News 26 Jun 2024

Empire Kawasaki in search to rectify Taylor bike troubles

Underlying issue forces KX250 entry out of Murray Bridge altogether.

Image: Foremost Media.

A series of puzzling bike failures have left Empire Kawasaki searching to rectify the malfunctions that have proven costly for Reid Taylor in the middle stages of Penrite ProMX, yet to determine what has caused the team’s KX250 to stop on multiple occasions.

An undisclosed engine fault forced Taylor out of the opening moto at Murray Bridge on Sunday, which led to the team and Taylor parking their MX2 entry altogether in a bid to further diagnose any underlying issues.

Empire Kawasaki ran a 250-specific program in recent seasons before returning to MX1 with Luke Clout on the new KX450 in 2024, with Taylor being recruited as its sole MX2 rider after displaying immense promise as a privateer. It hasn’t gone to plan, however, going 19-17-10-13-DNF in terms of overall results across the opening five rounds of the season, which has him motivated to meet his potential and make an impact before the season’s out.

“We started the day off strong with a top three in qualifying,” Taylor told MotoOnline. “Then I got out to a good start in the opening moto and I was sitting in P5, but unfortunately the bike locked up about three laps in and the result was a DNF.

“We had a discussion with the team between moto one and moto two, and we decided that the smart option was to not take the spare race bike out for the second race while we are having these unknown problems. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on and the team are working hard behind the scenes to diagnose it.

“But yeah, it’s a tough pill to swallow when you go to the races and don’t score any points, but I’m feeling strong on the bike at the moment, we’ve got the handling dialled in now, so I’m confident that when we get on top of this other stuff, we’ll be out there fighting for wins.”

Taylor has consistently been among the top three in qualifying during recent rounds, but at Maitland he was forced out of the first moto, before rebounding for P2 in the second encounter. He led much of moto three only to have a mechanical deny him of the race win, before in South Australia his day ended prematurely as a result of further problems with the bike.

According to team owner Tyson Cherry, it’s not been any one issue that has caused the stoppages, and Empire is actively working to find a solution – including the move to bring engine development entirely in house – entering the final three rounds of the championship in Queensland. Taylor is positioned a lowly 15th in points as a result of his misfortune to date.

“Why it keeps happening, we don’t know that answer yet,” explained Cherry. “It’s not a single thing that we can point at and we’ve never had it before, so we are trying to piece the pieces together, keeping our heads down and working to fix the problem. We’ll go back to the drawing board to work out what’s happening and why it’s happening, and how we can prevent it.”