Racer of the week- Aiden Coote | Columns | Gassit Garage
I’ve got to get my fix as often as possible; there just isn’t a part of me that considers life away from the track
It’s always quite interesting to take a look at the people you’ve grown up with, schooled with, met in recent years and compare how you all live. Most people fall into fairly similar scenarios, Kids, marriages, mortgages, careers, all that ‘grown up’ stuff. And then there is me…
For 10 years now I’ve been racing, delving deeper and deeper into an obsessive state. Some people can race as a hobby, pop in for a few years then walk away, ride when it suits them, but not me. No, I’ve got to get my fix as often as possible; there just isn’t a part of me that considers life away from the track. I spend every waking minute thinking about it, considering how my actions today effect my racing, thinking about what work has to be done in the garage, when could I next book in for some more laps, it absolutely defines who I am.
I’ve had to sacrifice to fulfil this addiction through the years, just as all racers do. I’ve walked away from my studies, missed opportunities to travel with friends, and just generally had to skip all those little niceties in life in order to buy that next set of tyres. Two years ago I made the largest step of all, and moved myself 3500kms away from the life I had grown accustomed to, just to feed the racer in me. Racing in one state was no longer enough, and having won a Supersport state title, I wanted to challenge myself with better riders and new tracks.
It’s that challenge which keeps bringing me back. Sure I enjoy my racing, I love everything about it, but once I leave pit lane and close that visor I stop smiling. I’m always out there each and every time, working to be better than last time. Everything becomes measured in thousandths of a second, every instance matters; there just isn’t a moment on the track that I’m not considering how to better myself. If I don’t come in from the track absolutely spent I didn’t try hard enough, and that means all that hard work, all that sacrifice for the weeks prior were for nothing. That’s why I have to give it my all, it justifies everything when you get back to the pits and see you’ve done your best ever lap, finished higher than ever, won that 10 lap battle.
I had finally gotten myself to a position where I was racing for places on the podium at national events; I managed it twice in the ASBK championship last year. That feeling of euphoria I had been chasing absolutely couldn’t be beaten; those podiums are without doubt among the most memorable moments of my life. There was a part of me that wanted to enjoy where I was, to keep that winning feeling, but there was an even bigger part of me that wanted to take a running jump at a new challenge. I wanted to force myself into learning again, all just to be faster than last time.
So, naturally as an almost entirely self-funded racer, the logical step was to walk into my nearest dealer and sign up for a brand new ZX10-R. What better way to improve yourself than to race against THE best in the country in the superbike ranks? Watching what the current crop of Superbike riders can do on track is just awe inspiring, and I want nothing more than the chance to pace myself off of something that once seemed so far away. It’s that final challenge in Australian racing. I know I’m in over my head, I know these guys are at another level, but to finally have the chance to go head to head with the best in the country, that is an chance I simply could not deny myself.
It’s often hard to justify to others why I do this, but I’m not doing this for any one else. I’m doing this for me, and there is for me something about racing that nothing else can even come close to comparing with. Rubbing elbows down Gardner straight at 270km/h, riding towards a hairpin determined not to brake until after the other guy does, getting kicked out of the seat and being fractions of a second away from a hospital trip only to get back to wide open throttle just as soon as you can.
Most people consider me mad, and that’s a fair observation; racers really are something else.