MCNews.com.au: I’m here with Levi Day, another South Australian racer that’s having a little bit of success and building a career overseas. So run us through what’s happened in the last few seasons for you, Levi.
Levi: “Yeah, I did a few seasons in the 125 Championship back here in Australia and then jumped into Supersport class and yeah, definitely learned a lot on that. I had a factory-built Suzuki by Phil Tainton and ran that just with my dad. And so we thought last year, for 2013, we’d go over to England, we’ll have a crack over there, because you know the racing over there is good and very competitive obviously, so I thought I’m 24, I’d finished my apprenticeship and go overseas and see what we can do with the racing.”
MCNews.com.au: You’re actually a talented little bugger all around… You’re a talented drummer and you do some drumming teaching, a qualified fitter and turner and you’re racing internationally, I mean, life’s pretty good as Levi, isn’t it?
Levi: “Yeah, no complaints from me, I’ve worked pretty hard when I was younger and obviously still. Yeah, I was teaching drums back in Mt. Gambier while I was racing there and did an apprenticeship as well, because my dad said, “Look, if you want to go and race overseas, you do need something to fall back on,” and that’s sort of fallen into place quite well now. This new team I’m riding for, CPE Motorsport, they own an engineering company, so I’m able to work for them during the week at their engineering shop and then race on the weekends with them, so yeah, it’s definitely working out really well.”
MCNews.com.au: And you’ve been fitter and turnering in Mt. Gambier to get back over there and help pay the bills in the off-season.
Levi: “Yeah, I mean everyone knows what the racing’s like in this day and age at the moment, so we have to pay a little bit for our ride and this team’s definitely really helped me out a lot more this year than previous years and yes I’ve been working hard back in Mt. Gambier at a local engineering shop, trying to save some money for this season.”
MCNews.com.au: And tell us a little bit about the category you’re riding in and the bike you’ll be riding.
Levi: “I’m in British Superstock 600, so I did that last year as well with MotoBreakers Kawasaki and really enjoyed it, they’re a great team and I rode a Kawasaki ZX-6R, and I had a crew chief by the name of Alan Cook. And he used to work at Crescent Suzuki and he’s an engine tuner and so he’s coming on board with me in the new team at CPE Motorsport, so it’s good that I’ll be on the same bike again, Kawasaki, working with the same guys. So yeah, I think it’s a positive step forward and we’ve also got a guy named John Crockford who used to ride for Crescent Suzuki in British Superbikes back in about 2001, so he’s sort of our rider mentor, he’ll be walking the tracks with me and my teammate Rohan Miller and yeah, teach me everything that he can.”
MCNews.com.au: And is the Kawasaki the bike to be on in that class?
Levi: ”I think so, yeah, I mean the Kawasaki and the Yamahas are the two top bikes over in England and for the last two seasons that I know of, the Kawasakis have both won the championships, so yeah, I get along with it really well over there and the guys that work on it seems to know it inside-out.”
MCNews.com.au: And will you be based in a different part of the UK this year with the move to the new team?
Levi: “Yeah, my girlfriend is from England so I was living with her last year, with her family, which was really supportive, in Colchester, so now that I’m riding for the new team, we’re moving down to Portsmouth, which is quite far down South, but yeah, to be able to race motorbikes and work for the team, we’ve sort of had to make those sacrifices and go with them.”
MCNews.com.au: And can you tell us about your favourite circuit so far in the UK?
Levi: “Well, I put it on pole at Knockhill last year, so I’d have to say that’s one of my favourites, I think it’s quite similar to my home track, Mac’ Park in Mt. Gamber, so I just seemed to gel with it straight away, but I also had some good results at Oulton Park in Snetterton. So I’d say Oulton Park is on par with Knockhill as one of my favourites, it’s quite an undulating circuit and a bit of a roller coaster.”
MCNews.com.au: And so you’re looking to set yourself up for a potentially long term career in the BSB classes?
Levi: “I’d like to think so, yeah. I mean I got 9th in my first season over there so as long as we keep working hard this season and can get on the podium and consistently be up the front, I don’t see why there’s any reason we can’t be over there for quite a while.”
MCNews.com.au: And away from the race track, what’s your favourite part for being in the UK?
Levi: “Everything’s pretty close, especially coming from Australia, we can go to most places on the weekends pretty easily, nothing’s too far and things like that. And obviously having my girlfriend over there as support is a huge help as well. I think it would be quite different if I was there on my own, a lot of racers seem to be doing it pretty tough that way.”
MCNews.com.au: And does the family go over and visit at all?
Levi: “Yeah, mum and dad came over last year, they came over four weeks to England, to Brands Hatch and Snetterton and then dad came over to Suzuka as well, when I did the Suzuka 8 Hours last year.”
MCNews.com.au: And how did Suzuka go?
Levi: “It was up and down, it was my first time at Suzuka and I’d never ridden a superbike and never used slick tyres either, so I had quite a lot take in all at once and obviously at such a big event it was pretty full on, but we qualified 31st and I think I was just behind John McGuinness and the TT Legends team, but in the race we had a crash quite early on and so the bike was in the pits for about three hours of the eight hours, so, we did get back out there and finished the race, so the team, they were reasonably happy that we at least finished and yeah, hopefully I can get back there again this year.”
MCNews.com.au: Were you on a Kawasaki there as well?
Levi: “No, that was on an Aprilia RSV4 superbike, so yeah, again, that was a massive change from the Superstock 600 I’d been riding in England. But yeah, I think riding the classics at an event like the Island Classic has helped me learn to adapt my riding style to different bikes fairly quickly, because riding drum brakes and treaded tires and then going to disc brakes with fairly slick tyres is a huge change, so I didn’t find it too hard to change to the Aprilia.”
MCNews.com.au: And the Aprilia is quite an amazing little weapon, it’s got an awesome sound. What times did you get down to at Suzuka?
Levi: “I think my fastest was about 2 minutes 12, so I was a good couple of seconds off the fast boys, but with guys like Josh Waters and Josh Brookes up the front end, obviously with a bit of experience at Suzuka and they’re obviously very talented riders, I was really happy with where I was at.”
MCNews.com.au: Well, it looks as though everything’s falling into place for this year. You’ve got a fund raiser in the offing I believe.
Levi: “Yeah, February 15th, I’ve got a fundraiser down in Mt. Gambier at one of the local football clubs, information can be found on my website at leviday57.com and yeah, I’m just trying to do everything possible to raise some funds to go back and have a good year this year.”
MCNews.com.au: Alright, mate, all the best with that and thanks for chatting with us!
Levi: “Cheers, guys!”