Troy Guenther has kicked off his debut Australian Superbike season in winning style by claiming the RK Chains Samurai Trophy as the most improved, most outstanding and best young talent in Aussie road racing, on and off the track, during the 2016 ASBK season.
Guenther was presented with the impressive trophy at the official Phillip Islands ASBK practice day, and said it was a massive honour to be the latest name added to the long and illustrious lists of riders who have received the award since its inception in 1987.
“I would like to thank Australian Motorcycle News for running the award for the 2016 season,” Guenther said on accepting the award. “Last year was a great year for us winning the Supersport title, and receiving this award today is a great way to kick off 2017. I would like to thank RK Chains for the award and everyone who voted for me.”
In his second year in the Supersport class, Guenther made the switch to a Yamaha YZF-R6 machine with the Graffiti Alley Racing team. His season-long Supersport championship battle with fellow RK Chains Samaria Trophy finalist Sam Clarke went down to the wire at the Winton Motor Raceway season finale with Guenther just managing to hold out a late season charge from Clarke to claim the title.
To win the RK Chains Samurai Trophy a rider also needs to prove himself off the track, and the key industry members who made up the 2016 voting panel noted that Guenther has always conducted himself in a mature and professional manner. The 18-year-old was rarely seen without a smile on his face throughout the season, and was always more than generous with his time for the media and the fans.
For 2017 Guenther has stepped up to the Superbike class with Wayne Hepburn and the Next Gen Motorsport team riding a BMW S1000RR.
“The goal for this year is to run consistently inside the top 10, and then begin pushing for podiums as the year progresses,” Guenther revealed. “The BMW is a good package and this team has won championships before, so I just need to gain some experience on the bike. Once I have that I think we can achieve some good results.”
Next Gen Motorsports Team owner and manager Wayne Hepburn said it was something a little different for him to have a team of young chargers, but he believes Troy already displays all the attributes that won him the prestigious award.
“Troy and the team had a few small test rides over the New Year period leading up to this first official test and they have been working great,” he said.
“What he has already done with the team shows positive signs and he’s so easy to work with. We were looking for riders for this year and obviously it was Troy’s performance in the Supersport championship which brought him to our attention. We wanted to see if we could work with and mentor a younger rider this year. We also have Ted Collins on the Suzuki 600 Supersport, so having a couple of young guys on the team will keep us focused.”
Troy Guenther’s debut race in the Australian Superbike Championship on his BMW S1000RR will be at the opening round of the series at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit as a support category to the opening round of the World Superbike Championship.
Voting for the 2017 RK Chains Samurai trophy gets underway at round two of the 2017 ASBK season. Key industry members will monitoring riders across all categories and lodging their votes on a round-by-round basis, with the 2017 winner announced at the ASBK awards dinner following the final round of the season.