Revolving racer – Aiden Wagner | Columns | Gassit Garage
Aiden Wagner- It’s been a crazy couple of months but all the effort has been well worth it and now my aim is to win the 2019 ASBK title and make the statement that “I’m back”.
I’ve just finished two days of testing at Wakefield Park to get ready for the second round and this weekend I’ll be racing motocross. So there’s no slowing down just yet!
I ride a lot on the dirt; it’s my main form of training. It’s also how I got back into racing after my third right shoulder reconstruction and full left knee replacement last year.
While out training I got quicker and quicker and ended up doing lap times that were competitive with Pro riders. I thought seriously about racing MX full-time this year but I really wanted to prove that I am still a competitive road racer.
When you race overseas (Aiden ran in World Supersport for three years) you are only as good as your last race. Not many people get to know exactly what goes on inside teams and it’s easy for those watching from the outside to come to the wrong conclusions about a rider.
I knew I could be strong again after my body was rebuilt but all the factory rides were taken for 2019 so I had to do it on my own.
Getting a team together, testing, then racing and winning at the first round of ASBK at Phillip Island has been absolutely non-stop action.
Sam Costanzo (of Sydney-based Landbridge Transport) he got me on a bike straight after I called him. He helped sort out a secondhand YZF-R1 just to get me started. Sam is a family friend of my grandparents and has always had faith in me and my riding.
It just went from there with Adrian Monti, my crew chief and K-Tech Suspension technician, and Louis Grech, of Melbourne’s Platinum Motorcycles, getting onboard. I’m also getting a lot of help from Ryan Taylor as mechanic and rider mentor. He knows Yamahas like the back of his hand and been in the game a long time. YRT’s John Redding has just offered us his personal race truck for the rest of the season, which will be a great help.
In the lead-up to the first round at Phillip Island we got a standard 2019 YZF-R1 (not an M model) and some parts from YRT. We also had a 2018 model we’d done some pre-season testing on.
This was a crashed demo write-off I got off Caboolture Motorcycles, which has helped me out with my racing since I was five years old.
So we decided to stick with what we knew rather than try and set up the 2019 R1 from scratch. (Aiden set pole, then had two wins and a second placing to win the round and take a 16-point lead into Wakefield Park later this month).
We’ve now spent two days at Wakefield Park on the 2019 bike and it’s working really well (Aiden finished up third fastest behind Troy Herfoss and Wayne Maxwell and ahead of Josh Waters at that test).
I like the high-speed GP-type circuits. These are my strong points so my expectation is to win at The Bend (Round 3), Phillip Island (Round 6) and Sydney Motorsport Park (final round) and get podiums at the other tracks to win the championship.
My first test at Eastern Creek in December was the first time I’d ridden a Superbike since 2015 (a Paul Free Honda). After a couple of sessions I felt really comfortable. We found a lot of speed in the fast turns and that that’s how we set the bike up with the K-Tech suspension (R1 M model use Öhlins).
People are commenting that I run wide lines and higher corners speed and that comes from those seasons riding World Supersport.
Things will change for the tighter tracks like Wakefield Park but we’ll still be strong.
ASBK is very competitive. The factory-backed riders are strong but so are other riders like Mike Jones. He’s another privateer who is really experienced and is going to be a contender for race wins, and the championship as well.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead but it’s started off in the best possible way.
As appeared in AMCN mag Vol 68 No 18