In less than a year an idea that was sparked from a quick visit to a workshop and a talk with a close friend has grown into a new racing team that will compete in the 2018 season of the World Supersport Championship.
Vafi Khan is know around motorcycle circles in the Middle East as a racer in the UAE Sportbike Championship but is stepping up more than just one gear with a team entering the coming season of the FIM Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP).
Jumping into the highly competitive WorldSSP class is no simple task. The race series is one of the most competitive in the world attracting top class riders, team and of course costs.
It was earlier this year that Vafi decided to make the giant leap into WorldSSP. From initial ideas the project grew and gained approval from Dorna in August this year at which time the team was put together. The first Indian team to compete in WorldSSP.
Meet The Team
Vafi Khan (Team Owner): He’s know to many for this racing explits in the Middle East having competed for 4 years in Dubai and finishing a consistent 4th in the championship. He’s also the owner of Motorcycle Nerds garage in Dubai, another of his ventures where he hopes to raise the quality of local services to the motorcycle community.
Gary Reynders: (Team Manager): As the Team Manager, Gary is in charge of just about everything. His wealth of knowledge from almost 25 years in racing comes from starting as Factory Suspension Technician to Mechanic to Crew Chief in later years. He has worked with many world class riders such as Nakano and Pedrosa, Edwards and most recently Johann Zarco. He has been part of many World Championship winning teams and is eager to get the team off to the best start possible.
Jules Cluzel: Finished third in the 2017 World Supersport season with a strong end of the season.
Thomas Gradinger: is the 2017 IDMSSP600 champion. Two top class riders in a new team!
Now for the ones you might know less about.
Andrea Ballerini (Crew Chief - Jules Cluzel): The only Italian in the team (they didn’t think they couldn't cope with more than 1!). Andrea has competed on a professional level in more than one Championship. He has then worked as a mechanic in both Moto2 and World Supersport for many years, and lately he has been working as Crew Chief for some very successful riders.
Jonny Gill (Mechanic - Jules Cluzel): Jonny joins the team as mechanic for Jules. He is a highly qualified motorcycle engineer and they consider him to be rather clever! His career to date has spanned Supersport and Superbike and his team loyalty is second to none. He rides Motocross and also does trackdays in his spare time.
Steve Spiers (Mechanic / Logistics): As a seasoned Logistics Manager, Steve has the experience it takes to deliver the precious cargo throughout Europe. An avid lover of all things 2-wheeled, he also enjoys many trackdays a year with his friends. He is very enthusiastic to be a member of the team for 2018.
Thomas Kubiak (Thomas Crew Chief): As Crew Chief to Gradinger, Thomas is a highly experienced and respected individual in Motorsport. His background is predominantly in engine tuning, although he is also very highly experienced with the Yamaha brand all round.
Frank Hoerholz (Mechanic - Thomas Gradinger): Frank has been involved with Motorsport probably since the day he was born. This year he will be using his expertise in all areas to help Thomas gain some valuable experience in the Championship. He has worked with Yamaha for most of his career and has been part of a World Championship winning team.
Vasco Markov (Mechanic): Mechanic to Gradinger, Vasco has been working within MotoGP for the last few years and has also worked with factory teams such as Aprillia. He has many years experience within racing and there isn't a lot that he doesn't know. Apparently the team need to get him to learn a few more languages as they think the 6 he’s known may not be enough!
Charlie Waite (Tyre & Fuel): Charlie is joining NRT this year to assist both Crew Chief's with fuel and tyres. After a weekend with a Moto3 team a few years ago, he decided that this was his dream job. He is lucky enough to join NRT to fulfil that dream. Charlie is also the teams coffee connoisseur.
Andie Reynders (Team Co-ordinator): As the most efficient member of the team, Andie makes sure that everyone is where they're meant to be. A career in all things motorised for over 20 years sees her having varied knowledge, from cars to bikes and trucks too! She also has a love of Motocross! She is known to be firm but fair.
Ella (Hostess / Grid Girl): Ella will join NRT at as many European rounds as she can in 2018, along side her day job as professional shopper. Always smiling, and at over 6 feet tall in her heels, she certainly turns heads in a crowd. Don't be scared to say 'Hi' and get a photo with Ella.
Watch our for these guys in 2018, they’re on a mission!