Wayne Gardner had a real influence at the very start of what became my road racing career. I come from the same town as Wayne, Wollongong in Australia. When I was just getting to the end of my dirt track career, Wayne won the world championship in 1987. That was about the time when I was thinking what I was going to do with my racing. Wayne said that road racing was what he recommended. So we did, we bought a road bike and raced in Australia that year. That’s really what kick started my career.
I started racing in Australia and I raced there for 3 years. I was working at the same time, I was doing an apprenticeship as well because racing wasn’t going to be a job for me. It was just something we did on weekends in Australia. In my third year of racing, my boss pulled me in one day and gave me an ultimatum and said, “you’ve got to choose racing or work, Troy”.
So I said, “I’m going racing”.
From that day on, I decided I’m going to be a racer. And that’s all I’ve done ever since.
I’ve had a number of wins through my career, there is one in particular that stands out. When I was on the Aprilla at Misano in 2000. I beat Ducati at their home track by about 10 seconds in both races. I annihilated them. The year before that they had sacked me, so to go back and beat Ducati at their home track on a bike that had never won a race before, certainly sticks in my mind!
A lot of the time when you’re actually racing, you’re that focussed, you get into a zone, possibly more so on a bike than when racing a car. In a car you’ve got lots of stuff around you and you’ve got a bit of space. On a bike its all, I wouldn’t say tunnel vision, but it’s definitely a bit more focussed, with what’s happening in front of you and around you. It’s all very close racing, you’ve got the wind hitting you and everything. Your senses are that bit more on edge. So you do sort of forget about what actually happens at the time. Unless you have a bad race, and you’ve got an issue with the bike, then you remember! But the days where it all works out, you forget it. You don’t really remember how you’ve done it, it just happens naturally, that’s the zone thing. Those moments happen few and far between but when you get it, It’s funny because you try to think what did I do differently in that race and you just can’t remember. It’s a real shame because you can’t actually learn from it. So it’s always been a bit of a grey area there for myself. Days when you win from the back, you remember them ones but when it all just happens, with a pole, good start etc you do it and you win the race and you’re pulling away and it’s all in control. They’re the ones you always want to experience of course but you don’t necessarily learn much from it as a rider.
I’ve always liked circuits with undulations. I like that because it’s ask more of a rider’s natural skill. You’ve got to prepare what’s over a crest and stuff, it’s not just all in front of you. That makes a lot of difference to skill, bike control and setup. They’re the sort of tracks I like. Technical, twisty, up and down stuff. A real fun ride, so not just flat out, hard braking, full speed. I didn’t really enjoy those sort of circuits. Most riders also like the physical and mental test to get it right. That last lift on a crest or corner, instead of lifting next lap, see if you can hold it flat next time around. That’s what gives you that adrenaline rush to go out there and do it again.
Thinking back to my two World Superbike Championship titles, strangely enough my first one, I don’t know whether it’s because I was young and I’d just come in and it was my second year and I won it. I just sort of expected to win it. My first season I finished second in the Championship, I won a few races and going into my second season I just expected to win. I believed in myself and my ability and duly went out and won it. But it didn’t really feel like a challenge as such, I expected to do it, felt ready to win it and did.
When I won the championship, one of my all time my heroes, Barry Sheene actually brought me over to England to race for Ducati at Donington Park. When he put the idea to me, how could I say no, it was Barry Sheene! He actually introduced me to the woman who became my wife too, he had a big influence on my life and seeing such a senior rider, my own hero, take an interest in helping a young guy, ever since I have tried to help out riders when they are coming through.
It’s my second World Title in 2005 that I remember most fondly as I was by then mature enough to appreciate just how much work went into to winning it. I was that bit older, had to train harder to keep myself at the top, I was 34 years old at the time and so I did have to work that much harder. As your career progresses, you learn what it feels like to get beaten, how hard that feels and through that you also learn to enjoy the victories. When you have that young natural talent, you maybe take it a bit for granted, but that second time around I was able to recognise just what it all meant.
The victory was made all the more sweeter by winning the title on a Suzuki, a manufacturer who had never won the World Superbikes Championship before. I won the first championship on a Ducati, you’re expected to win on a Ducati, they win world titles! But this time around we entered on the Suzuki as a privateer, the support that was given to me by the team and everyone involved was fantastic and to repay them with the title was a truly memorable and satisfying moment. It was a real feather in their cap.
www.troycorser.com Follow on Twitter @TroyCorser11
Our sincere thanks go to @celebkarting and @racedriversinc for making this memory possible. Troy was interviewed whilst participating in the Autosport International Karting Challenge (AIKC), run in association with Race Drivers Inc. and presented by Johnny Herbert.
The AIKC was held in honour of Dan Wheldon, the late IndyCar Champion and double Indianapolis 500 winner.
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Memory added on January 29, 2013
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