The FS-3 Racing team was formed in 2015 with just one second-hand Superbike and today runs the official Kawasaki Superbike team in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
The team joined the Bennetts BSB grid in 2016, headed by businessman Nigel Snook with former Ducati TriOptions Cup contender Darren Fry. The Coventry-based team originally purchased race-winning hardware from PBM; including the Kawasaki ZX-10 machines campaigned by Shane Byrne in 2015.
With the arrival of the PBM bikes to the small workshop set up in the warehouse at Darren’s family business in the heart of Coventry, FS-3 Racing was born. That’s ‘F’ for Fry and ‘S’ for Snook plus Darren’s racing number ‘3’. By now ex- BSB front-runner Matt Llewellyn had joined the team to work with Dave in the workshop and to be the rider crew chief at the circuits. Enter Billy McConnell as the team’s rider for 2016, load up the two vans and let’s go racing! Just happy to join the superbike pitlane and be seen to do the job properly was the first objective but that quickly grew into a vision to become a front running BSB team. Billy’s fourth place finish at Snetterton that year, in a race where he passed Leon Haslam with two laps to go, gave the team its first real taste of running at the sharp end.
2017 saw the arrival of the team’s race transporter to replace the vans and Darren’s family business moving to modern new premises on the outskirts of Coventry, close to the airport. A new workshop area, still in the corner of a warehouse, with the truck parked outside made a big difference to day-to-day working arrangements. Billy was back for a second season and James Rispoli joined the team to compete in the superstock 1000 class as the team expanded to run in both big bike classes. Things didn’t go so well with Billy having a few crashes including a big one at Thruxton which put him out for the rest of the season. That meant running with stand-in riders and not really achieving the step forward we had hoped for.
2018 and enter two-time superstock 1000 champion Danny Buchan, who Matt had worked with before, and Lee Jackson. Danny on the superbike and Lee on the superstock 1000 bike. Two third place podiums at Knockhill for Danny and a race win and podiums for Lee got us excited and the team noticed. After a strong start to year, things tailed off after Danny was taken out in a Thruxton chicane crash and ended up just missing out on a showdown place. However, with increasing levels of support and encouragement from Kawasaki UK and a variety of trade suppliers and sponsors, the team went into the winter with a spring in its step. We had an upgrade version of the ZX-10RR to prepare as we looked forward to the new season.
The team had real momentum in 2019. Danny and the new ZX-10RR were only beaten by three of the new Ducati V4Rs which took the championship by storm in the hands of Redding, Brookes and Bridewell. Two wins plus four other podium appearances placed Danny fourth in the points after nine rounds meaning the team and Danny would appear in the end of season Showdown for the first time. Danny held on to his fourth place to the end of season while Lee finished third in the superstock championship with a win, four second places and three lap records. Then the team got a call from Kawasaki UK to talk about taking over running their official superbike entry.
2020 and we had achieved our early vision to become a top BSB team. All set to run two superbikes, one for Danny again and one for Lee, promoted from the superstock class and returning to the superbike fold where he achieved successes in the past – including setting the Cadwell Park lap record. Then the pandemic struck with all the issues and delays and the loss of the sponsor who had made it possible to enter two superbikes. With a lot of help and support, we made it through the six-round series. Not the results we’d hoped for with Danny, despite a couple of pole positions, several crashes spoiled his season. On the brighter side, Lee rode well and scored points in all but one race, including a podium at Oulton Park. No showdown place for either rider but eighth place in the final standings marked a good return for Lee.
2021 and a state-of-the-art workshop created at Darren’s factory was completed just in time for the beginning of the season and now provides world class facilities for the crew to work in. Also new was a another updated version of the trusty ZX-10RR with aerodynamic bodywork and a stronger engine. Changes on the rider front too. With Danny moving on to pastures new, runaway 2020 supersport champion, 19-year-old Rory Skinner joined the team on a two-year deal and with ambitions to progress to world championship racing. Rory will learn a lot alongside Lee who is now in his fourth year with us. Rory’s rookie year got off to an excellent start including two second places at his home circuit of Knockhill, narrowly beaten by Danny in both races. The bikes are working well as both Lee and Rory have had pole position starts and strong race showings every weekend. We’re excited to see if both riders can make it into one of the eight places available in the new format end of season Showdown.