With the 2014 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship set to get underway this weekend at Wakefield Park, some of the best riders in the country are chomping at the bit to get onto the track and strut their stuff.
The time for talk is over and as we finally get into the racing action, it is actions on the track that will speak louder than words.
Here some of the riders set to battle it out this weekend, to see how they are feeling ahead of the opening round:
Wayne Maxwell – Honda
“I’m not feeling too bad – just chipping away at it – heading towards Wakefield Park and ready to take on the first round.
“I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend – it’s going to be challenging with only limited preparation and I am carrying a bit of an injury, but I am looking forward to the challenge of it and to racing a few of the guys that I haven’t raced against in a number of years – that’s a challenge in itself.
“It’s a matter of us adapting to the specifications of the ASC and we’ve seen Glenn (Allerton) who was runner up to me in the ASBK last year go to the test and be quite a lot faster than a few of the other people. It’s just a matter of us adapting – we’ll get through this weekend and I am sure we will only get stronger.
“I think Glenn and a number of the other guys will make it a really interesting competition. I think the parity of the bikes is not something that we’re used to. But it is what it is and that just adds to the excitement and the challenge.”
Glenn Allerton – BMW
“I’m feeling pretty confident going into this weekend’s first round of the ASC. We’ve had a really good off-season, and the testing that we did a couple of weeks ago shows that we have got a really strong package and I’m really looking forward to going racing and trying to get out in front, and get my Pirelli Dynotech Motul BMW at the front.
“I don’t know who my biggest challengers are and it’s going to be difficult to say. Obviously the Australian Champion from last year in Wayne Maxwell and all the Team Yamaha riders are going to be hard to beat.
“So the challengers are going to come in many different forms because it is a stacked field, and the best I can do is just concentrate on what I’m doing and get the most out of the package that I have in the BMW and I think we’ll be fine.
“It’s really hard – especially for someone like me who has spent most of their life dedicated in trying to be a professional racer and at the moment with the current state things are in.
“This year is a step in the right direction having one really strong series and if we can get some stability and continuity with the series, then potential sponsors will want to invest in the series that has a long term plan and can promote not only the products that we ride but also the racers themselves as normal everyday sportspeople. ”
Kevin Curtain – Yamaha
“It’s always better having different competition coming into a series. I guess we’ve dominated the series for quite a few years now and I guess a lot of other people are thinking I’d like to have a go at it and see what they can do.
“There is a bit of hype going into it, but I don’t really worry about that stuff anymore – I just like getting in there and pressing go from early in the season because that’s where it all counts.
“If you think I can relax going into the first round and have a go half way through the series, it’s not going to win you a championship.”
Matthew Walters – Kawasaki
“I am fairly nervous – I don’t know really what to expect! I haven’t had the greatest results at Wakefield Park in recent times so hopefully I can possibly turn that around this weekend.
“I think I am normally nervous, but this year especially due to how many riders and how many good riders there are, the field definitely has some depth about it and it is going to be more difficult to win races.
“It motivates me because if you can beat these guys, you are going to go alright overseas. And to be the best here in Australia is certainly not going to be an easy task in this class now – with all the good riders in one class it will make good racing and will hopefully make for a better race series.
“It would be nice to keep the number one plate and I don’t think that it is out of the question, but I think that my goal is more or less try to be in the top-5 finish in the championship – that would be realistic for us and with our team.
“We obviously don’t have the backing that Yamaha and Honda have but we do have enough to be at the front end and win races.”