Lower rub rails on safety barriers that are important for the safety of riders have proliferated in recent years, but now the Queensland Government is removing some where they trap wildlife on the road.
You could be forgiven for thinking that riders’ lives are considered less important than the lives of snakes, wallabies, possums, echidnas and bandicoots.
However, many lower “W beam” rub rails have been installed on benign straight stretches and the inside of curves, rather than the outside where riders are far more likely to crash.
Lower rub rails are about to be removed on a stretch of Gold Coast hinterland road to protect wildlife that is being trapped on the road and run over.
The rails are considered important in the event of a motorcycle crash as they prevent the rider hitting the lethal upright posts.
But a lot of money has been wasted over the years installing rub rails on sections where riders are highly unlikely to crash.
The money would be better spent installing the rails on more dangerous sections.
The Queensland Government’s Transport and Main Roads department is now believed to be rewriting its rules on rub rails.
Their first move will be to remove rub rails from sections every 2-300m in an eight-kilometre stretch of Beaudesert-Nerang Road at Witheren and Clagiraba, a popular motorcycle route to Beechmont and the Numinbah Valley.
This is an area where many wildlife have been killed because they are trapped on the road by the rub rails which are too close to the ground to squeeze through.
The rails are also so close to the ground that the grass and general debris has now blocked the natural drainage and water is retained on the road, increasing the risk to all vehicles of aquaplaning.
Transport and Main Roads south coast regional director Paul Noonan said in a statement that they have “worked extensively with engineering and road safety professionals to balance the need for guardrail to protect motorists and providing safe access for wildlife in the area”.
“A lot of analysis has been done to solve this problem, and I’m pleased to say we have a solution,” he says.
Work to remove the rails begins this month before the koala breeding season starts.
Let’s hope the rails are put to better use elsewhere.
The Australian Motorcycle Council has issued the following statement:
The Queensland TMR are to be commended for their previous introduction of a requirement for all new W Beam installations to have motorcycle rub rails, but they now recognise that the criteria in their guidelines was flawed. Better consultation with knowledgeable and representative Motorcycle bodies may well have corrected these flaws and avoided the resulting problems with trapped wildlife and also with water retention on the road due to debris blocking drainage under the rub rails.The danger to all road users from deep water retention in Queensland storms is a concern to all riders and would justify the planned removal of rub rails from the inside of bends and on long straights, but not on the recognised danger areas for riders, e.g. the outside of bends of defined radius.The AMC would like to see better Motorcycle representation and consultation with all and any Government body in future Queensland road safety initiatives, especially the re-write of the W Beam Rub Rail criteria.
**Photos courtesy of Jason Lau
Even for Aussies, Tasmania is pretty much the end of the earth for a multitude of reasons. It’s far enough south to make it seriously cold in winter and it’s wild as all get-out once you leave the cities and it’s the least populous state in the entire country. Also, it quite literally is the end of the earth. Sail south from its southernmost tip and you’ll quite literally be in Antarctica before you can say, ‘frostbite-inducing snowstorm’.
So surely most sane people on this icy island would be more interested in just staying warm and indoors rather than, say, racing around in the open air on unfaired motorcycles hoping their extremities don’t turn black and drop off, yes? Well, if Tasmania’s Katie Abdilla is anything to go buy, then the whole place is totally nuts.
Hi, my name is Katie Abdilla. I live in the South of Tasmania, Hobart, and I ride motorcycles. I was a picture framer but have now been undertaking full time study into graphic design.
I grew up in the north of the state on a cattle farm. My interest in motorcycles really began from the desire of wanting to go fast, faster than I could bomb a push bike down a gravel hill. A friend from primary school told me he raced dirt bikes. I decided that I too wanted to do this, so my parents bought me a little 1980s Honda QR50 to begin with from there, it all kind of snowballed for the better.
I currently have: a 1967 Honda SS125, 1968 Honda CL175, 1972 Honda SL175, 1976 Honda XL175, 1976 Honda CB400F, 1992 Honda VFR400R (NC30), 2016 Honda CRF150RB and a 1972 Triumph Daytona 500 (T100R). I have had more small Hondas but sold them several years ago.
There are many reasons as to why and how these bikes came to be a part of my life. My favourite being my ‘76 CB400f. I first saw this bike at a motorcycle show back in 2014 and intuitively knew I was meant to have this model of motorcycle. The bike was completely stock at that point, and it was the sweeping headers that drew me in. Fortunately for me, she happened to have a for sale sign placed next to her. Not long later, I ended up with that same bike in my garage.
I love Tasmania for a multitude of reasons, but mainly for its abundance of winding roads and scenic landscape. Even though it gets chilly here in winter, the snow does not often settle at sea level, so riding all year around is an option. It is actually really hard to pick a favourite road here as there are so many, and they are all so different. I do like the roads in the Northwest of the State though.
I did a few motocross races as a child and a couple grass track races in 2020, but wouldn’t say I race motocross. I really enjoy riding motocross though as I am forever learning rider technique and enjoying the challenge. I also enjoy road racing out at Baskerville Raceway in the warmer months.
I’m not currently working on any moto projects, just riding and having fun! I am however itching to build another bike; I’d love to build a Triumph chop or knucklehead.
A few friends came down to Tassie to film a motorcycle journey documentary in February 2020. They needed a motocross track for filming content at, and just to have a good time. So my partner James offered them a ride at his track in Surveyors Bay. That was a really fun day we all had. Especially doing time trials around the sand track on the little XR100.
I don’t really have any heroes. But I do admire riders like Ken Roczen (the German professional motocross and supercross racer), Barry Sheene, and Beryl Swain (the London-born motorcycle road racer and the first woman to compete solo in the Isle of Man TT race).
I actually love the approach of electric motorcycles. It’s wild how much speed and torque they carry. It is really cool seeing what companies and independents are bringing out as of late. The engineering side of things is fascinating.
I would love to ride the Isle of Man TT or the Manx GP course on either a Honda NC30 or on some vintage British steel.
**Photo courtesy of Baden West
What I would say to anyone, whether it be women or men who might be interested in riding a motorcycle would be to just do it! You do not know if you will fall in love with the sport or lifestyle unless you give it a hot crack. I would suggest for anyone who wants to take up riding of any kind, focus on technique first as controlled speed will come later with experience.
Seat time is everything. The more you ride in different conditions, the more experience and knowledge you gain. If you are new to riding, then ride with more experienced riders, ask them if you can follow their lines or have them tail you to give you pointers. The great thing with the motorcycle community is, generally we are a friendly bunch.
Follow Katie on Instagram
With vaccinations on the rise, many countries are preparing to reopen borders for travel – and it seems that everybody (myself included) has dug the old passport out in anticipation of a wee travel.
Founded in 2018, the company originally started as a way for Founders Dushyant Yadav and Mohit Chauhan to travel and feed their passion for their motorcycles.
“I do not like tourist places much, so I used to travel to places that are not known to people. I would just open up a map and point at a spot and say, ‘Let’s go to this place”, Yadav says. “Traveling was something that I had to do, so I decided that I will make a living out of it.”
“It was then that we started Wild Triumph in January 2018. We started small and, little by little, we started getting clients.”
With news of the tours traveling by word of mouth, Wild Triumph was able to slowly expand to the impressive network of connections, routes, and trips currently available on their website today.
The company offers experiences for travelers from all walks of life – both those desiring a more adventurous route and those simply looking for a bit of luxury to accompany the new view.
Among other available options, riders can book a twist through the Himalayas, explore India from the Green Aravallis to the Thar Desert, or build a customized route of their own with Wild Triumph experts to recommend the best topography and landmarks.
Wild Triumph is also one of the only motorcycle tour companies to offer exclusive women-only tours.
“We at Wild Triumph are proud to convey the most mind-blowing motorcycle experiences accessible all over the globe…[and] we believe that experiences gained through traveling are unforgettable and remain with you for life”, says Wild Triumph.
“Through traveling, we meet new people; we understand their culture, their way of living, and we expand our potential. This passion for bringing together people in a new and meaningful way drives us to innovate.”
Amen to that, and take my money.
A well-deserved break is on the horizon for those in the MotoGP™ paddock following the conclusion of the Motul TT Assen at the weekend. Before then, however, we have the small matter of recapping what happened at the Cathedral of Speed and how it has affected the state of play in MotoGP™ Fantasy.
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) took his fourth race win of the season at the Dutch GP, and unsurprisingly, he is the weekend’s top rider. A mix of a P2 start, setting the race’s fastest lap and, of course, victory saw the Frenchman rake in an impressive 41 points.
Joining Quartararo as the Gold Rider in the Dream Team is Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), despite starting from P20 on the grid, a premier class worst ever qualifying from the eight-time Champion. The German GP winner didn’t let that statistic affect him though as he carved through the field on the opening lap. Marquez scored the majority of his 35 points from advancing his grid position, with an extra nine for his final P7 finish.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir launched a classic comeback from P10 on the grid to stand on the podium for the third time this season. That performance sees the Mallorcan make the Dream Team once again this season, as he pocketed 31 points.
A man who has been hitting the headlines recently rounds out the best from Assen, as Maverick Viñales’ (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) pole position and P2 finish saw him take home 30 points for his MotoGP™ Fantasy owners.
As for the best choice of the constructors, there was no touching Yamaha as their factory riders locked out the top two spots of the grid and podium in Assen, seeing the Iwate factory earn 35.5 points from the weekend.
The Dutch GP saw 3098 gamers use one of their three 300V Motul Boosts at TT Circuit Assen.
As we head for the summer break, it gives us an opportunity to reflect on which riders have been offering up the best value in the season so far. Quartararo leads the Championship and it’s no surprise that he leads the way in MotoGP™ Fantasy, as he has simply been a must-have in your team. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) is another to have brought in plenty of points throughout the season, particularly in the opening rounds, and he is tied with title contender Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) in the overall standings on 220 points.
You can take a look at the top 10 MotoGP™ Fantasy riders below:
1. Fabio Quarataro (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 264
2. Francesco Baganaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 220
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) – 220
4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – 216
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 180
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – 174
7. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – 169
8. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – 158
9. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) – 125
10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) – 113
The on-track action since the opening round in Qatar has been nothing short of exhilarating, keeping us on the edge of the seats over the past four months. We’re already counting down the days to when the grid heads to the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian double-header!
Just as Dorna’s junior racing programmes (the Red Bull Rookies Cup, the FIM Junior World Championship, Asia Talent Cup, the British Talent Cup, the Northern Talent Cup) aim to promote young talent to the pinnacle of the sport, the Rising Stars Series aims to do the same in the rapidly growing eSports world.
Honda’s Gold Wing is the zenith of motorcycle touring. Whether you’re running to the local convenience store for a Slurpee, or traveling across the American Southwest for a getaway weekend, few streetbikes are as capable as the Gold Wing Tour DCT ($29,300 as tested).
Editor’s note: Get up to speed on the technical improvements in the Honda Gold Wing Tour Gets a Touch-up for 2021 article. Also read and watch the 2020 Honda Gold Wing DCT MC Commute Review for added insight on this model.
Radically overhauling it for the 2018 model year, Big Red went in a leaner and meaner direction with its Wing. So much so that it skimped on cargo capacity inside the 13.2-gallon top case. Owners complained, and Honda answered by increasing the capacity by nearly 3 gallons.
It may not seem like a huge change, but the compartment now easily swallows two full-face helmets, of any make. The case would accept two helmets before, but they had to be of a certain model and size, and you had to insert them just right.
Additional fixed hard luggage is located on either side of the rear fender, though they are oddly shaped (rectangular and not very wide). The cases are opened via subtle push-buttons and are locked electronically via a nice-looking rectangular shaped electronic key fob. Hydraulic action makes for smoother operation. Our only gripe is that the cases are finicky to close. A dashboard-mounted indicator lets you know if they are fully shut. In total, the Hold Wing Tour offers nearly 32-gallons of cargo capacity.
The redesigned top case also allowed engineers to tweak the passenger backrest. It’s nearly 2 inches taller, a tad thicker, and positioned at a more relaxed angle. Both rider and passenger seats have nice-looking and more grippy suede covers. Both seats have electronically adjustable heaters. This along with the rider’s heated grips make riding in chilly weather more comfortable.
Pair that with the generously sized and electronically adjustable windscreen, and the Gold Wing elevates itself to one of the most cozy rides for short and long-distance trips. Other creature comforts include a more powerful 45-watt four-speaker stereo. An XM radio antenna is now standard too. Apple and Android smartphone compatible carry over as does Bluetooth. There’s also an AM/FM tuner.
Keeping tabs on everything is a 7-inch color dash display that integrates GPS-enabled navigation and vehicle and audio settings. It’s manipulated by a series of buttons on the raised clip-on-style handlebar and a joystick wheel on the center console.
The display is bright and easy to read, day and night. However, we wish it offered a traditional “dark mode” like modern iOS-powered devices. Menu navigation is clunky and the system could offer faster boot time when the engine is started. All modern Honda motorcycles (2018-plus Gold Wing, 2020-plus Africa Twin, 2021 CBR1000RR-R) could benefit from more well-thought-out and intuitive user interfaces.
Twist the throttle however and our nit-picky gripes fade away as quickly as the objects in the nice sized rearview mirrors. With upward of 100 pound-feet torque from 1,300 rpm, the Wing accelerates in a hurry—especially for a bike that weighs 838 pounds. The cockpit fills with a rowdy roar and the exhaust note purr is equally pleasing, sounding like a six-cylinder Porsche. Horsepower-wise the 1,836cc flat six pumps out 90 hp at 5,400 rpm.
It’s a downright hoot to run up through the seven-speed gearbox—especially in DCT trim ($1,000 upcharge). This option replaces the manual six-speed transmission with a fully automated seven-speed version that eliminates the traditional clutch lever. This makes the Wing as easy to ride as a scooter.
Riders can still shift manually via finger-actuated and trigger-like buttons. However, the transmission shifts gears so quickly, especially in Sport mode, that you’ll never shift more quickly than the machine.
The other three riding modes (Tour, Econ, and Rain) offer different shift maps. Overall, the Tour setting is our favorite as it is paired with more moderate throttle response. We wish Honda offered the ability to tune engine power, throttle response, and the shift maps independently. Easy-to-use push-button electronic reverse is also standard, which helps you maneuver in and out of tight parking spots. A manual cable-actuated parking brake keeps it from rolling when parked.
Even during high-speed rides, we consistently record around 38 mpg, impressive based on average speed and size. We also appreciate that the engine runs on regular 87-octane pump fuel. We do yearn for a larger-capacity fuel tank.
For the modern year-round motorcyclist, Honda’s Gold Wing is a game changer. With its soaring level of comfort, for both rider and passenger, and more ample storage, it’s a motorcycle that checks a lot of boxes. Run errands around town, travel 500 miles in a day to your favorite vacation spot, or hustle it through the twisties with your special someone. The Gold Wing does it all, and performs like few sport-touring bikes can.
Helmet: Shoei RF-SR
Jacket: Rev’It Hudson
Gloves: Rev’It Chevron 2
Pant: Rev’It Austin
Boots: TCX X-Vibe EVO Air
2021 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT Technical Specifications and Price
|MOTOR||1,833cc, SOHC, liquid-cooled flat six; 24 valves|
|BORE x STROKE||73.0 x 73.0mm|
|FUEL DELIVERY||Fuel injection w/ ride-by-wire|
|CLUTCH||Dual wet, multiplate (dual-clutch automatic)|
|TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE||7-speed automatic w/ reverse/shaft|
|FRAME||Aluminum twin spar|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||Double wishbone w/ Showa monoshock; 4.3 in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Pro-Link w/ Showa monoshock spring preload adjustable, 4.1 in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKES||6-piston calipers, dual 320mm discs w/ ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||3-piston caliper, 316mm disc w/ ABS|
|WHEELS, FRONT/REAR||18 in. / 16 in.|
|TIRES, FRONT/REAR||Dunlop Sportmax 423, 130/70-18; 200/55-16|
|RAKE/TRAIL||30.5°/ 4.3 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||29.3 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||5.6 gal.|
|CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT||838 lb.|
|WARRANTY||36 months, unlimited mileage|
All the high-flying action from Round 4 of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul (ASBK), at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin, will feature this Sunday on SBS in HD.
As the official free-to-air ASBK broadcast partner, SBS will feature all the handle-bar to handle-bar action from Hidden Valley Raceway in Darwin. This special edition of ASBK TV will provide fans with exclusive additional feature stories and behind the scenes highlights with ASBK TV Host Riana Crehan, as part of the special broadcast.
ASBK fans can tune in to SBS from 1-3pm, Sunday July 4, and catch all the action from the spectacular ASBK round during the recent 2+4 event with Supercars at Hidden Valley Raceway.
Fans can relive the epic battle between current ASBK Champion Boost Mobile with K-Tech’s Wayne Maxwell, Penrite Honda’s Troy Herfoss, Desmosport Ducati’s Oli Bayliss and Maxima Racing Oils BMW of Glenn Allerton as part of a Alpinestars Superbike grid filled with champions and standout performers up and down the results.
If you can’t be home for Sunday’s SBS broadcast then catch up on all the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul action anytime day or night at SBS On-Demand.
Next up ASBK fans can get trackside to catch all the action in Queensland, with the ASBK Championship back in action at the always spectacular Morgan Park Raceway, August 20-22, which will see the return of the Alpinestars Superbike, Motorsports TV Supersport, Dunlop Supersport 300, Yamaha Finance Cup, and bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup, for the first time in two years.
ASBK and Southern Downs Regional Council will be teaming up to deliver Round 5 of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul in the region, helping revitalise an area devastated by the 2019 bushfires.
With the ASBK Championship on a knife edge across all classes, the Championship returns to Morgan Park Raceway between 20 and 22 August 2021.
The event is expected to garner huge local community support and see many race fans from around Queensland head to the region for three days of action-packed racing, as well as providing a significant tourism and economic boost to the many local businesses impacted by the 2019 bushfires, drought and COVID-19.
Peter Doyle – Motorcycling Australia CEO,
“ASBK competitors and fans have always loved coming to Morgan Park Raceway and we are very pleased to be able to do so again with the support of Southern Downs Regional Council. The Southern Downs and Granite Belt regions are still rebuilding their communities and economies and we hope that with the hundreds of competitors, teams, partners, officials and race fans returning, we can do our part in boosting and showcasing the region’s tourism opportunities. We will have three days of jam-packed ASBK Championship racing action at Morgan Park Raceway with all five Championship classes titles still up for grabs, guaranteeing fans a spectacular racing festival. We are encouraging riders, teams, partners and fans to take advantage of the wonderful hospitality and tourism opportunities in the region and to book their accommodation early, catch the ASBK Championship at Morgan Park Raceway, and stay a little longer to enjoy what is a beautiful part of Australia.”
Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said that hosting the showcasing Championships would further highlight the region as a respected sporting destination, with significant economic benefits expected to flow onto the growing local tourism industry as it continues to recover from years of historical drought, the 2019 bush fires and the recent lockdowns associated with COVID-19 lockdowns.
Vic Pennisi – Southern Downs Mayor
“The region’s tourism and event industry continues to prove it is robust and can weather the many challenges that have been thrown our way in recent times. Warwick is known in the racing circles as the Horsepower Capital of Australia and we are particularly excited to welcome the ASBK Championship to the Southern Downs. The mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, is one of the highlights on the racing calendar and by hosting this event in our backyard, our region will clock-up additional kudos to attract other major events to the Southern Downs. The economic benefits of hosting a round of the Championship to our recovering region can’t be under-valued, and as motorsport enthusiasts flock to the region to watch world-class riders roar around Morgan Park Raceway, we relish the opportunity to showcase the Southern Downs as the ideal destination to live, work, play and stay.”
Trev: We’ll start off with the Darwin weekend, you and the Boost Mobile squad had some unique challenges with Crew Chief Adrian working from home, which meant the team was all wired for sound and Greg was on the tools. Somewhat of a strange weekend I guess?
Wayne Maxwell: “It was definitely somewhat of a challenge in that respect, trying to set everything up, and try and make sure it worked but overall we sort of got through it and everyone stepped up in the team and knew what we were up to before we got there. A few people stepped in over the weekend who usually aren’t in those roles and those guys were great.”
And that two-plus-four lap with the Boost Mobile car, via your shared sponsor, did you let the car through on purpose around the back of the circuit when you looked around, was there bit of a game plan on that to line up that run to the line?
Wayne Maxwell: “Yeah that was the overall plan, you being a Ford man, I dunno if you would have been going for the Ducati or Ford, but that was the aim to try and make it a drag race to the line, so obviously I let him past and James went underneath, and then he sort of had to wait for me a little bit, so he’d ruined his run onto the straight but the Ducati can definitely out-accelerate the V8.”
I’d always go for the bike, did you go out in the car with him on the weekend and experience that braking power?
Wayne Maxwell: “No I didn’t, I’ve never been in a V8 actually. I let Craig and Julie go out and do it. I didn’t know whether it would scare me or not, I just stuck to riding the motorbikes for the weekend. Hopefully there’ll be some opportunities to do some more activations with Boost down the track.“
So obviously there are some pros and cons running ASBK alongside supercars, what’s your take on it? The air fence being moved on and off, is far from ideal, and scheduling changes etc, but I guess when you’re trying to satisfy your team sponsors there are some definite positives.
Wayne Maxwell: “Definitely, the camera footage quality, and the professionalism that some people in our paddock haven’t experienced before, to see the premium motorsport category in Australia up close, we need to get to that. Scheduling was good, they cleaned the track thoroughly, M.A. and whoever looked after the V8 side of safety all worked together. Coverage wise I think it was one of our better events.“
So you’re keen to see more of this in the future?
Wayne Maxwell: “I think two rounds a year would be enough to be honest with you, one to two. Just to keep the exposure. It all depends, we sort of have a support round with WSBK normally but that’s not going to come any time in the next year, so we’ll wait and see and go from there. Our categories I think are better than people are giving it credit for at the moment and we can stand on our own two feet and make sure we race at all the best tracks in Australia, and put on a good show.”
Which tracks would you like to join the V8s at?
Wayne Maxwell: “Darwin obviously works but it’s obviously a big expense, so I don’t know if the rest of the paddock want to go to Dawrin. They are talking about the V8s racing at night in Sydney, which would be a great opportunity to get a foot back in the door there at SMP. We could race in the day and add the 600 category which would be a pretty cool event and that is the hot rumour at the moment...”
You’re leading the championship, you said you have a good package but obviously there’s a long way to go, that is if the plague stays abated so we can run the full calendar. I guess the main talking point out of the Darwin weekend was young Oli stepping up to take you on. Have you followed him much before? Give us your evaluation of where you think he’s at, at the moment and if you think his form may continue to the other tracks.
Wayne Maxwell: “Yeah look, I’ve always said on the record that my legacy is to try and promote and set a standard for these young guys, we’ve had world champions in the past and we could have more in the future. Oli did a fantastic job all weekend, he didn’t make many mistakes for someone of his age and experience, less mistakes than I would have made at that age for sure, so he did a fantastic job. His riding, he’s well in control, I haven’t watched the race back yet, but it’s great.
“Hopefully it gives everyone, some of the other guys in our category and other categories, an example – look it is achievable, so they say… now how do we achieve it. It’s fantastic. I don’t know how he will go at other tracks, obviously Morgan Park he’s done a few laps at. It’s hard to say whether that form will stay, or if the bike worked for that track for him on the day. Time will tell. Eventually it shows he’s going to work it out and he’s going to be a really good motorcycle racer and hopefully follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a World Champion.“
It looked liked you gave him heaps of room as he came past at the end of the straight, maybe more than you’d give Herf or Mike?
Wayne Maxwell: “I don’t know, my head wasn’t really in it, I was having issues in the race and I just thought I’d let him go through, he wasn’t even close to the limit of trying to stop, it was a real calculated easy pass, so he was just better than I was in the race. There is no excuse, and he’s a deserving winner.“
Your head wasn’t it, was that because Herf had been taken off to hospital?
Wayne Maxwell: “That as well and being such a massive three weeks, being away and unorganised and not having everything there, like the whole team, it was quite a fair bit of stress. I just wasn’t at my best for some reason and I guess that’s part of it, I haven’t raced anyone but Troy for the last so long, so maybe that was it.“
You looked like you did try and have a go a couple of corners from the end, but had a rear end slide there, was that part of the game plan to leave it to that final lap, and then that slide robbed you of that chance?
Wayne Maxwell: “Nah, I never really think I had a chance with the issues we had going on. I was in a little bit of a rhythm and then it was a bit unusual for me, as normally I’m fairly good right at the end and fight back, but it just wasn’t my day and wasn’t meant to be. That’s a bad day so we’ll move onto the next one.”
That sounds like you may have had an issue you don’t want to canvas with the bike or tyres?
Wayne Maxwell: “No definitely not the tyres, just some stuff because Adrian wasn’t there, we had some problems like with the electronics, which were out of our control, just having that one less person, but nothing major and it probably might not have made the difference to win the race, but as usual our bikes were fantastic, so there’s no dramas moving forward.
“I’m excited to see how we roll on to Morgan Park, as that’s pretty much marked down on the calendar as the biggest challenge for us. Obviously maybe a tiny bit easier as Troy doesn’t look like he’ll be back for that one, but it’s still going to be a massive challenge. Mike has a point to prove, Oli is on a mission and there’s other guys with new motorbikes, you can’t really rule out anyone.”
So I guess as you’ve said you’re probably going to give the game away at the end of this season, after hopefully defending your championship, which you’re looking in good shape to do, for the rounds coming ahead, and then your focus is going to switch to running the Ohvale FIM MiniGP World Series in Australia, which is going to step up a few gears next year, is that right?
Wayne Maxwell: “That’s the plan, definitely going to finish the end of the year. I love motorbike racing and I love all that, so I want to make a difference, we see so many people come and go from the sport and when their time is up, they don’t give back as good as they should have. I’m not in the financial position of some of the guys overseas are to help, but with my knowledge and understanding I would like to work closely with the M.A. guys to get the ASBK to a level where it’s more sustainable. And that side of it, help some of the other teams to get more sponsors and show what I’ve learned and help in that way.
“Craig and I have talked about running the bike next season, there’s a number of options for riders, we’ll see how that goes. The Ohvale is going to be a massive focus for us, to bring through the next generation of Jack Miller, Remy Gardner and perhaps the next Oli Bayliss.“
Now you bring that up, with you and Craig talking about continuing with the Boost Team and running the Ducati. I had heard a rumour that you might have had Herf in line to ride for you and Craig next year, if you continued down that line.
Wayne Maxwell: “Yeah, if as a Team Manager you’re not asking the best most dedicated guy in the paddock to ride your motorbike, you’re not doing your job are you? So regardless of the contract or whatever he’s got, I’m confident we have a really good package and he’s been around motorcycle racing so he knows how that works, so he knows how I operate pretty well and I know how he operates, and he knows how good Craig’s bikes are.
“Obviously those talks have completely stopped right at the moment with his current situation. But if he wants to come and ride a motorbike with us we’d be mad not to consider it and try and of course bend over backwards to have him on the bike.”
Thanks for the chat.
Wayne Maxwell: “Thank you.“
After a stop-start beginning to 2021, the inaugural FIM Hard Enduro World Championship is soon to get up and running again with the Abestone Hard Enduro in Italy, where Series Manager Winfried Kerschhaggl will see months, if not years, of hard work come to fruition. The series did get underway with the XL Lagares event in May but with no points awarded as COVID restrictions prevented many racers from being able to compete, then the ErzbergRodeo which was to be round two was cancelled, thus this weekend marks the real beginning for the new championship.
Joining forces with the FIM to form the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship has been a long journey for Winfried, but one he feels will be hugely worthwhile. While the instant success and growth of the WESS Championship was clear, the formation of a Hard Enduro focused series was always the natural progression.
Uniting the world’s best races and offering athletes a FIM title to race for, the series ensures amateur riders remain an integral part of the action while ensuring the free-spirited roots of Hard Enduro stay intact. The partnership, Winfried believes, is also an opportunity to elevate the sport to a whole new level…
Winfried, 2021 is a new beginning for all as we break ground with the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship. Why the decision to come together with the FIM to form this series?
“Stepping under the FIM umbrella, where all other major motorcycling series are, will help us to raise the profile and prestige of Hard Enduro. It will bring our sport to a new level. Being a part of the FIM will add marketing value to the championship and allow it to become more clearly understood by everyone interested in motorsports, from the diehard fan to the casual spectator. But above all else, having the title of FIM Hard Enduro World Champion to race for will give our athletes the recognition and respect they truly deserve.”
Has it been a long process to get to this point?
“Yes definitely, it’s a process that was in the works for some time! Ensuring that our amateur riders remained an integral part of the championship was something that took a while to get over the line with the FIM. It forced the FIM to change their view as to what a world championship should look like. Without this we would not have done it – no way! For the FIM it has been a big step and we’re glad they made it.”
Amateur rider participation has long been an integral part of WESS, why was it important to you to ensure that it continued with the FIM?
“Amateur rider participation is what defines us. It’s what differentiates us from other disciplines and what makes us unique. We want our amateurs to race alongside our world champions and park side-by-side in the paddock. This is Enduro. They represent the very nucleus of our sport. Because Enduro is very much defined by the camaraderie of the people involved, which so often becomes obvious during racing!”
How important is it for the sport and industry to finally have a dedicated Hard Enduro World Championship?
“It’s very important and long overdue to give Hard Enduro the official recognition it deserves. Personally, as a fan, I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. Red Bull Erzbergrodeo is already over 25 years old, Red Bull Romaniacs celebrate their 17th edition this year. The championship will bring it all together for sure. Teams and riders can commit to a season of racing. More riders are drawn in to compete and at a grassroots level, that inspires more organisers to run events. Everything has a knock-on effect, which helps the industry grow.”
We’ve already seen manufactures like Beta and Yamaha lend support to the championship alongside established names like KTM, Husqvarna, GasGas and Sherco. Do you feel there is more growth to come in this area?
“Today motorsport is also a vehicle for manufacturers to promote their brand and their products. So, if you approach it from a business standpoint then Hard Enduro provides a format that is easy to understand for everyone. The competition, the rider-against-rider aspect is easy to understand and can be easily covered by the media. With solid media coverage and an FIM title to race for, then yes I believe more manufacturers will join.”
Can riders expect to see big changes in terms of how the championship is run, or are you aiming for things to be as easy and seamless as possible?
“Throughout this process our intention has always been to ‘keep it simple’. Sailing with a big ship like the FIM does not make it less complex. Hard Enduro has a free spirit, it doesn’t sit well with too many rules, and I want to keep it that way.”
We saw already with Extreme XL Lagares and Red Bull Erzbergrodeo how difficult it can be for event organisers to plan due to the COVID pandemic. Are things beginning to return to a ‘more normal’ situation?
“We’re living in some crazy times right now and sometimes even the best laid plans are taken out of your hands. At the time of staging Extreme XL Lagares, Portugal was by far the European country least at risk. Fewer people were affected, and it was the only country in Europe with restaurants open. Then suddenly, during the event there is a local hot-spot – and all your work, effort and money is gone! You have to question it yes, but at a certain point you have to accept and focus on what you can influence and that is what’s in front of you. But we were not alone, just imagine the amateur rider who travelled 2,000 km, spent a week’s vacation and a lot of money – just to return home with a fraction of what they were expecting to experience.”
The Abestone Hard Enduro is just around the corner and some of the teaser visuals look incredible. Are you excited to finally get racing underway in earnest there?
“Racing in Tuscany is a rare opportunity and doing it in a ski resort is the icing on the cake. It’s simply unbelievable what Michele Bosi, as event organizer, has been able to put together. He is so full of ideas that we had to calm him down and not get too carried away with the event. Having already stood on these mountains, walked the trails and soaked in the epic views, we know it will be an amazing event!”
The calendar sees a strong mix of well-established races with some newcomers, is the goal to offer these younger events a platform to grow and develop?
“Definitely, because the quality of each of our events determines the quality of the World Championship. But it’s also the diversity of the events, which is in our interest too. Over time we want the calendar to be less European focused.”
For potential organisers wishing to get involved, what criteria are you looking for in an event?
“We want to see a unique venue that can host a special course that is demanding, but not dangerous. The race format needs to support the integration of amateur riders to a large extent and the minimum number of competitors should be 250 at least. But also, the event format must be attractive to spectators and media alike. Overall, an event that is simple in structure, but still capable of developing a unique position within the series.”
For now, events are closed to spectators. What will it mean to have thousands of fans back trackside watching the racing again?
“We have all together learned over the last 18 months to live with what we can get, so everyone will be excited to return to the events and see the competition and our stars in person when it’s safe to do so. I’m looking forward to seeing the paddocks a real hive of activity with fans and spectators again. We all miss that!”
Finally, when we overcome this pandemic, how would you like to see this championship develop in the next few years?
“Our objective is to become the most popular Off-Road/Enduro series worldwide – regardless of how much Covid may influence our future!”
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship heads to Tuscany, Italy for the Abestone Hard Enduro on July 9-11.
Round 1: Extreme XL Lagares – Portugal, May 7/8/9 (No Points) Round 2: Red Bull Erzbergrodeo – Austria, June 3/4/5/6 ( Cancelled)
Round 3: Abestone Hard Enduro – Italy, July 9/10/11
Round 4: Red Bull Romaniacs – Romania, July 27/28/29/30/31
Round 5: Red Bull TKO – USA, August 13/14/15
Round 6: HERO Challenge – Poland, September 11/12
Round 7: Hixpania Hard Enduro – Spain, October 1/2/3
Round 8: GetzenRodeo – Germany, October 29/30