The driving forces behind FS-3 Racing, Nigel Snook and Darren Fry, met in the workshop at Ducati Coventry back in 2012.
At the time, the plc Nigel had been running had just been sold and to keep himself busy he joined John Hackett’s JHP Performance Ducati Cup team as a sponsor and hands-on helper. From riding around the fields, club racing and track days all over Europe, Nigel has never been far away from a fast bike!
Darren has been in and around the paddock for many years, all the way back to the days when his father Bill sponsored Steve Parrish. A successful racer in his own right, Darren was the inaugural Ducati Cup champion and was teamed up with Marty Nutt when he and Nigel first met.
Deciding it was time to hang up his leathers at the end of the 2015 season, Darren suggested the idea of running as Superstock team so he and Nigel could stay involved. With a bit of persuasion from their friend Dave Parkes, the plan grew superbike legs. Dave was well known as the workshop manager in the GSE Racing days, working with the likes of Bayliss and Hodgson and had also worked with Paul Bird Motorsport.
Knowing the championship-winning PBM Kawasakis were about to be retired as the team moved back to Ducati power, Dave made a call. A week later, Nigel and Darren were sat with Paul Bird finalising terms to buy Shane Byrne’s championship-winning ZX-10RR and enough spares to last a couple of seasons.
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 rider crew chief at the circuits.
Billy McConnell was the team’s rider for 2016, they loaded up two vans and went racing! Just happy to join the Superbike pitlane and be seen to do the job properly was the first objective, but quickly grew into a vision to become a front-running Superbike team. Billy’s forth 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 premise on the outskirts of Coventry, close to the airport. A new workshop area, still in the corner of the warehouse, with the truck parked outside made a big difference to day-to-day working arrangements.
McConnell 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 they had hoped for.
2018 and enter two-time Superstock 1000 champion Danny Buchan, who Matt had worked with before, and Lee Jackson. Buchan on the Superbike and Jackson on the Superstock 1000 bike. Two third place podiums at Knockhill for Buchan and a race win and podiums for Jackson got them excited and the team noticed despite just missing the Showdown.
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 an upgrade version of the ZX-10RR to prepare as they looked forward to the new season.
The team had real momentum in 2019 – Buchan and the new ZX-10RR were only beaten by three of the new Ducati V4Rs. Two wins plus four other podium appearances placed him fourth in the points after nine rounds meaning the team and Buchan would appear in the end of season Showdown for the first time. He held on to his fourth place, whilst Jackson finished third in the Superstock class with a win, four second places and three lap records. Then the team got a call from Kawasaki UK to discuss taking over the running of their official Superbike entry.
2020 and the team had achieved their early vision to become a top BSB team. All set to run two Superbikes, one for Buchan and one for Jackson who was promoted. Then the pandemic struck with all the issues and delays and a loss of the sponsor, but with lots of help and support, the team completed the six-round series.
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 further updated version of the trusty ZX-10RR with aerodynamic bodywork and a stronger engine. Changes on the rider front too. 2020 Supersport champion, 19-year-old Rory Skinner joined the team on a two-year deal, alongside Jackson who is back for his fifth year with the team in 2022. Skinner’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 and the pair are both raring to fight for the Showdown in the new season.