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This fortnight's Revolving Racer column is penned by Judd Plaisted, a kid on a mission to break records all over the country.

The name ‘Rocket Ronny’ came from my middle name, Ronald, named after my grandpa. I’ve been called Ronny since I was a baby, then when I was four years old at my first demo motocross race, they called me to the podium as Judd Rocket Ronald Plaisted… and it stuck!

I come from a long line of motorbike racers, both road and dirt. When I was three years old I was given a Yamaha PW50 and never looked back. I started racing motocross and flat track at local club meetings and then started competing in state motocross and dirt track on a 50cc and 65cc bike.

My start in road racing was almost by accident, though. We put some scooter wheels on my dirtbike, just to have a bit of fun at the local kart track. My first reaction was to put my knee down and my step-dad Chris said he knew right then that we were all in trouble and had better start saving!

On my eighth birthday I was given my first roadbike, a Kayo 150. Soon after I travelled to Port Macquarie for a coaching camp with Damian Cudlin at Motostars. It was an awesome opportunity but Covid stopped everything, so it was back to the Port Gawler kart track. I couldn’t ride anywhere else because of my age. Soon after, the Ohvale series began taking off around the world and Wayne Maxwell organised a test session which then turned into an entry for the inaugural FIM MiniGP series in 2022. I scored several podiums and finished fourth overall.


Back in parc ferme after a MiniGP win and lap record, another step towards taking his talent overseas

The next year didn’t start so well after a big crash in training where I ended up with some serious head and shoulder injuries. That put me out of action for a few months, which meant I missed the opening MiniGP round. It was still a strong season though – I picked up three lap records, three race wins and six podiums through the rest of the year.

Being from South Australia it can feel a little isolated, but lots of people have helped me along the way including Joel Kelso, Luke Power, Ty Lynch and Daniel Falzon. Also Wayne Maxwell puts in a lot of time with coaching during the MiniGP rounds.

After watching my mates compete at the FIM MiniGP World Series Finale in Valencia, I worked out that to be competitive in Spain I would need to be half a second per lap faster at every track we compete at here in Australia. So far this year I have broken records by anywhere between 0.4 and 1.3 seconds, so I am on track to accomplishing this goal. I work hard on giving good feedback to improve my feeling with the bike, which then gives me the confidence to push for the extra tenths.


Top spot on the podium with Chaz Wiliams and Issac Ayad

My goals in Australia this year are to win the MiniGP 160cc Championship and to break lap records at every track (including my own!). I think I perform better under pressure; when I was coming back from my injury, I felt determined to show everyone I was stronger than before the accident.

To find more speed I look at the data that comes from my lap timer, specifically when my laps are overlayed with my own fastest laps, or other riders’ fast laps. When I’m training, every lap and every session has a specific purpose and they can differ each session, not always just circulating at the fastest pace. It’s about quality of laps, not quantity.

The Ohvale is a very technical bike and I prefer that because I can feel everything the bike is doing. I have to feel and work with the bike, and this makes riding other bikes easier. I also have a Honda CBR150, lent to me by the Rountree family, and I ride that on bigger tracks where I can get used to things like slip streaming.

Way out in front, Plaisted shows how dedication and help from family and racing industry supporters can lead to race wins

The next step is to try a GP bike so I’m ready for a Moto3 bike when I turn 14. Glenn and Desiree Kelleher of Taree Motorcycles have given me an opportunity to ride their NSF85 (which has a Moto3 frame), which is a huge headstart.

Getting started in road racing at my age can be pretty serious but there are always games and a laugh on hand. Stoppies and wheelies are my favourite thing, then off the bike I love handball and don’t mind a handstand competition with my gymnast brother, Kobe! I’m not too bad at Uno either and my mum Kylie is always up for a game.

My family works as a team and we’re beyond grateful that these opportunities exist for junior road racers. It hasn’t been in the past so we do our best to make decisions and trust the Road to MotoGP program.