Skip to content

Racer of the week – Tayla Relph

When the Yamaha YMF R3 Cup Championship first got announced it had my attention straight away! $7,999 for the bike and a full race kit, it’s a package that grabs your attention straight away. It was something I was highly interested in doing but unfortunately we ran out of time and we were already committing to the Moto3 Championship in ASBK. I have kept a close eye on the R3 Cup and have been itching to have a go since they first got on track. When I got the call from Yamaha and my Sponsor Steve Thibou from SpeedAngle Australia asking if I wanted to race at Round four of the Australian Championship at Phillip Island it was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse. As the R3 Championship was coming to a close I knew I needed as much track time as possible, so with the help of Race Center, SpeedAngle, Yamaha, AMCN and Pirelli I was able to attend the Winton private test days. Hopping from a GP Spec bike to a purpose built road bike I knew there would have been major differences between the two. Not only did I have to change my riding style completely to suit the R3, I also had to familiarise myself to the weight, size and handling difference between the two bikes. My first laps on the Yamaha R3 were slow but nevertheless I had a smile on my face when I came in to the pits. After finishing the two-day test at Winton I was improving every time I went on track and that’s all we could ask for considering the short amount of time we had. Phillip Island and Winton Motor Raceway are two completely different styled tracks and I was curious as to how the R3 would handle on a track designed for GP bikes. Unfortunately, due to the weather on Friday we didn’t get too much time on the bike but I finished the day happy with my times and knew there was going to be some close racing in store. I had one goal for the weekend, to finish in the top 5.

In qualifying I managed to put the AMCN YMF R3 in 6th place which myself and Race Center were happy with. We had three races over the weekend with some tough competition, some of the hardest racing I have experienced all year. If I could name two things I learnt from this experience, it would be both aggression and trust. The racing is so close in the R3 cup that you have to be aggressive into the corners, if you see a gap you have to take it and that is something I was struggling with at the beginning of the weekend, but to be aggressive into the corners you must trust the bike. After multiple changes to the suspension, I was gaining more trust on the R3 and my times were improving each lap. After finishing the first two races in sixth and fifth I was aware of my strengths and weaknesses and knew what I had to do in the last race. I had a great start to the final race and knew I had both Jack Passfield and Ty Lynch close behind me so I had to give it my all. Positions changed each corner and times were dropping every lap before the dash to the finish line where I crossed in 8th place; just 0.7 seconds away from 6th position. With a 6-5-8 finishing, this put me in sixth place overall in my first outing on the AMCN YMF R3 cup Championship. Overall the experience was fantastic and it is definitely a championship I would suggest to anyone. The thing I love most about the R3 Cup is that all the bikes are the same with strict championship rules that everyone must follow, meaning know that your bike is just as fast as the guy next to you, and that’s something that the Moto3 category needs to start looking at to increase numbers on the grid. It’s great knowing that you can spend $7,999 and get the YMF R3 Cup package, put the race kit on and be competitive with the front runners without dropping an enormous amount of money to have an engine that is competitive. Yamaha have really hit the mark with this championship and I hope to see the competition grow in the 2017 season.