News 27 Apr 2022

727 Moto shifts focus towards season-end with Darwin absence

Crew chief and team manager Paul Free parts ways three rounds in.

Image: Foremost Media.

727 Moto will be absent from the Hidden Valley round of the 2022 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), instead shifting its focus towards the second half of the season while also notably parting ways with team manager and crew chief Paul Free.

The enhanced Queensland effort emerged in 2022 with the line-up of current Australian Supersport champion Broc Pearson and former European Superstock champion Jed Metcher, paired with the technical expertise of Free and Stewart Winton.

However, the results achieved to date have admittedly not met the squad’s expectations in the premier class, leading to the team owner Travis Schmitz reevaluating the approach and the way finances are allocated as the mid-point of the season approaches.

“Where we have got to with the set-up, truck and how organised we are is [thanks to] Paul,” 727 Moto owner Travis Schmitz told CycleOnline. “Unfortunately, we aren’t doing too well, we have spent a lot of money and we need to go back to basics. We have got to do what we have got to do to move forward and do the best thing for the team and the riders.

“I think everyone had much bigger expectations on our results and they are just not there. I just want to make sure we have bikes that our guys can feel comfortable on and can build confidence on. Hopefully we will push well into that top 10.”

Longtime factory Honda team manager and owner Free has a proven championship-winning pedigree, achieving success with a multitude of riders, including in recent years Troy Herfoss at Honda and Mike Jones upon transitioning to DesmoSport Ducati.

As part of the 727 Moto team’s plan to maximise results in the remaining races this year, they will sit out the upcoming Darwin round to focus their efforts testing for later events such as Morgan Park and Phillip Island.

“As far as Darwin goes, we absolutely support ASBK and the series,” Schmitz added. “If we were competitive in the championship we would be at every single round and the reason we are not going to go to Darwin, is that we want to spend that money on testing to make sure we have a good second half of the year.”

Metcher currently sits 12th in the ASBK championship standings, with highly-rated newcomer Pearson P16 after being forced to miss Wakefield’s races following a warm-up crash on the weekend.