The Tom Sykes That You Don’t Know
Words: Allan Lane
Images: Andrew Gosling
I met the man from Yorkshire several years ago at a Kawasaki event in Times Square, NY. Through an interested chain of events and circumstances on that day that would provide a more than an entertaining origin story, if we were both characters in an international buddy cop film… We became friends. In the years that followed, Tom and I would see one another at industry and race events, several throughout the year. No matter where, when, or how, Tom and I would pick up right where we left off. It was like we never missed a beat.
Both on and off the clock, he was and is consistent. It didn’t matter if we were on stage, or in the paddock or at an after party, Tom remained the same. I’ve said that not everyone can state that they have the 2013 World Superbike Champion as their designated driver (Tom doesn’t drink). An unlikely pairing, but a true pairing, nonetheless.
What I have learned from my friend is the measure of remaining, if nothing else, consistent. Someone who is consistent is reliable. Watch him pilot his KRT ZedX-10RR around Laguna Seca, Brno, Aragon, any circuit for that matter… What you will witness is a rider that is smooth, strategic and controlled, lap after lap, sans the very rare “off”.
With the 2018 World Superbike season underway, marking Tom’s tenth season in the field, Sykes is focused on the Championship. It was only five years ago in 2013 that he captured the Crown. The 2017 season came to close with Sykes pulling a firm third place in the Championship standings. Time has passed but the mission remains the same.
Allow him to introduce himself…
SBI: Who is Tom Sykes in 2018, compared to the 2017 Tom Sykes?
TS: 2018 me is actually slightly more prepared and sharper both mentally and physically due to a number of reasons. And also I’ve worked very hard with my team during the winter to be able to get more from myself and the bike as a package…