Interviews 6 Feb 2018

Profiled: Broc Pearson

Recalling the international career so far of ASBK Supersport newcomer.

Words: Russell Colvin

Youthful Queenslander Broc Pearson, without a doubt, is one rider who will be a serious force to be reckoned with in this year’s Australian Supersport Championship, set to make his debut in the 600cc category at Phillip Island on the latest Yamaha YZF-R6.

Gold Coast-based Pearson’s two-wheel career kick-started at the age of three after his father Ian placed a Yamaha PW50 in their lounge room for a prized Christmas present.

The now 17-year-old started riding the PW50 with training wheels, but at the age of four he started racing flat-track on that exact bike. For the next 10 years, Pearson kept on racing flat-track, which saw him racking up around 20 state titles and eight Australian national titles between 2017-2013.

On top of that, Pearson also received the award for ‘Rider of the Year Award’ from Motorcycling Queensland (MQ), which is basically the biggest award that MQ awards. This is in fact one of the biggest achievements that Pearson has had thus far in his career.

It wasn’t until the age of 14 where Pearson’s road racing career swung into life after his father bought a CF Moto for him to start racing on, purely to see if he enjoyed it or not: “I really enjoyed racing the CF Moto and being on the tar, compared to the dirt,” Pearson explained “So we thought we would keep at and see what we could make out of the whole road racing side of things.”

With road racing now firmly on Pearson’s radar, he ended up getting Yamaha YZF-R15, which he first raced on competitively. After racing in a handful of club events here and there, building up his skills, Pearson’s next step was to depart our shores to go and race in the Asia Dream Cup championship, which races in conjunction with all rounds of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Image: Russell Colvin.

“We didn’t go to bad I suppose,” he reflected. “I wanted to do a learning year in my first season, then have a real crack at it the following year.” Pearson did manage to take a race win in the 2016 season, which was at Buddh International Circuit in India.

While Pearson did manage to nail a few pole positions and podium finishes in 2016, he did unfortunately step off the bike a few times or get taken out by other riders, which saw him finishing fourth overall in the championship fight.

“After that we made the plan to try and find the right path to go down for 2017 as the Asia Dream Cup closed down,” explained Pearson. “We decided to go with Yamaha and wanted to do a year in the YMF R3 Cup and the Supersport 300 class and possibly go overseas or jump up to the Supersport category for 2018.”

Pearson’s debut in the 2017 Supersport 300/R3 class got off on the right foot, posting the fastest time overall in the combined times in the official pre-season test at Phillip Island in late January. However, before the 2017 season got underway, drama struck when he was seriously injured while training on a go-kart track on the Gold Coast. He was sidelined for six months.

“They had seven tyres which were all zip tied together in one of the chicanes on the track,” he said. “As I came through I saw the tyre right near my knee, so I lifted my knee to try and miss it, but it caught the inside of my knee and ripped me off the back of the bike and somehow ended up in a barrier.”

The crash resulted Pearson in breaking his left and right femur, compressing four vertebrae, cracking three vertebrae, as well as fracturing his left elbow, right shoulder and had abdominal damage, which meant a massive amount of blood loss.

“When I stood up, even just going to school on crutches I was scared to walk around,” added Pearson. “Just having people near me I just had that fear if I fell over, what would happen, as I was told by the hospital if I were to take another hit to my back, I would have ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”

It was a massive mind game for Pearson to get back to where he is now. However, he overcame the mental challenges and got back enough fitness to come back to racing. In fact, three months after his accident, he was already walking and after four and a half months he went and saw a doctor, who was able to do his own personal clearances. As Pearson had done enough in the past to get a clearance, it enabled him to come back to racing at Morgan Park in August.

Pearson managed to score a solid fourth place overall in the Supersport 300 class with a 6-4-3 result: “I probably came back to racing a bit too early,” admitted Pearson. “It’s one of those things but as you don’t want to sit on the sidelines, even though you are being realistic about it, as you know you are not going to win and you will be a bit off the pace.

Image: Russell Colvin.

“For me at the time I had done nothing apart from sit in a bed for three months and all I wanted to do was get out there and ride, so I probably came back a bit early and it’s mentally hard to get out there – especially in the Supersport 300 class, where the riders are so close and aggressive against each other.”

While Pearson didn’t set the world on fire, he did quite well by scoring a third place in race three at Morgan Park, along with a few top five finishes at the remaining two rounds of last season. And for 2018, he leaps up to the Supersport class with support from Yamaha Racing Development (YRD).

He doesn’t expect to come and win races at the start of the season, but aims to be in the top five at Phillip Island, then hopefully the top three come round two at Wakefield Park. From that point he hopes to start getting into the championship.

“It’s one of those things where I just have to be patient about it all,” said the teenager, who displays maturity beyond his years. “It’s a new bike that Yamaha have released, so the development on it is quite fresh and there are not a lot of parts for it at the moment.”

In what was only his second ride aboard the R6 at last week’s official test, Pearson managed to post the seventh quickest time overall by lapping the 4.445km seaside circuit with a 1m38.242s in his final session on the Wednesday afternoon.

“We had a really good test,” continued Pearson, who had only ridden his R6 previously at Queensland Raceway in late January. “It was the first time we really had the bike set-up, so we left Phillip Island pretty happy. I’m confident we should be able to get up there and mix it with the front-runners come round one. As I said, it’s all about being patient and taking the year as it comes.”