No other manufacturer has experienced more success in developing up-and-coming riders, as well as supporting established pros, than Kawasaki and the Team Green program. The racers names are familiar to any fan of the sport?Jeff Ward, Mike Kiedrowski, Larry Roeseler, Ricky Carmichael, Paul Edmondson; even Jeremy McGrath won his first supercross on a Kawasaki. What isn?t so familiar are the names behind the racers, the team managers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to insure a successful program. Guys like Roy Turner and our friend Mark Johnson from years ago, and the two current team managers: Ron Heben, who manages the Team Green amateur program and the Off-Road team, and Bruce Stjernstrom, who manages the MX team. After spending a few weeks looking at some of the Kawasaki greats, and with the season now a little over a month away, wanted to talk to Carmichael and Roncada?s boss?Bruce Stjernstrom.
The pressure is on Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki to produce results, and produce them quickly. With Carmichael and Roncada at the helm, any place other than the middle of the podium will be a disappointment in 2001. “Between Stephane and Ricky there was a total of just one supercross win this past year, nevertheless expectations are high,” says Bruce. “We?ve changed the make-up of the team to include two young guys with respectable credentials, but not a lot of 250 experience. Last year Ricky broke his collarbone at Bercy so he didn?t have much time to prepare and his timing was not spot-on?it took him half the season just to get dialed in. There?s no doubt in my mind that there will be significant improvement with Ricky because of strength and stamina.”

As for the expectations he has for Stephane, Bruce told us that he is encouraged by the progress. “Stephane has changed bikes and classes this year but so far he is adapting really well to the bike.” We definitely can attest to that after seeing Stephane turn some fast laps on his new KX at the super secret Hi-Torque test track in Valencia.   Bruce continued, “Overall we expect some ups and downs, but we also expect to see improvement as the season progresses.”

Both Ricky and Stephane will need to bring their “A-Game” every time out to unseat McGrath and Bruce knows it. “We have a lot of respect for Super-Mac and know that he is the guy to beat?Jeremy is our target.”


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