Features 7 Feb 2023

Industry: McMartin Racing's Craig McMartin

McMartin Racing team owner on outfit's history and 2023 dynamic.

McMartin Racing has become a force to be reckoned with in the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) through recent years, with the capabilities of triple champion Wayne Maxwell and the technical expertise of Adrian Monti – among others – providing a formidable, championship-winning combination under the leadership of team owner Craig McMartin. With Josh Waters now at the helm of the V4 R for 2023 and the relationship with Boost Mobile as title sponsor no more, McMartin shares a brief history of the team and dynamic for 2023 in this Industry interview.

Image: Supplied.

Can you provide a brief background on the McMartin Racing team? Obviously, you have a racing background and have now translated that into what has become a very successful outfit in the ASBK paddock, but what does it mean to you to see the team achieve what it has?

As you know, I was a racer, quite a few years ago now, I suppose. I still love it and Beau [Beaton] and I were riding the Panigale Rs when they were current, and that is sort of how it all started, with myself and Beau riding. I’ve given up riding, but I still like it, I still want to be at the track and want to be involved, so I thought ‘oh well, let’s keep the team running and I will run someone’. Then Jamie Stauffer came onboard when Beau couldn’t do it, and he did a few rounds on the Panigale R and then once we got the V4, Jamie thought he might have been finished, but then he had a ride of the V4 and went, ‘nah, let’s do a couple of rounds’. So we did the last two of 2019 and Jamie went quite well at Eastern Creek. Then Wayne approached me about having a test ride on the bike, because obviously, Suzuki were pulling out, so yeah we went to Goulburn and went really fast for the first time on the bike, and the rest is history, we got on from there.

Just how instrumental has it been having Wayne part of the infrastructure? Some very successful years there while he was riding for you guys. Can you outline what his involvement is with the McMartin Racing team now?  

Wayne made a huge impact on the team when he came onboard. With all of his experience from other factory teams in all of his years of riding in big supported teams, he brought quite a lot to the team and having Adrian Monti has been a godsend. He’s made a huge difference to the team, and with Wayne, he has done an amazing job for us over the last few years. Wayne said to us that even though he was retiring, he still wanted to be involved in the team, which is really, really good for us, we want someone like Wayne still onboard. He can have a huge input with his experience for instance, he can go around Eastern Creek and have a look at Josh at the two-day test, where he thinks he can improve, and he still has a really, really good understanding, so it would be crazy not to have someone like Wayne still involved with us.

Looking at the recent two-day ASBK pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park, by all accounts, it looked very successful for Josh and the team. The pace Josh was able to show in a range of conditions was pretty menacing. How would you rate that test and do you feel there is much more to come?

Yeah, there’s still more to come, I think. The test went really well, probably the first day we didn’t make the gains like we wanted to, but it was still very productive because we worked out a few things that didn’t seem to get us any more pace. So then, Adrian had a good think on Wednesday night and we came back on Thursday morning with some good ideas to try, and obviously, we kept on improving and improving with each session, and to do a 1m29.6s that Josh did in that last session with the heat, was pretty impressive. I think we improved each session on the second day, and we have got ideas to try for when we go back next time. But yeah, we will get through Phillip Island first. Overall, a very successful test that we are happy with.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Boost Mobile has been quite a prominent partner with the team over the last few years. At the test, Josh was seen riding the Boost logo absent from his suit and the team’s livery. Can you share if that partnership is going to continue? 

We were really lucky to have Boost onboard for those three years with Wayne, to win two championships and to get second in the third one is fantastic with those guys onboard. It’s just, you know, at the end of the day it’s business, and they were sort of fairly keen to continue, but we just realistically couldn’t come to an agreement with how the bike needed to look, for a dollar figure, for instance, going into the team how the bike needed to look with all of our other sponsors onboard. It was just one of those things, didn’t come to an agreement. Like I said, it is business, we need to try to keep everybody happy and we are moving on. We may do some, maybe a one-off round together, but we will just have to see what it is.

Does that leave the team still in search of a title sponsor then?

I’m really lucky that I have got basically a private supporter who doesn’t even have anything on the motorbike. We had a good chat with him about Boost and that kind of stuff, and he said he is happy to cover any shortfall that we would have with not having Boost. Another title sponsor would be nice, definitely, yes.

Obviously, K-Tech was quite prominent in the team’s branding last year, but by all accounts, it looks as though that partnership will continue through 2023?

K-Tech, they are a great company, great people and they are 100 percent supporting us this year. They were very kind to us the last few years and have supplied a transporter. The only thing that will change from last year to this year, they won’t be bringing the transporter to the track, but they have upped their support in other areas with some more shocks and cartridges and a few other things. I am extremely happy to still have those guys onboard, they are great people.