Next Gen Motorsports team boss: Wayne Hepburn | Manufacture News | News
Next Gen Motorsports’ Wayne Hepburn has never been one to blow his own horn; he reckons everything he has achieved in racing and business has been through surrounding him
Running a race team takes more than just your passion, this is serious business isn’t it
Totally. If you want to beat the best it takes a huge financial and time commitment. You can’t simply turn up and think you are going to go well.
It’s been tough over the last few years to think of it as a business because if I had I would have shut it down. A business is meant to be financially viable and we have pretty much gone it alone as a team. We have had some small support and appreciate it, but nowhere near the level it takes to maintain a fully functioning race team. But the work Motorcycling Australia has put into the ASBK is starting to open opportunities with corporates that hopefully see the value in what we do.
You’ve always had a certain talent for picking young guys and bringing them on
They haven’t always been so young. This year we deliberately targeted some of the youngest riders in each of the three main classes, Superbike, Supersport 600 and Supersport 300. It has brought a whole new energy to our group, which is fantastic.
It is a huge responsibility being so influential in a young individual’s future. Up to this point pretty much all the targets we set for everyone have been achieved. If we can keep on track, the year will be rewarding for all.
You take the psychology side of racing very seriously and I know your riders have always benefitted from that. How did you get into it?
I’ve always believed that the mind is the biggest asset/liability we have; it just depends on how we use it. I know how much more I can achieve if I’m focused and confident. There are a lot of simple things you can put in place to make it easier to succeed. I’ve worked with hundreds of my own employees over the years and it has always been of interest to me what motivates people. I just completed my Personal Training qualifications and have started studying a Diploma of Sport. You can have the bike with the best set-up, but if the rider isn’t tuned to the same degree it isn’t always going to work.
Are you surprised at how fast Troy Guenther went on the stock BMW?
No, not really. I have been around the BMW S1000RR since 2011 and I know that the bike we won two Superbike championships on was that close to standard it’s not funny. That is one of the main reasons we came back to BMW. You can compete against the best teams with budgets 10 times ours. There are differences for sure, but anyone can access what we have.
The BMW is a package you know well, and it’s a bike capable of winning the ASBK. Was that your goal this year?
A BMW S1000RR would be totally capable of winning championships in Australia. But our S1000, not this year. That was never our goal with Troy, only stepping up from Supersport 600 at the start of this season. We knew where we thought Troy should be and where our budget would allow us to play.
We would like to be back in the championship hunt for 2018 for sure and the BMW is our weapon of choice.
It’s good to see you’re also passionate about riding still. Do you think that helps you understand the rider?
For sure. Even though I’m not as fast, I still understand the feelings the rider is describing and the language they use in trying to explain what they feel. I have watched a lot of riders do a lot of laps and feel I’m a pretty good judge on what I’m looking at.