There will be plenty written about Oli Bayliss this year as he debuts in the 600cc Supersport Championship. As reported in our extensive Supersport wrap, at the end of the recent ASBK two-day test young Bayliss was third fastest. A remarkable effort considering his tender years.
So how did those close to him reckon he went? We spoke to his famous father Troy, and also his new Crew Chief, mentor and as he says ‘new Dad’, the vastly experienced Glen Richards.
Richards has been around race tracks and paddocks for decades and brings a wealth of experience with him as a rider, mechanic, crew chief, rider advisor and mentor.
First up Troy Bayliss
MCNews: How do you rate Oli’s first days on the bike.
Troy: Ollie has now had six days on the bikes and he’s been impressive, getting better and better, and he hasn’t scathed one yet. He’s absolutely loving it, so I’m sure he’s going to learn a lot come the first race. No one wants to show him anything on track, he’s done it all by himself.
“The only time he’s been with anyone was with me, at Morgan Park to do a few laps. But that’s it, you don’t believe what anyone here in this paddock tells you… You do not. Unless you’re talking to me, I’ll tell you the truth. You have to work it out for yourself, and he’s going to have to work a lot of things out when it comes to the first race. But he’s having a great time, we’re looking forward to seeing how the season goes.”
Glen Richards on Oli Bayliss
MCNews: And Glen can you explain your role with Oli and how it came to be?
Glen Richards: “I’m the new dad now, aren’t I, I’m Oli’s dad! I’m doing quite a few jobs really. I’m looking after Oli, as in a crew chief role, obviously in a small team it’s a hand on job, compared to where I was a crew chief in BSB in the last few years. I’ve got one extra set of hands in Jonno at the track, so there’s two of us. I enjoy that side, I like being hands on, I’m just trying to do the best job I can, in giving Oli as much experience from my point of view, which is obviously always going to be a little bit different to his dad’s.
“Ben [Henry] back at the workshop has done a fantastic job and got the engines working well, Troy has been flat out helping me build the bikes, we only started building the bikes less than a month ago. We’ve done quite a bit of testing now and Oli has done 37s first time – he did 37.4s and last time he was racing he was doing 49s on the a 300, so he’s having a massive steep learning curve. All credit to him, he’s chipped away at it, bit by bit, got faster and faster, as the testing has gone on, so I’m well impressed with his attitude and his ability to work through a little program of testing. At 15 years of age I think it’s amazing really.
“I helped Alex Lowes with many things, I did three years in WorldSBK and at that stage I had retired from racing, but was still riding the Suzuki as a test rider, and helping Alex at race meetings. After three years of that it was one of those things, he was sort of moving forward with his career, and I wanted to be a bit more hands on, on the bikes, so I became a crew chief in the BSB, where I was working purely on the motorbike with Jake Dixon. Again that was a little team and I really enjoyed that but now I’m back in Australia and I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I spoke to Troy about helping out with Ollie and so far what we’ve done the last month has been a massive job to build two bikes and test, you know in a month, but we’ve done it. Like I said there’s a very good base, with Cube Racing, and the help that Troy has around him, an easy thing to do, to set the 600 team up really.”
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