At the close of the 7th and final round of the 2009 Monster Energy SuperX Championship at Brisbane on 5 December, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Craig Anderson and Luke Arbon both claim top ten finishes as Team Manager Brett Whale says goodbye, retiring from the sport.
On the track, Open rider Craig Anderson gained enough points to finish the series in 7th place while Lites rider Luke Arbon bagged a top 3 moto finish to score his best round result. Luke took 5th place in the final round to advance to 10th place overall in the series.
Craig Anderson rode consistently well throughout the entire series to finish in 7th place however he had it tough in Brisbane. A broken aftermarket foot-peg in the first moto resulted in a DNF and the call up of Ando’s spare bike. Never fully finding his rhythm on the spare, Craig had to settle for DNF-11-13 to take 16th overall.
Luke Arbon had his best round of the series on board his KX250F. Thanks to good starts and smart riding, Luke claimed his first top three moto finish of the series going 7-3-5 to take 5th for the round and move himself inside the top ten for the Championship.
Team Manager Brett Whale says, “Ando wasn’t 100% comfortable on his spare bike and it showed in his results.”
“On the other hand Luke finished the series on a high note. He rode well and is really starting to come to grips with it all. It’s a big step and pretty daunting coming out of Juniors into this level, especially when you’re a dominant Junior like Luke was. You’re only as good as your last race at this level and Luke has finished on a high note. He will take a lot of confidence with him into 2010 and I think you’ll see really good things from Luke next year.”
The last round for the year is always an emotional one with the realisation that the hard work is done for another season and riders say goodbye as they retire or head in different directions. The final round of this series was particularly emotional for KRT as respected Team Manager Brett Whale hangs up his headset for the last time and says goodbye.
Before taking on the job as KRT Manager, Brett found success not only as a Kawasaki dealer but also as a privateer Team Manager. Brett’s QLD based Kawasaki dealership, Whale’s Kawasaki, quickly became the number 1 Kawasaki motorcycle dealership in Australia shortly after its opening. A title he held for 5 consecutive years (99-03). As a privateer Team Manager, Brett was successful both on the dirt and the bitumen. He won the 1999 Motocross Championship (500 class) with Peter Melton, the 1999 and 2000 Naked Bike Championship with Pete Byers and the 2005 Supercross Championship (250 class) with Daniel Reardon.
Brett Whale took over the reigns as Team Manager at KRT in 2007, however he was always more than just a Team Manager. Brett was also a friend, life coach, mentor and father figure to the riders he managed. Brett was renowned for bringing out the absolute best in his riders due largely to the strong relationship he had with them. The true potential of Brett’s riders was often brought out through their desire to make him proud.
In his three years managing the Kawasaki Racing Team, Brett Whale found much success. Dan Reardon, under Brett’s guidance, won the 2007 Australian Open Motocross and Supercross Championships and in the same year, New Zealander Katherine Prumm won the Australian Womens Motocross Championship under Brett’s management. In 2008, Luke George won the Pro Lites Motocross Championship and although he wasn’t technically his Team Manager, Brett still played a part in Chad Reed’s 2009 Monster Energy SuperX Championship win.
When asked about the last three years as KRT Manager, Brett is quick to talk about the riders saying, “Those riders that put in their very best and work hard are like my own kids. They stay at my house, we laugh together and also cry together when I’m holding their hand as they lay in a hospital bed. I’ve been with Kawasaki for 11 years and it’s a lot harder to say goodbye than I thought it would be.”
“I’d really like to give a special thanks to my wife Kate. She does so much behind the scenes including the boring stuff like the bookwork. Also big thanks to Glenn MacDonald from Kawasaki. Those two are the unsung heroes of KRT. I’d also like to thank Rudi Baker for his awesome press releases and all of our product sponsors for their fantastic products that really are second to none.”
“I’d also like to thank all of the riders and mechanics over the last three years who make me look good. For the past three years I’ve spent 20 out of 52 weekends each year with the racing community. They are like a second family and I’ll miss them.”
Kawasaki Australia MD Ted Mori says, “Brett Whale achieved much success for Kawasaki both as a dealer and a race Manager. He will be missed by Kawasaki and the racing community. Everyone at Kawasaki wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.”
The Kawasaki Racing Team now looks forward to the 2010 season. Stay tuned for an official announcement on the new team management, exciting rider line up and new sponsors in the near future.