alongside Richard Cooper on the superbike, with Ray securing a double win at Donington Park and making the showdown in the British Superbike series. Cooper won the final race of the season meaning the team won the first and last races of the series calendar. Billy McConnell was taken on to ride in the Superstock 1000 Championship, narrowly missing winning the championship by a few points after crashing out in the last race. There was no roads campaign by the team for this year.
Continuing as Buildbase Suzuki, 2019 saw more success for the team as Richard Cooper secured the title in the National Superstock 1000 Championship of the British Superbike series. Luke Stapleford joined the superbike line up with Bradley Ray, who continued his quest to become superbike champion. The team returned to the Isle of Man TT this year taking Jay Lawrence, a New Zealand newcomer, who finished his first ever season by being crowned fastest newcomer.
2020 was the season of unknown as COVID struck the world. With all road races cancelled this year, the British Superbike series managed to have a short, jam-packed season, albeit with minimal crowd attendance. The official line-up for superbike was with Kyle Ryde and Keith Farmer, whilst Tim Neave and Leon Jeacock flew the Buildbase livery in the National Superstock 1000 Championship, with a few guest appearances from Michael Dunlop.
An injury for Keith Farmer early on meant he was unable to continue with most of the season, resulting in Gino Rea being called in to replace him who adapted well to the new bike and team environment, securing a best place finish of 4th at Donington Park. Round 3 of the season at Silverstone will be looked back on as one of the best racing weekends in the teams history, with Kyle Ryde securing a double win, narrowly missing out on a third, whilst Tim Neave took his first Superstock 1000 race victory.
For 2021, Gino Rea remained with the team for the British Superbike series with the former Moto3 World Champion, Danny Kent riding with him, whilst Tim Neave continued his battle to win in the National Superstock 1000 Championship. Rea took two magnificent wins at Donington Park, his first ever in British Superbike with Kent achieving his maiden British Superbike podium at Thruxton before a nasty injury at Donington Park ruled him out for the remainder of the season. The team welcomed Michael Dunlop, Naomichi Uramoto and Leon Jeacock as replacement riders for the remainder of the Superbike season. Luke Stapleford made a guest appearance at Thruxton for the team in the National Superstock 1000 races, taking a brace of 2nd places, setting a new lap record in the process. The racing industry was still heavily impacted by COVID during this season therefore there were no road races once again.
With racing finally back to a full season and COVID restrictions lifted, the team set a busy schedule for 2022 in the British Superbike series and roads campaign. Danny Kent returned from his lengthy injury, gradually building himself to full fitness throughout the season and Christian Iddon joined the team with high expectations having won several races during the 2021 season. Sadly, after a positive start, a crash on the warmup lap at Knockhill scuppered Iddons showdown chances. With a season of highs and lows Iddon never gave up, just lacked the luck he deserved for the effort given. A young and enthusiastic Charlie Nesbitt was signed for the team in the National Superstock 1000 championship, again showing the teams faith in young riders. Nesbitt had incredible pace all season long which was finally rewarded at Cadwell Park with a deserved victory. At the end of the season, Nesbitt was rewarded with a play on the superbike for the final rounds which he rose well showing great promise including an 8th place finish. For the NorthWest 200, Richard Cooper returned to the team, taking a fantastic pair of 2nd places in the Superbike class. Michael Dunlop made a last-minute decision to switch teams and after a difficult NorthWest 200 debut due to tyre issues, at the Isle of Man he secured a fabulous 3rd place in the RST Superbike TT race, with a last lap of 133.086mph.
The 2023 season announced that Charlie Nesbitt and Josh Owens would spearhead its British Superbike Championship. With a change in manufacturer this season to Honda, the team embarked on a whole new chapter with the support of MasterMac Surfacing and Crendon as the two title sponsors. The year was a rollercoaster ride providing many ups and downs, but the team took pride as they finished as top Honda in the British Superbike Championship, with Nesbitt claiming three podium finishes at Thruxton. The roads campaign was an exciting one with the signing of Michael Dunlop who raced at the North West 200 and entered the Isle of Man TT races, winning the Superbike race and claiming a third place in the Senior race. Dunlop also competed at the Cookstown 100 and finished in first place at the Armoy Race of Legends.
2024 looks to be an exciting season with the team retaining Charlie Nesbitt and the homecoming of Lee Jackson, who makes a return to the Hawk team after 10 seasons. We have high hopes for the upcoming season and can't wait to get at it!
The Honda Fireblade was first produced over 30 years ago and after many reshapes and fine tuning, it has become one of the best performing motorcycles for racing.
Built for the track, the bike has class-leading 160kW peak power with a semi-cam gear engine upgrade to allow mid-range acceleration boost, and refined HSTC traction management. It has reshaped engine intake ports to boost midrange performance together with an increase in throttle linearity.
Taking data from World Superbike racers, the HSTC calibration has been fine-tuned, with the quick-shift mechanism being made even quicker resulting in less engine-speed fluctuations, and new piston materials allow for better braking underload. It is an awe-inspiring piece of machinery.