Features 13 Mar 2024

Fast Thoughts: Troy Herfoss

Australian on standout first MotoAmerica appearance at Daytona.

It was a spectacular start to the MotoAmerica season at Daytona for Australian Troy Herfoss, immediately making an impact in what was his first outing with the Indian Motorcycle Racing team. The crafty 37-year-old finished the weekend P2 overall in both the King of the Baggers and Super Hooligan categories, managing to lead a number of laps including taking a win in the opening Super Hooligan race. Herfoss features in this latest Fast Thoughts interview.

Image: Supplied.

Racing two completely different classes…

I definitely like the Bagger. I’ve grown up on big bikes, even when I was 16 out of juniors. I bought the biggest bike I could buy. I also went straight to 600s and Superbikes then, originally. The Hooligan feels like we’re racing Moto3. You don’t wear the tyre a lot, it turns really fast, whereas the Bagger’s sort of is like my dream bike. It’s like racing flat track with more grip. It’s kind of like supermoto, it’s everything I loved growing up. For that reason, it’s my favourite bike.

Gaining experience in at Daytona…

I overshot the chicane [on the last lap]. Probably because of what I did yesterday, people think I was trying to back the race up again. That wasn’t the plan, I just went in too deep and couldn’t stop. The bike backed in a little bit and I was going too fast to open the throttle to straighten the bike up. I messed it up. I don’t know if I could’ve won it, I’m not sure what the gap was. Once I messed it up I was like, ‘Shit, I better have a look now and try and draft him’. Then I messed that up too. I don’t know what I’m doing, [laughs]… It’s extremely frustrating, because I have good pace, but I don’t have the experience. I’ve done a lot of cycling in my time too and that’s all about draft, so I should be better.

The different ways to win in on a speedway…

I’m learning. A friend of mine, Peter Doyle messaged me yesterday with a link to watch Mat Mladin and Ben Spies years ago. I thought that was pretty interesting. Here’s the thought process, I had a gap to third and fourth. I knew I couldn’t lead, because he’s already drafted me twice, so I knew I had to back it up enough to where they get on and get checked up. If I back it up a little bit, they’re just going to come running at us. I didn’t realise Tyler [O’Hara] had crashed at that stage, so I was like half throttle down that back straight, hoping they’d pass me there so I could get a nice run to the finish line. But he was playing the game good, we went back to like second gear. Then I thought, ‘We have to go here.’ And I just pulled the pin and I went just as he passed me. I had a perfect draft, but Kyle did a really good job riding down the yellow line, he was tight and it made me have to go around the outside, which was a longer run to the finish. I just wasn’t good enough, but I’m happy to lead some laps at Daytona and happy that I can be competitive. It’s a long, long year. I’ve never done a championship of 10 rounds, so there’s 19 races to go. We’ll just keep chipping away and try and battle each and every weekend.

Image: Supplied.

Making a few mistakes trying to get away…

In the Hooligans race I made some mistakes, in this Baggers race I went wide at the first one to let him past. I didn’t realise I had a bit of a gap. That kind of fooled me cause then I thought I was quick enough to get a gap, then the next few laps went by and I was trying to break everyone. Then I couldn’t. There was a lot going through my head, I could talk all day about it.

COTA and Road Atlanta coming up…

I feel really good. It’s the same approach as Daytona for me. Just need to learn the tracks as fast as I can. It’s funny how the weekend played out, I feel like the guys got closer to me in the final day, even though I learned the track at the start. I just gelled really quickly, had really good pace and as the weekend went on I got quicker and quicker. But I felt so good today in the race, it’s frustrating not to be standing where Kyle [Wyman] is. In saying that, I don’t deserve it. It’s not like I think I deserve it, I just want to be there. I felt good in the infield and I could slow the race up in the first few laps, knowing I could make passes pretty much wherever I wanted too. I got some more good advice actually, another American superstar, Ben Spies came to me and said, ‘Troy, bugger the win, don’t worry about it. Sit on for four laps and go for hell in the last two’. He was right, it probably would’ve been close otherwise. Anyway, it didn’t happen.