Photos & Musings: Miscellaneous

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Alec Wright, 1933-2010

Alec Wright was the factory Kawasaki team manager for many years. Based out of Kawasaki UK, Alec ran the GP team from the late seventies, and his roster of riders over the years included Brad Lackey, David Thorpe, Kurt Nicoll, Georges Jobe, Paul Malin, Greg Hanson, David Watson, Geoff Mayes, Jeremy Whatley, Mark Fulton, Gary Evans, Howard Lucas, myself, and many others.

Alec got his first start in the industry in 1973 when he formed ‘Competition Developments’ with John Gazeley. ‘CD’ as it became known, made their mark by converting early KX models to laid-down shocks and Wright’s association with Kawasaki was forged from there.

When Kawasaki UK was formed Wright joined the Japanese factory and was instrumental in the creation of the whole ‘Team Green’ brand. From the late seventies right the way through the 80s and 90s Team Green Kawasaki dominated UK schoolboy racing. Alec pretty much single-handedly created the corporate race team look and his Kawasaki schoolboy factory riders, all dressed in matching team clothing, (and usually winning the races), became idols to the schoolboy masses.

Every kid wanted to be a Kawasaki team rider. It was an image that everyone aspired to. The team-issue riding gear was never available for sale though, and that made it even more cool.

Alec was always on the ball, and should any dark horse on another brand suddenly pop up unexpectedly as a threat to win Wright would do his best to woo that rider into Team Green. He even obtained full-on factory equipment for some of his schoolboy riders, including water-cooled works bikes years before they made production!

Wright later led Kawasaki’s efforts in 500GPs, first with Brad Lackey, then David Thorpe, Kurt Nicoll, and Georges Jobe. He also orchestrated the re-signing of Thorpe away from the mighty HRC Honda squad in 1990 (at the peak of HRC’s dominance). However, in all those years Alec and Kawasaki failed to win a world championship.

Wright's style of management was controversial. Always a company man, he was driven by results and was not known for being empathetic towards his riders. However, whatever people may think about Wright, he brought never before seen levels of professionalism to a fledgling sport. He was Instrumental in Kawasaki’s success as a manufacturer and some schoolboy start gates in the 80s were completely full with green bikes! Alec also worked hard to promote the sport as a whole, and was one of the instigators of the first ever Dirt Bike Show.

Alec sadly died in January 2010, aged 77.

Alec Wright, as most people will remember him Enlarge image

Alec after his retirement Enlarge image

Alec in coprorate mode, as ever! Enlarge image