Features 19 Sep 2023

Conversation: Glenn Allerton

Harvey Wiltshire race winner on Phillip Island form and 2023 remainder.

GT Racing team’s Glenn Allerton showed strong form at the third round of the 2023 Victorian Road Race Championship (VRRC) last weekend, winning the coveted Harvey Wiltshire Trophy feature race in addition to sweeping the Superbike encounters with a number of Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) contenders in attendance. The outing served as a great chance for riders and teams to get back out on track at Phillip Island during the lengthy ASBK season break, as Allerton now looks to draw on the positive weekend to finish the year in the best possible way. The three-time ASBK champion features in our latest Conversation.

Image: Foremost Media.

Congratulations on a successful weekend at Phillip Island! Leading into the event, what have you been doing in the break from the last ASBK round to stay sharp and keep things moving in the right direction? 

Obviously, still maintained my fitness and training. Also, we’ve had a fair bit of time to catch up on work with my business. Been doing a lot of mountain biking, I kind of like to change it up a little bit. Cycling is something that I like to do, so the last couple of years it has been a lot of road cycling, but sort of changed over to mountain biking to just keep it something fresh and something different. Got a new mountain bike and have been doing a fair bit of that. Just trying to keep myself fit, and as focused as I can because it has been a long break for us. It’s great to sort of get close to being on track again.

Obviously, for you this year going into the new GT Racing Team, and some changes throughout the year within the infrastructure, does this break really give you time to assess everything and make a plan, or come to grips with progress made, then really leap forward from there? 

100 percent, this break has been really good as far as like you said, taking a step back, assessing the areas we need to work on. Trevor and Sam have been really good at sort of identifying the areas we really need to work on, whether it be the spares that we need in the trailer…We’ve done some work to the transporter that we purchased earlier in the year. The break gave us a chance to add some wheel racks and just get all of our spares, spare parts box sorted out so then everything is more functional within the transporter. We actually took the time to go over the bikes, we pulled the bikes down and just checked every single little thing. We did find some issues that are just normal motorbike issues, like a little drama with the wiring harness and little things that we didn’t have time to do because everything was so rushed at the start of the year. So the break has been really good. Then Sam and I assessing the data that we have collected so far, making a plan for Phillip Island, putting all of the pieces into play, and then going there and executing a test like we did on the weekend. That’s why we have been so strong lately, just the planning and the time to put that all together.

The Harvey Wiltshire Trophy feature race on the weekend looked like a great battle, with you Troy Herfoss and Mike Jones separated by just 0.086s at the end. While I guess some of a weekend like that is used for testing for ASBK, I think it’s fair to say that is a race that everyone wants to win and you came out on top. How does that feel? 

Yeah, it’s great! I mean at the end of the day, we were there to test, but you know what Superbike riders are like, any racer wants to win when the light goes out and there is a race on the line. The feature race was a hell of a race. I have got to tip my hat to Mike, he did a great job at the start of the race because he crashed in the sprint race before that, and I am pretty sure he had to move over to another bike. He came out of the blocks fast, and that is really hard to do after an accident. So he was doing a great job out in front. Then he started to make a few little mistakes here and there, and probably sort of fell into some tyre wear issues. Of all of the riders, I was probably running the hardest tyre, so I was running the ‘A’ tyre that you have to use at Phillip Island, it’s a specific tyre for Phillip Island for the high temperatures and high lean angles. So as the race went on, I sort of got more and more comfortable and probably my advantage picked up towards the end of the race with grip. Yeah look, the battle was great because it was pretty clear that everybody wanted to win that race, even on the last lap, every one of us had a go at leading. Like, Mike was in the lead for a little bit of the last lap, and then I got the lead then Troy passed me into MG and finally I got him back before turn 11. Then to lead out onto the straight, it was close at the line, but on a superbike, most of the time if you lead out onto the straight and get decent drive you know you are going to get to the finish line first. I was really pumped to win that race, that was a good achievement and realistically at the moment, in our championship, Mike and especially Troy, they are the benchmark. If you look at the overall championship and the way it has been going lately, those two have been pretty much inseparable at the front of all the races. So, for me to battle with them is a great step and I’m happy with that, then to come out on top really is a testament to the accumulation of all the hard work we have put into this team.

Image: Foremost Media.

Looking at the results from the weekend, it reminds me of 2016 ASBK at Phillip Island when you swept the first round there. Once you start clicking off those wins, what is the mindset like? Also, how does it translate now into what’s coming up in the remaining ASBK races this year? 

Yeah look, it’s been a while since I’ve been at the front of a big race like that. Like yeah, I’ve raced some night races where we have had some close battles, but that race was really tough, because it was pretty clear that both Troy and Mike wanted to win. After the first race win, the boost of confidence that I gained from it knowing that if I got myself into the right place and made moves, I could win the races. Phillip Island can be a track where you need to time your run right, like you can have a run on somebody, but if you do it with two laps to go it can actually affect you because of the way the draft works down the straight. I just had the confidence after the first race that I could roll really fast in the flat sweeping turns, and roll up onto Mike or Troy and get a run on them and use the power of the BMW to get in front. Also, if I had to, I could make out-braking maneuvers. So, yeah it is very similar to 2016, all of those races were very tight, but I did have the confidence to know that I could go that little step further than everybody else. Heading to the ASBK round, it certainly gives me more confidence than we have had at any other point in the last two or three years, but I do know that we still have a lot of work to do. There’s no secret that Josh [Waters] and that Ducati are fast around that track, and for us to want to get to that top step of the podium when he is there, I still feel like we need to do some more work in between now and the race. We will keep pushing towards making the bike better.

That sounds promising, and with infrastructure being a privateer effort, can you outline the importance of achieving results like that and completing the remaining races on the best foot to make this outfit something that can be sustainable for the years to come?  

It’s really important, there’s nothing more motivating than good results, especially for the sponsors. At the moment we are in the middle of organising our sponsorship for next year, and to be hitting this form is exactly the boost that we needed. It’s great to repay Trevor’s confidence in me with some race wins. He has always said to me ‘look, I believe you can win, that’s never in doubt, we just need to give you the right piece of equipment.’ It’s still really important to deliver on that potential and for us to do that is a big box ticked, and now we move on to the next goal which is winning ASBK races. My confidence is really high, I just feel like every time we go out, we are getting stronger and stronger so it is inevitable that we are going to win races.

Really going from strength to strength! Looking to the future, obviously, with yourself racing in the premier class for GT Racing, is the team looking to expand into other classes or add another Superbike entry? 

It really just depends on sponsorship. As far as the second rider goes, it’s something that we have talked about, but it will really depend on how much sponsorship we can get together for next year’s racing. I’m doing the best I can right now to try and put together something with BMW and a few of our other sponsors, so that we can make this race team sustainable and not be such a burden on the people that are putting their money in already. I feel like what we are doing, if we just keep focused on what we are doing for now, then that gives the best opportunity to go forward. We’ve had a lot of really good help, Sam Costanzo has helped out a lot, you know the people from Alpha Racing have been helping too. We’ve got another guy helping us, Cody Bower as well on the electronics side, so it’s not just me, it’s not just Trevor, it’s a combination of all of us driving towards one goal. It’s all about the energy you have in a team, at the moment we great energy and that’s why we are performing at such a high level. I just want to maintain that, then if we can get enough sponsorship together, then maybe we can look at putting a second rider on. I’m sure that down the road in maybe two or three years’ time, we are going to have to find someone to do the job that I do and replace me, but at the moment we will just keep doing what we are doing.