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Revolving Racer – Callum Spriggs | Columns | Gassit Garage

“The speeches were getting better but I was still anxious.”

“I want to thank my Mum and Dad, the flaggies and volunteers for today.”

At age 10 and the next seven years this would be my only speech if I won a trophy at Kilcoy Mx.

To write 750 words about myself is a real challenge as putting a few words together is not easy for me.

My Supersport career began by doing both Series in 2012.  In the FX Series I won a YZ450 for Rookie 600 Champ.  In the Australian Superstock Championship I was fifth overall (missing two rounds). The highlight was my first Win at Queensland Raceway.  I turned 18 that day and had champagne on the Podium.  This round Yamaha offered me YRD support and we began working with Chris Jones XXX RATED Suspension.

My confidence on the R6 was high heading into 2013. This year my skills improved heaps, chasing the Yamaha factory boys Rick and Cru, resulting in overall third place behind them.  I just wanted to ride and was still not keen on the talking part.

Leading the 2014 Series into Round three at Queensland I was on top of the world.  No brakes on my R6 caused me to crash in turn 6.  I had a broken collarbone and a detached lung.  Looking back now this was a turning point in my career.  I did get third place overall but I was disappointed as I reckon I could have won the Title.  My confidence, fitness and bike skills took a battering.

Focus on improving as a rider and to regain my confidence I had a chance to race in 2015 Asia Racing in Yamaha Finson Team.  With great results in both Rounds of ASBK and Australasian Series I felt great heading to Asia.  The test was a fail after a highside in Sepang.  I lay on the side of the track, in a foreign country, thinking to myself, “I have actually done it.  I have crippled myself’. I had a severely damaged ankle and a displaced fracture of my T11 vertebrae. I did continue overseas and experienced racing in one of the toughest Series in the world, but my confidence never really returned to a level to be competitive over there.  Back at the Australasian Series I was still not 100%. There was talk that I may not be a top level contender again.  It was a strange year but with consistent results I was FX National Champion and Australasian Supersport Champion for 2015.  The speeches were getting better but I was still anxious.

I needed a change coming into 2016 and I wanted to step up to the Superbike class on an R1 but Mum wouldn’t allow it.  She didn’t think I had recovered from my injuries either mentally or physically.  A spot in the Cube Racing Team on a Zx-6R came up and it was great to be in a team.  A slow start to 2016 and a mix up with tyres at Morgan Park ended my Championship hopes, but I did pick up by the second half and ended the year on a high. 

Mike Jones did so well on the DesmoSport Ducati in 2016 that he got an offer overseas, leaving the seat for the Ducati ride open. I never expected it would be offered to me due to my inexperience on the Superbikes. I am grateful that Ben Henry and Troy Bayliss were able to see some potential in me, and with their support I am keen to see what we can do in 2017.

After a bit of testing on the Ducati I realised how much I had underestimated the power which exceeded my capabilities, and the extra physical strength required to muscle it around the track.  Being a smooth rider will not be enough for me to get results and I will need to find more aggression to be amongst the top few. 

The expectations for me to be competitive in my Rookie Superbike year are high, after the results Mike was able to get on the Ducati last year.  To be amongst the biggest field with such experienced riders, I am looking forward to the challenge but keeping a common sense approach to the whole experience.  I want to do myself and the DesmoSport Ducati team proud.

Getting back to my lack of speaking skills, I now have no choice but to step up my act representing the DesmoSport Ducati.  Mike Jones ….Dang what a hard act to follow. Racing and talking.

Images Russell Colvin