Tom Sykes says he is still able to savour the moment of being crowned WorldSBK Champion as he marked the 10-year anniversary of his and Kawasaki’s pivotal 2013 WorldSBK title win.
The British rider ended Kawasaki’s 20-year wait for a WorldSBK title with victory in 2013 in a season that saw him fend off the Aprilias of Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli to be crowned with nine victories to his name.
“To win the WorldSBK Championship is very special,” he told WorldSBK.com. “It started a long time ago with me and my Grandad, Peter Brook, he was a successful engineer and he had full belief in my ability, more so than myself. He put me on the right path. I wanted to be World Champion and we made that dream a reality.
“The pressure going to Jerez was quite substantial, we went about everything in attack mode, but with a little bit in the pocket because it’s easy to give away points.
“We knew we had to finish top three and luckily we were able to do so. The feelings across the line will never be replicated.”
It came just 12 months after Max Biaggi pipped him to the 2012 WorldSBK title by just half-a-point, but despite the near-miss the result was indicative of the progress Kawasaki - under the steer of Paul Bird Motorsport initially before Provec Racing took over - had made after a long period in the doldrums.
With Sykes bouncing back with interest the following year, his 2013 WorldSBK title win would mark the start of a dominant Kawasaki era that yielded seven titles in eight seasons between the Yorkshireman and Jonathan Rea.
Also coming close to winning the title in 2014 too, though Sykes regrets the small margins that prevent him from being labelled a triple WorldSBK Champion, he says the memory of his 2013 success is enough.
“Time goes too fast, it’s strange because I still feel quick - ten years doesn’t represent how I feel.
“To win a World Championship on the podium and lifting that trophy feels fantastic - to be labelled World Champion, ask any rider, they would take it in a heartbeat.
“Six and a half points would have given me two more world titles, which would have been fantastic, sitting in my house, seeing it every morning when I wake up, there is no replacement for it.”