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Revolving Racer – Michael Blair | Columns | Gassit Garage

Confidence is key in this sport and it’s great to be able to ask for help from people like Glenn Allerton and Garry McCoy who have been there and done it before

My driving force has always been to look for ways to improve; making small improvements moves me forward to meeting my goals.

This is my first year competing in the ASBK, and as it’s only my second year riding a superbike it has been a steep learning curve. The ASBK field has a lot of experienced riders and professional teams this year, so for me there is lots to learn and improve on. I know I can get better and my results at the official test at Phillip Island at the beginning of the year gave me a taste of what can be.

We came into 2017 fully committed to racing in the ASBK for a few more years. We can see it is heading the way of other international championships with its professional approach, and I’m racing against the best here, some who have had international racing careers. I would love to go overseas, but just can’t afford it.

Family support is a huge part of my racing. Behind the scenes we are working at our day jobs in between the racing to make it all happen. There are many set-ups like ours where as a privateer we are trying to give our sponsors value for their input. We have come into this year with some great support from local sponsors Gosford Classic Car Museum, Harris & Adams Smash Repairs and the John Singleton Group, along with long-time sponsors Yamaha Motors Australia and Ipone, and other sponsors like Arai and Gimoto Leathers.

To an outsider it looks as though it’s all up to the rider, but on the inside I know that, without the sponsors and people I’ve been involved with over the years, I wouldn’t be as strong as I am, mentally or technically, on the bike. Glenn Allerton has been a great mentor and recently Garry McCoy’s rider coaching has been a good help. Confidence is key in this sport and it’s great to be able to ask for help from people who have been there and done it before.

Training for me is a big part of racing – being able to focus on what is happening on the track rather than what parts of my body are sore is a big deal. I like doing cross-training. Venturing away from motorcycles, I enjoy surfing, running through the bush and mountain biking. My training clears the head and strengthens the muscle groups I use on the bike. Avoiding sharks when surfing also helps with reflexes!

Compared with other racers on the track, I’m pretty new at racing. I played footy till I was 15, then raced dirt track for a few years, always wanting to road race. My first full season of road racing was in 2012 on a Yamaha R6. My parents wanted it to be my decision to race, knowing how intense it can get.

It all came to a halt in 2014 after the first practice session at Phillip Island for the WSBK support races when the front folded through Turn 3 at around 200km/h. I broke my left hand and wrist pretty severely, resulting in multiple operations. If it had been my right hand,  I wouldn’t be racing today because I didn’t regain full movement. My hand took all of 2014 to recover.

I was able to bounce back in 2015 and clean-sweep the PI Supersport Championship races, and I still love Phillip Island as a racetrack. The first race back was daunting, but after sitting out for 12 months I knew that racing is what I love, it’s what I want to do, and I’m very grateful to be able to do it.