We go and have some fun Kawasaki Ninja 300 racing in the Australasian Superbike Championship Kawasaki Insurances Ninja 300 Cup... Words: Jeff Ware Photography: Keith Muir

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Last year I raced the Kawasaki Motors Finance Ninja Cup bike as a wildcard at Rd1 of the Australasian Superbike Series at Wakefield Park. I had top fun, so when I got a call from KMF’s CEO, Matt Stevens, offering me a few spins this year I jumped at the chance!

Production based racing has bred more Australian World Champions than any other class of road racing in our domestic history. From the glory days of the RD LC series, the RZ Masters, the booming Shell Oils 250 proddie class of the 1990s dominated by RGV250s to the ultra successful FX Aprilia Challenge Cup in the early 2000s, there have been dozens of International stars born, mostly on a tight budget.

When two-strokes fell to the wayside, so too did small capacity proddie racing but finally a series has been born that may just resurect those glory days…

The FX Ninja 300 Cup was the brainchild of Terry O’Neil and Kawasaki Motors Australia and debuted as the FX 250 Cup, blossoming to a full series this year as a one-make Ninja 300 production series, with tyre limitations and rules in place to reduce costs and encourage people to have a go.

They may not be sportsbikes like the RGVs or RS250s were but the Ninja 300s are half the price of the old two-strokes to buy and require 10 per cent of the maintainance. That’s cheap racing!
My first races on the bike for 2015 were at Rd3 of the Australasian Superbike Championship and the AFX-SBK Series at Sydney Motorsports Park.

For 2015 the sub-classes in the Kawasaki Insurances FX Ninja Cup include an Under 20s Cup, FX300 Ladies Cup and my class, the F.O.B Seniors Cup. So what does F.O.B stand for? Fit Old Blokes? Fast Old Blokes? Nope – it stands for Fast Old Buggers but most refer to it as Fat Old Bastards!

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The F.O.B rules are simple – the rider must be a minimum of 40-years-old and weight and age must add up to a minimum of 130. So 90kg and 40 is the minimum limit – but 50 and 80kg, 55 and 75kg, 60 and 70kg and so forth are also OK. I was the youngest rider in the class – but also the heaviest I’d reckon, at 97kg plus gear I’m 102kg!

There were some fast old blokes, too, with overall winner for the weekend, Stuart Green, bloody flying, as was Mark Rogers, who beat me in every race but was unfortunately disqualified after having to fit a front tyre last minute – after discovering he had a flat front tyre before the last race. That relegated me from Third overall to second and Adrian Pierpoint fourth to third.

Greg Farrell was amazing – 63-years young and had a heart bypass and he kicked my ass in qualifying and I only just beat him in the races. Unreal! Peter Avery was having a go and gun Adrian Pierpoint got faster every race but none of us could get close to Stuart Green.

Bike Review Ninja Cup20150927_0543The little Ninja was a tricky bugger to get a lap time out of and not as simple as carrying corner speed. In fact, for some sections carrying too much corner speed was possible and at full lean the bike really washes speed off, due to the flexible frame and large side footprint of the tyres. We ran high pressure in our Pirelli Diablo Rosso tyres to combat that a little. The trick was to get the braking done upright, get on the gas ASAP and go deeper than usual, turn and get the bike up on the shoulder of the tyre so it would accelerate. A tricky thing and unlike most bikes I’ve raced. Almost a superbike line, without the power to fire out with!

Gearing is crucial and we took it a tooth at a time. My fastest lap was a 1:52 flat but given another day I’m confident I could crack a 1:50 or even a 1:49 with slipstreaming. Just needed more time (and less Kebab lunches!).

It was a great weekend and I ended up with three third places to take third overall on Saturday and two-second places and a third to take second overall on Sunday – and scored a few F.O.B class trophies to boot!
Bike Review Ninja Cup20150925_0536WAKEFIELD PARK

This is a track I have won a lot of races at over the past 20-years and I really love the little track.
It was pretty damn cold for September though and rain was forecast for Saturday. Practice went well and the little KMF Ninja felt great as usual. No changes at all were required aside from a small gearing change.

Bike Review Ninja Cup20150925_0537I was eighth fastest overall and fastest in my class with a 1:13.071, a few seconds off where I wanted to be. No prob. I knocked another second off my time in the next session and was quite happy. Unfortunately I had a shocker in qualifying and was only 15th on the grid for race one!
I started to pray for rain and headed back to my hotel with some take away Chinese and a bottle of merlot to settle in and watch MotoGP practice!

My prayers were answered and it was pissing down and 10ºC on Saturday. I went out in warm up at 9:20am and just cruised around to get a feel for the production tyres and the track. We are not allowed to run wet weather tyres so I knew with my years of experience I could possibly win the day outright as long as I got a clean run and clear track each race. It would all depend on the start and first lap but I did have another 25 riders all with the same idea as me so it wasn’t going to be easy!

Bike Review Ninja Cup20150626_0549As it turned out I was almost right, finishing second outright and showing the young blokes there is still some fight in the old dog yet. I also won the FOB class by a mile. Two sixths and a fourth outright and three wins in FOB netted me the points. I also set the second fastest lap in a few races and lapped faster in the wet than my fellow A Grade competitor and journo Paul Young – for once!

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I went back to the hotel with two trophies and stopped off for another bottle of merlot to watch MotoGP qualifying! On Sunday I was a little dusty after the wine but had a great day. I knew the dry weather would put me back with my top speed handicap but I was happy to still win the FOB class quite easily.

It was a great three days and of course would not have been possible without the Willing family and TKA. Of course, all that sugar in the green goodies from Makayla Willing definitely got me a few of the trophies! Top fun and I recommend it to any budding racers.

For Kawasaki Ninja 300 motorcycles, with factory fitted ADR compliance plates and must have an Australian model VIN number only. Grey import bikes cannot be raced.

OEM per model and year.

OEM per model and year.
OEM or aftermarket heavy duty springs can be fitted.

External gearing can be changed, retaining OEM chain pitch.

OEM per model and year.
Airfilters can be changed but must be fitted and fully operational.
Engine and gearbox breather pipes/tubes and the radiator overflow must exhaust into the airbox behind the intakes.

OEM per model and year, starter motors and alternators must be fitted and operational.
OEM per model and year, Australian ADR model ECU must be retained and fully functional.
The ECU may not be physically modified internally or externally. Factory standard OEM per model and year maximum rev limit and cut out must be retained and operational.
OEM per model and year, size and capacity battery must be retained.

The exhaust may be changed to an aftermarket item but must be stainless steel or a ferrous metal for the headers, collector and tail pipe.

OEM per model and year, including compliance plate.

OEM per model and year swingarm.
Aftermarket fairings, screen and instrument mounting brackets allowed, providing they fit the original positions.

Rear: Aftermarket shock with ride height adjustability is allowed. OEM shock with internal modifications allowed. Spring and spring rates changeable.
Front: OEM per model and year tubes. Internals including springs, valving, oil levels, viscosity and external adjusters allowed.

OEM per model and year calipers and rotors.
Pads and lines manufacturer optional.

OEM per model and year.

OEM shape and profile per model and year.
Rear mudguard and number plate bracket can be removed.
Seat unit may be modified to single seat, inclusive of number plate.

OEM per model and year.

Restricted to unleaded, commercially available petrol station fuel, maximum 98 octane.

OEM per model and year.

Foot pegs and carriers, levers, handlebars, frame savers, chain guards, approved lap timing devices ($750 RRP max), axle stand points, heavy duty crash damage resistant engine case ends, mesh radiator protector/shroud.
Piggyback tuning device with Australian max RRP of $1000 new, plugging into original wiring harness plugs.

Piggyback Autotune units, using only a single oxygen sensor. No additional sensors can be fitted.  

No quick action throttles.
No quick shifters.

Pillion pegs, centre/side stand, horns, traffic indicators, rear vision mirrors, rego plate and label holder.

Bike Review Ninja Cup20150926_0539ESTIMATED COSTS
Entry fees for the FX 300 Ninja Cup are $400 per round for Sat/Sun plus $95 for Friday practice and a garage position with other 300 riders for $30 per round, so an approximate total of $525 per round. Then you need two sets of tyres if you are a serious front runner or one set if you are in top 10 (I used a single set of Sava tyres from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon) so tyres between $300 and $800 per weekend pending what you require.

Transponder hire is a $50 deposit plus $15. You get the $50 back.

Bike maintenance, $100 per round minimum (oil and filter change), crash damage approx $1000 per season if you are lucky and repair everything yourself. Gearing and chains, $700. Bike plus conversion to racing $7000 to $9000.

Fuel, accommodation, travel $500 per round minimum.

Total approximate season costs excluding riding gear:
Entry Fees $3150
Tyres $1800 – $4800
Bike Transponder – $900
Gearing – $700
Travel/Accom – $3000
Bike – $7000 – $9000

Total: $16550 – $21550 full season

Kawasaki Motor Finance is a privately owned finance company set up to provide Kawasaki branded Retail Finance for Kawasaki purchasers and is authorised by Kawasaki Motors Australia to use the Kawasaki brand. Kawasaki Motors Finance provides Kawasaki Dealers with a state of the art web based finance program tailored for consumer customers, making the process of obtaining a loan easy and convenient with fast quotations and in-store printed loan documentation.

Kawasaki Motors Finance can include other items as part of your loan e.g. Kawasaki Genuine accessories and Kawasaki Insurances.

For more information on how to apply, talk to your participating Kawasaki dealer or call 1300 647 920.


Stock liquid-cooled DOHC 296cc parallel twin-cylinder four-stroke, 62 x 49mm bore x stroke, eight valves, EFI with Bazzaz tuner, 32mm throttle-bodies, stock airfilter, dual throttle-valves, Arrow stainless steel exhaust system, six-speed gearbox, slipper clutch, 10.6:1 compression, stock frame, Wet 4 U bodywork, Ohlins TTX shock, Ohlins fork springs, emulators, stock brakes with SBS race pads and Venhil brake lines, Sava MC50 race tyres, 520 chain, modified gearing, Wet 4 U rearsets



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