Features 16 May 2023

Profiled: Paris Hardwick

BCperformance rider on rapid ASBK progression and racing a Superbike.

Continuing to learn with each outing in the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), 19-year-old Paris Hardwick has enjoyed a rapid journey in his road racing career to date. With his ASBK efforts supported by the coveted BCperformance outfit this year, Hardwick has greatly benefited from the experience and infrastructure around him as he looks to edge his way forward in the highly-competitive field. He features in our latest Profiled piece.

Hardwick started racing dirt track roughly at the age of seven, working his way up through the bigger capacity bikes and classes until he reached 16. From there, he made the transition to road racing and quickly found a passion for riding on the bitumen at track days onboard a 300cc machine.

“As soon as I turned 16, I was allowed to get the license and go and do some track days,” Hardwick said. “So I did that as soon as I could, and started with the 300, for about a year, then got an old gixxer 600 for about seven months and then I was just cruising around, doing decent lap times on them but nothing too special.

Image: Foremost Media.

“I just wanted to keep up with Dad, so we were like ‘oh we will just get a superbike and cruise around stuff’. As soon as I got that, I just started progressing, getting faster and faster, and I’ve been on the Superbike for just over a year now.”

Continuing to improve his times, Hardwick competed in St George Summer Night Series Races, where he was later offered the BCperformance opportunity by team owner Kelvin Reilley in ASBK through a unique set of circumstances.

“I never wanted to race or anything, I was too nervous, but Eastern Creek is my local track so my times were getting better and better, getting down to the mid-35s,” Hardwick stated. “I entered in the St George Summer Night Series and ended up going faster and getting better, then I was like ‘I’ll give ASBK a go’.

“Benny Burke, I was racing him in the night series and he was Kelvin’s old rider, but he had a big crash into turn nine and he broke a heap of ribs. He would have been out for the first few rounds of ASBK, so I met Kelvin through… I actually crashed at turn nine as well.

“I bent my frame and messed my bike up, so I went to Kelvin to fix it, and Kelvin had said he had been watching me for a while and yeah everything sort of just fell into place. Benny is coaching me now, and it is helping a lot. All of the data, and just everything Kelvin is showing me is helping so much.”

Hardwick raced the 2023 season-opening ASBK round on his own Kawasaki platform at Phillip Island, before riding the BCperformance Kawasaki from round two at Sydney Motorsport Park, with the differences in the team’s bike immediately noticeable for the teenager.

Image: Foremost Media.

“It happened a couple of weeks before round one at Phillip Island, but because it was so soon Kelvin had nothing ready and prepped,” Hardwick continued.”So round one I was just on my own bike still, but since Eastern Creek onwards I’ve been with him.

“It’s making the biggest difference. With all of the data, I get much fancier suspension than my other bike. We get all of the Motec data and Kelvin is so smart with it that he can tell me exactly what I’m doing, and it is helping me progress so much.”

Three rounds into the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship, Hardwick is 14th in the premier class standings, right on the cusp of moving up the order. With four rounds remaining in this year’s series – Hidden Valley next between 16-18 June – the number 72 is looking to progress as much as possible, with the goal of competing overseas in the future.

“We haven’t really talked about it yet [beyond 2023], I’m just in the team this year and who knows, I want to go overseas sometime but it just depends on how much I progress this year or next year,” he added.

“It has all happened so quickly, we are just playing it by ear I guess. They are so fast these guys. Each track, every time I have ridden the bike recently, I have just gone faster and faster. Really trying to get further up to be with Maxi [Stauffer] and Broc [Pearson] and stuff, but it’s still a little bit off. I have just got to keep progressing and just work on my riding.”