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Kawasaki Signs Larry Ward and John Dowd to its Y2k Motocross Team

Kawasaki has announced the signing of two hard-working, mature veterans to its Supercross/Motocross team for the year 2000. Larry Ward, age 29, and John Dowd, age 34, have signed to ride KX250s in next year’s Supercross and Outdoor National series.

Ward is known to be a good friend of, and mentor to, Ricky Carmichael, and the style of both Ward and Dowd should mesh well with the dedicated youngster that Kawasaki hopes will develop into the sport’s next superstar.

Both Ward and Dowd worked their way from privateer status to factory teams at advanced ages (for motocrossers), and they have reputations for a no-nonsense approach to their jobs. They do not run with the party crowd and this is perhaps another reason for Kawasaki signing them at this time.

Kawasaki’s 125cc team, run by Mitch Payton at Pro Circuit, brings back four of its riders, including 125cc Western Regional Supercross Champion, Nate Ramsey, Nick Wey, Shae Bentley and Billy Payne. Joining the team this year is Tallon Vohland, one of the few riders who beat Ricky Carmichael on a 125 while riding an FMF Honda.

Shae Bentley is quite a talent – he outclassed an impressive 125cc field at the Chapparal Supercross warm-up race (where he kept pace with both McGrath and Emig in the combined 125/250 race) just prior to being injured in 1999. It will be interesting to see how he performs after his extended injury rehabilitation. He will definitely be a rider to watch in the future.

Nate Ramsey will go into the Supercross season with lots of confidence, having won several races this year, including the East/West 125cc Shootout at the final round in Las Vegas.

All in all, Kawasaki is looking for continued success from its 125 riders, and the rejuvenation of its 250 class riders.