Features 12 Jul 2016

Fast Thoughts: Robbie Bugden

SA Kawasaki BCperformance racer on Queensland FX-ASC victory.

It’s been a strong comeback season for Robbie Bugden in 2016, contesting the Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship with SA Kawasaki BCperformance aboard the latest ZX-10R. Bugden sprung to the top of the points ladder last weekend at Queensland Raceway and CycleOnline.com.au spoke to him about the feat in this month’s Fast Thoughts interview.

Image: Keith Muir.

Image: Keith Muir.

Winning the Queensland FX-ASC round…

It was a dream result, really. Queensland rounds always have a lot of pressure for me because, as you know, I’ve got a good support group up here in Brisbane and they get out to the track to cheer us on. It was great actually, straight away we had the pace, but we also worked pretty hard to get consistency out of the bike and probably myself. That was ironed out and we got going really good – the more I ride this ZX-10R, the more I get comfortable on it and the results are starting to show that. So to win five out of the six races and take a good size lead in both championships is a dream result for me, so a massive thanks to the team for the effort and I couldn’t be more pumped.

Taking over the points lead…

Yeah, it’s good and we’re just getting stronger at the moment. I still think there’s more to come out of the bike and me as well, after taking 12 months off last year. To come back has been tougher than what I anticipated, but I think the weekend was the first time that I’ve been able to ride the bike the way I know I can, which is fast and consistent. It’s perfect timing, so now we just need to push on and obviously we go to Sydney next – the home round of my strongest competitors – and we’ll be pushing hard to keep it going.

The level of competition in 2016…

I think it’s pretty strong. It’s a little bit difficult to compare with the ASBK due to the fact that we’re running different tyres, but Benny [Burke] has been over there and had some pretty good results, so I’d say at the front it’s as fast as anywhere. There isn’t quite as many fast guys, but I think the pace at the front and the competition with the first four, five or six guys is as good as anywhere. It’s a good series and we’ll continue to try and put on a good show.

Image: Keith Muir.

Image: Keith Muir.

Challenges of having a year off…

Well, all the other boys were out there racing and fine-tuning their racecraft while I was spending 12 months at the beach, so to come back and jump straight back in the deep-end of the top level in Australia was always going to be tough. At the first round I lacked that little bit of speed, didn’t quite have the edge and we missed the settings with the bike, then in Adelaide I feel like we got the speed back, but my racecraft wasn’t there, so I personally probably lost a couple of races. To come to Queensland, I’d learnt a lot, put it all together and came away with a pretty dominant result. It’s been difficult, definitely a challenge, but I knew it would be, especially with a brand new bike. It’s onwards and upwards from here.

The Honey Badger Club…

It’s great and one of the things I love about racing here in Queensland. As I said at the top, I’ve got a lot of support here and the Honey Badgers is something that probably started from fairly humble beginnings. It’s grown and what we do is make it fun to come to the track. The barbecue’s running all day, there’s music and a few drinks kicking around, people socialising and having a good time. There were over 100 people there this time, so it goes from strength-to-strength and it’s a different way I can get out there and give my sponsors a little bit of publicity. They’re behind it as well, making it a success, and it’s working really well. It’s a bit of fun and will continue to grow, I’m sure.