Kawasaki New Zealand recently announced their support of a ‘new’ team on the NZSBK grid, with Kiwi Motorsports Development (KMD Racing) looking like one to watch in the upcoming 2023 road racing season. KMD Racing were formerly known as DP Racing, but an identity overhaul since their conception in the early part of 2021 during the height of the pandemic has seen the new team gain some serious talent for their assault on the 2022/23 series.

One thing that has remained constant however is the leadership from team Owner/Manager Grant Shivas. Shivas, who has a background in 4-wheel motorsport, tasted the atmosphere of racing on 2-wheels relatively recently. The rest was history as he fell head-first down the rabbit-hole. He got his first taste supporting SS300 riders. They say the rolling stone gathers no moss, so Shivas jumped right in for the upcoming season taking 3 riders under his umbrella.

The 2023 season kicks off at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo on the 3rd and 4th of December. Consisting of 6 rounds with 2 rounds in the South Island, the series finale returns to Taupo on 11-12 March 2023.

Left to Right: Dani Sharp, Dave Sharp, Brendan Price, Jessica Shivas, Emily Shivas, Grant Shivas.

The KMD Racing team will contest the NZSBK series aboard two new Ninja ZX-10R’s with riders Dave Sharp and 2021 Supersport 600 champion Dale Finch in the Superbike class. Recently married Avalon Lewis (né Biddle) also joins the team and will contest the Supersport class 600 aboard a Ninja ZX-6R. Lewis is no stranger to running up front and captured the title in 2019 on the same platform.

When asked about the season ahead, Avalon states,” Obviously, I’m super excited about the season ahead! With 6 rounds on the calendar, it’s going to be an action-packed Summer and I’m really looking forward to racing circuits such as Taupo and Teretonga again.

The ZX-6R is super fun to ride and I’m being treated to a new one this season. Despite not having much seat time I’m confident we will be competitive and battling for race wins in the Supersport 600 class when everything comes together.”  

Avalon receives continued support from long-time sponsor MTF Finance, and crewmembers Madi Berry and Jonny Brassel will be in her corner to ensure her ZX-6R is running at its best.

Avalon Lewis (né Biddle)

Seasoned ZX-10R campaigner Dave Sharp makes the move from his previous generation Ninja to the new platform saying, “The new model ZX-10R is such a thrill to ride with improvements almost everywhere over the previous model, so after a long wait I’m looking forward to lining up on the NZSBK grid.”

The team has had to overcome mammoth hurdles to get race-ready for the season. Starting the team from scratch, Grant enlisted the help of former Superbike racer Hayden Fitzgerald for suspension and experienced mechanic/rider in his own right, Brendan Price to build the bikes. Not only was there a short-supply of race parts during Covid times, many had either not been developed for the new generation ZX-10R or were earmarked for more established teams contesting BSB and other series.

Despite the logistic challenges, Shivas was excited to bring Dale Finch up from Supersport 600 and into the Superbike class after first seeing him ride. Dale remarked on his rookie season expectations, “I’m hoping to be competing at the pointy end of the field, I haven’t been able to gauge myself against anyone else yet, but with the coming first round of nationals we will soon know how hard to work.”

Dave Sharp

He continues, “As soon as I jumped on the ZX-10R, I had a huge smile on my face. These things really are a time warp machine. To be honest I initially thought times would come easy, but with the extra weight and power from the 600 it just adds to how crucial bike set up needs to be to use a superbike to its full potential.”

Dave adds, “It’s a privilege to go racing with such a focused team who back us riders to achieve the best results we can. There has been a huge effort to get the bikes and the team ready to tackle Taupo this weekend.”

Kawasaki NZ’s Marketing Co-ordinator Alarn Young is positive about the season ahead, “We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Grant and his team. Grant started with a blank slate and has achieved a lot before even setting rubber to track at an NZSBK race event. The team at Kawasaki NZ share Grant’s enthusiasm in motorcycle racing and we look forward to backing the team with the Ninja platform.”

Season Schedule

Round 1
3-4 December
Taupo (Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park)

Round 2
10-11 December
Feilding (Manfield)

Round 3
7-8 January
Ruapuna (Mike Pero Motorsport Park)

Round 4
14-15 January
Teretonga Park Raceway

Round 5
4-5 March
Hampton Downs (including Motofest)

Round 6 (Final)
11-12 March
Taupo (Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park)

Keep up to date with the new team on Facebook and Instagram. @kiwimotorsportsdevelopment