Multiple national champion talks 2018, recent cycling success and more.
There’s been a touch of uncertainty about the future of Troy Herfoss since the closure of Team Honda Racing at the end of last year, but yesterday we received the first official sign that he will be back vying for the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) once again with Honda in 2018. Behind the scenes it’s been no major secret that the 30-year-old would be part of a new single-rider team formed by former national level racer Deon Coote, joined by trusted team manager/technician Shaun Clarke and armed with the developing CBR1000RR SP2, but complete details are yet to be announced. What has been confirmed is that he will compete as a wildcard in the Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) opener, in addition to round one of the ASBK at Phillip Island next month. CycleOnline.com.au spoke to Herfoss today about his season ahead and also about his impressive performance at the recent Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Victoria.
Always good to catch up Troy. How’s Phillip Island today?
It’s good to be back on track for another year. It’s all pretty exciting for us at the moment, as it was announced yesterday that we will be doing the World Superbike wildcard, which is something that I have always wanted to do. I’m pretty stoked to be able to tick that box this year, but for now we are just working through a few things with the ASBK CBR1000RR SP2 bike to try and understand the electronics as best as possible and it’s all going really well right now. Obviously last year we got the new bike and we sort of had our hands tied a little bit to what we could adjust on the bike, so there are improvements coming through and we have a good package so far. Like I said, it’s pretty exciting right now.
Now, your deal hasn’t officially announced, but for a number of months it’s been pretty widely-known that you will be back aboard a Honda in the ASBK. What can you tell us so far?
I can say that I have done a two-year deal to stay with Honda and the team will remain pretty similar to what it was. Unfortunately it will only be a one-rider team this year, but I think that’s just a matter of making sure we can get everything right. Obviously Paul Free ran the team for a long time and had it fairly well dialled in, so by no means we think it’s going to be easy to get straight back to his level, but we are definitely working hard at the moment to make sure we can come out at round one and look like we belong here.
And yesterday it was revealed that plans are in place for you to do double-duty at Phillip Island, riding WorldSBK alongside the ASBK opener. Excited for that one?
Yeah, for sure. Originally when we talked about doing a two-year deal, which is something that I have always wanted to do to have more security and know that I’ll be riding with the same team for a few years, we also talked about doing a wildcard in the second year. We all got a little bit excited really and have decided to do it this year. At the moment it hasn’t really sunk in as to what will actually be happening, but I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work. I sort of followed Mike Jones’ weekend in 2016 when he attempted to do the double-duties and he managed to get through it pretty well. He said it was tough, but I think it’s doable. The World Superbike format, the way it is having a race on Saturday and Sunday, will make it good. I honestly think it’s going to help me in both classes, as the bikes are going to be quite similar.
Considering that the weekend is a national championship round in itself, is it an advantage or risk to ride the world championship races?
In my head it’s a clear advantage. I have got the World Superbike test where I’m going to be on track with the fastest riders in the world, so my level going into the first practice session of ASBK is going to be already quite high. Like I said, the bikes are quite similar, so I’m just going to be getting more track time. Obviously I do a lot of work to make sure that I’m in good enough shape, so that’s not an issue at all and we have enough personnel around to make sure my bikes are in tip-top condition. A little bit of luck has to be on my side, but tyres and bikes are the same. I think it’s going to be a good challenge.
A couple of weeks back we saw you put in that incredible performance at the Road National Championships, leading against a selection of Australia’s best cyclists and displaying your capabilities in that field yet again. That must have been a mega experience!
That was one of the most incredible experiences that I have had in sports… that was up there in moments I’ve had. Like I said, it was just incredible to be there in front of the pro peloton, but it’s a different buzz to the motorbike obviously. The adrenaline is really high on a motorbike, but the difference was the crowd, which were basically reaching out and almost touching me. They were screaming for the underdog to come through. Unfortunately I got caught with a few kilometres to go, however it was an amazing experience and I’ll definitely be back next year. The Road Nationals works really well for the off-season training and keeps me in really good shape, so I really enjoy it.
This year is shaping up to be a really strong one in the ASBK, with selected riders switching teams, Troy Bayliss coming out of retirement and also a couple of talented rookies stepping up on good machinery. I know you’d be thriving on all of that…
Yeah, I am for sure. Every year I say it will be a good year to win and every year is getting more competitive. It’s always the same, but we always talk about who is going where and who is going to be fast, although it will still probably be a couple of guys in the end who will win races and I just hope that I’m one of them.
No worries mate, well thanks for the interview and we will see you in the coming weeks.