Goulburn teenager Tom Toparis has had a fantastic start to season 2019. with clear and total domination of the three Australian Supersport races over the weekend.
Toparis then followed that up with a highly creditable 11th place finish in a World Supersport wildcard appearance on the Landbridge Transport Yamaha YZF-R6, scoring five World Supersport Championship points in the process.
Toparis has now picked up a ride with Benro Racing for the 2019 IDM 600 Supersport Championship alongside new team-mate and fellow 18-year-old Milan Merckelbagh on Yamaha YZF-R6 machinery.
This latest European adventure will add to the growing list of experience on the world stage for Toparis, who has previously taken part in some wildcard Moto3 rides and has Supersport 300 experience in Europe. During the European season, Toparis will stay with the family of Merckelbagh in Holland, which will allow the two 18-year-olds to train together.
Toparis will also be concentrating on the Australian Supersport Championship, as he shares his time between here and Europe. He will head to Europe at the end of April to prepare for his IDM appearances in a deal that was made possible by Dutch intermediary Rob Vennegoor.
Tom Toparis Interview
Big weekend, tell me how did you find it?
Tom Toparis: “I’m very lucky to have done the WSBK and ASBK, I got the opportunity from Landbridge Transport Team and of course when you get offered the chance to ride World Supersport you’re never going to say no. The bike was good all weekend, I let the team down with a crash on Tuesday, which set us back, and we had to go into Melbourne and get some parts and what not and sort a few things out. The result in the World Supersport… P11 is really good I think.”
Do you think that effected your result?
Tom Toparis: “In a way yes, we pretty much lost the whole of Tuesday, so that was four hours of track time we didn’t get and it set us back for Friday morning. For sure it could have been a fraction better, but I am definitely so grateful the team did such a good job in the stop, as that’s such a big variable, if you get it wrong, even if you lose one second in a pit stop, that’s one whole second on the track, which is a lot of risk you have to take. I haven’t look at the time yet, but the minimum was 1:14 or 1:18 or something, I feel like we did a good job. I just listened to what the team said, and once they let me go I was gone, it was 8 laps or so to the end. I’m so proud of my team, getting me out there and putting it just outside the top 10.”
How are your injuries from the big off on Tuesday? (Tom wore through his leathers during a crash earlier in the week and lost a lot of skin off his bum!)
Tom Toparis: “It’s a bit annoying, itchy and awkward to ride on, it’s OK and I think I got through the weekend without it causing too much trouble. Hopefully I’ll listen to what the doctors have to say, and I might need to go get a skin graft tomorrow in Melbourne. It was a bit of a set back and it was annoying for me. But anyway apart from that we were happy to score four World Supersport championship points. It’s such a good weekend to get all the Aussies [Supersport wins] and taking pole, and getting the points in WSSP.”
And off to Europe?
Tom Toparis: “I’m very happy to announce that in 2019 I’ll be doing some racing in Europe in the IDM Supersport on a Yamaha R6 for Benro Racing. I’m very grateful to the people who have made this happen. Through RT Racing Support I was able to get in contact with Sraar van Rens. It will be a busy year, because I’m going to combine the Australian and IDM championship. This year, my family and I are fully committed to racing and I will be doing everything possible to win here in Australia. I have no expectations for the IDM as I don’t know what to expect. But I’ll be doing everything I can to learn the tracks and the bike as fast as possible, whilst enjoying the different lifestyle on the other side of the world. I’m really looking forward to meet my team-mate Milan. A big thank you to everyone involved including my sponsors here in Australia.”
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