For 2022, he has attended every meeting and competed every in race, but it has been a long painful road to fitness and to get back up to speed. It was fitting that the place that could well have seen the end of his esteemed career – or even more tragically his life – was the track where he managed to turn it all around.
The results in Darwin has seen him leap from eighth to fourth in the standings, and has given him a good platform in his attempt to move up the points-table with three rounds remaining of the 2022 season.
Herfoss is reinvigorated, the passion rekindled. A warning shot to his rivals, but sweet music to race fans.
The “Herf” is back
Troy Herfoss Interview
I bet after the weekend you had in Darwin, the view you have is pretty good with no clouds on the horizon?
I can honestly say that I was a bit emotional. I teared up a bit and had a lump in my throat watching that race [on Saturday afternoon].
“Yes a few of us did after that race. It was pretty good. A very special day, really.“
So that has definitely removed the monkey from your back?
“Yes it has. I was riding 100 per cent confidently, so it was good.”
I know it’s a big word; disappointed, especially after where you’ve come back from, and your winner’s attitude, but were you a little disappointed when you missed out on the win?
“I was disappointed mainly in my one lap pace. It was terrible. Not terrible but I couldn’t get that extra few tenths out of a new tyre. That’s what cost me.
“If I had started on the front row, I think I would’ve had a fighting chance in race one. The other races I didn’t have the speed. I had the opportunity to win all the races really, but I just didn’t quite have it in the end.
“But, I definitely had some pace in the first race.”
You have to tell me your secret about turn 10. I know, you’ve got your heart in your mouth, hoping the front is going to stick but you don’t seem to even get unsettled. You have a rail around there.
“And you have to commit from way back. When you tip into turn seven, you’re setting up for that corner. The old bike, the new bike, the Michelin tyres, the Pirelli tyres. I thought it was the Michelin tyres that were helping me do that pass, but then it’s just my corner. A few times there I was almost up on the inside kerbs!
“The door was open a few times and I was sort of desperate to get past. I couldn’t get off the corners as well as the others, especially at the start of the weekend.“
In the last race, I thought Glenn [Alllerton] let you have that line through there so he could come back at you.
“He said that to me. He did set me up. When I went for it, he let the brakes off and that’s why I went wide. He did a good job. I used it about 10 times, so he had plenty of time to look at it. He’s a smart guy, so he’d done his research!”
How close did you and Bryan come to falling over in the first race?
“My whole left arse of my leathers is black from where he rammed me! He sorta misjudged that one. Had a half-hearted attempt and realised he couldn’t stop, I guess. I did that in the race a couple of times, but it’s a nothing pass as you know you’re going to get done down the straight.”
You’ve jumped up the championship now. You’ve gone from eighth position to fourth position and now you’re only 26-points off second place.
“Yeah, I am a definite chance especially given the top guys, barring Mike, have been pretty inconsistent. I’ve been consistent. It’s just that I was really bad at the start of the year!”
You’ve jumped four places in three races, the weekend was a championship defining weekend for Mike, because he is now 40-points in front.
If Mike finishes second in every race and Wayne wins every one he can still be champ… The Championship is his to lose.
“Yeah, I know. He is smart. He won’t do anything silly and going to Morgan Park he’s going to try and squeeze another couple of wins, I imagine.”
That’s what I was getting onto; you have been pretty strong there in the past.
“Yeah, I really want to make that jump up to where he is for that one.”
Is that is because it’s a track more like Wakefield Park with its tight and extremelybumpy nature?
“Yeah, you are always moving. You don’t get any rest around there. There’s no real straights where you get passed on or towed back into the race as such. Like Darwin, if you lose two-tenths in a lap you are probably going to get it down the straight getting towed back into it. Same with Phillip Island. You get towed back into Phillip Island all the time. At Morgan Park you don’t get a draft anywhere really.“
Is the Darwin weekend hard to quantify how much it has done for your confidence?
“(Long pause) Yeah.. It just felt like… It’s amazing. It’s just crazy. You think you are getting your confidence back. Then after that first race, I felt like I was in slow motion after that again. It felt like the old days. I was passing people from a long way back. I could feel the brake. I could sit right on the back of them, and it just felt so much… I just loved it. I’m like; I’m going to race until I’m 50. This is the best.”
That’s great to hear mate. It really is. I asked Jonesy about having any thoughts about heading overseas again and he reckons he’ll just stay here now, instead of using all his money to go overseas and is using you guys as a benchmark, telling me ‘They’re in the late 30s or even 40s. I’ve got at least another ten years here.’
“Mike is in a really good position now. When I was his age that’s when I started hitting my straps as well. Like I said to Mike, when I was going through that last 12 months. It’s been hard and you’re not making a million bucks. I am going to work the day I stop racing but it’s still good. It’s still fun. When you are getting results like Mike is having now, that’s why you do it.”
Also what happened on the weekend to you, that would’ve no doubt rekindled your passion.
“Before Darwin we went to Morgan Park with Freeby [Paul Free]. On the way home he says, ‘Troy do you mind if I ask you a question?’ And he said, ‘do you enjoy riding?’ ‘I went ‘geez that’s a pretty confronting question.’ Because the last 12 months I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ Then you realise you do when you have a moment like the weekend. I definitely still enjoy it.”
That was obvious with the smile on your face after the first race. I don’t want to talk on the negatives, but…
“Nah that’s ok, Bracksy.“
Well that first time you went out on Friday afternoon, was there any thoughts about the crash or was it ‘Bugger it, I am not going to look at that part.’ What was your mindset then?
“I’ll be honest, at that corner I thought about the crash every lap I went through it. It wasn’t in a negative way. To be honest, it was more like ‘I’ve gotta keep on the throttle here. Don’t load the front up.’ That’s basically all I thought.
“It was funny. I was really slow in that first sector in the first session and I didn’t realise I was being tentative, but it was my best sector by the end of the weekend. The first session I was like 20 per cent less throttle than the second and third session.”
Wow, that’s a big difference.
“Honestly, they told me after the second session the difference. I didn’t realise. I wasn’t thinking about it, but obviously it was in the back of my mind.
“I got passed there twice. Like in race one Bryan jammed me right where I crashed and I’m like ‘have some compassion, brother!'”
You two get on well together. As you said after the race, you’ve been waiting for years to finally box-on with each other.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Bryan. He’s a great guy.“
He’s a very clean rider, but gives as good as he gets.
“Yeah, he is. I expected nothing less from him and I got what I expected!“
How was your body feeling after the weekend?
“I was a little bit sore going into race one because we didn’t get a warm-up. I was fine after a few laps. To be honest my body felt better after the third race than after the first race. My body had loosened up a bit. My hips was a little sore, but not enough to stop doing anything. It just had a big weekend.”
It was great to see. The Herf is back.
“It was great Bracksy, I was stoked to be having a go again. Thanks mate.”
Looking at the points spread, second in the championship isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
“I definitely think that if I can get away with Mike and it gets down to the last few laps, he’s not going to fight like he usually would, for someone like me, to take away points from him, so I am probably in a good position to bag a few wins.”
Before I let you go, bearing in mind what you two went through in 2019, when he was on the big Duke, has he surprised you with what he has done on the Yamaha.
“He’s doing a great job this year. But I’ll be honest, he’s doing a great job because Cru is riding the same bike, Arthur is riding a similar bike. Mike has plenty of go in him at the moment.
“Considering that bike is winning, there is a lot of other people that would be wanting to ride that bike I reckon. They’d be absolutely mad not to sign up Arthur, ASAP. He’s a very underrated rider.”
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.