Re­tired racer talks about be­ing a young id­iot and rac­ing for Du­cati in WSB

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

How did you get started on bikes?

When I was about five my dad bought me a Honda Z50 dirt­bike and I just rode that around the farm where we lived out west in Aus­tralia. I would ride around with my dad and chase the cows. I loved that bike so much; even from the first time I rode it.

When did the rac­ing start?

When I was about 10 I went to my first mo­tocross race and I had a Honda CR80 Elsi­nore, the red one. I was al­ways cry­ing and I didn’t en­joy it at all. I al­ways used to fin­ish se­cond to last. Luck­ily there was one per­son who was a lot worse than me.

You were more suc­cess­ful a bit later on so what changed?

Over the win­ter I got a Yamaha YZ80H and started do­ing some proper prac­tice, and then I started win­ning. It was all just for fun; I had no in­ten­tion of go­ing rac­ing at all.

Your dad helped you a lot at that time didn’t he?

Yeah, he was a car me­chanic but used to do a lot of work on the bikes. Not tun­ing, but he would work on things like build­ing longer swingarms and he wasn’t afraid to try new stuff all the time. In 1983 or ’84 he built me a big-wheel Honda CR80 be­fore they were avail­able to buy. I rode un­til I was about 14 or 15, and then just stopped.

When did you get your road li­cence?

I was 17 and I bought a Yamaha TT250 and I got my learner’s per­mit. I was a car paint sprayer at the time and used it to get to work. I rode that bike on the road like it was a dirt­bike. The lo­cal cop­per, who was nice bloke, had a word and told me he was keep­ing an eye on me and not to ride it like an id­iot. I just told him I was an id­iot and asked how else was I sup­posed to ride it. In 1990 I de­cided to get a proper road bike and bought a brand new Kawasaki ZXR750 H1 for nearly $10,000. I was nearly knee down on the road in jeans while out rid­ing with my mates. It was all a bit stupid. Kim [Ed: Troy’s wife] used to wal­lop me on the back of the head to get me to slow down. I went to East­ern Creek that year to watch the GP and I just said to my­self ‘I could do that’.

How did you get on?

I did two races on the ZXR750 be­fore re­al­is­ing I needed a smaller bike so I bought a Kawasaki KR1-S. I told my­self I would put race fair­ings on it when I could af­ford it so just took the lights off and went rac­ing. Of course I crashed it and smashed all the fair­ings to pieces. I bought a Kawasaki ZZR600 to race as well that year.

changed ev­ery­thing for you. What was that bike like to race?

Amaz­ing. The han­dling was in­cred­i­ble. It wasn’t as fast as the fac­tory bikes and I was a lit­tle big for a 250, but I did OK. Af­ter that I got in­vited to go and race in Eng­land with GSE Du­cati.

Which Du­cati did you love the most?

The 996 I took the Bri­tish Su­per­bike ti­tle with in 1999 was a lovely bike. It didn’t feel like that bike could be crashed be­cause it felt so nice. The Vance and Hines bikes I raced a cou­ple of times in Amer­ica in 2000 were lovely; just as nice as the fac­tory bike later that year. But I think the 998 of 2002 was my all-time favourite. It just felt like a com­fort­able arm­chair and even though I lost the ti­tle that year I still love that bike the most. The 2003 Mo­togp bike was a tough bike to ride. It was hard to ride fast and it was re­ally, re­ally hot.

What’s in the garage now?

I’ve got a pile of dirt­bikes and I do have repli­cas of the 999 and 1098 race bikes but I’ve never rid­den them on the road. I also have the 998, 999 and 1098 cham­pi­onship­win­ning bikes. If I were to get a road bike again I think it would be a Du­cati Scram­bler so Kim and I could head out for a coffee.

It was a wild­card ride at Phillip Is­land on a Suzuki 250 that Four cool rides for un­der £100 per month

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