Wayne Maxwell Interview | Ride Rage Radio talks with Swann ASC Championship leader Wayne Maxwell
RRR: The man that came away from Wakefield Park last weekend with the series lead, the round win and heads into the FX series finale with a healthy championship lead over his teammate Jamie Stauffer is Wayne Maxwell. Wayne, congratulations on the weekend, but I think you mentioned it several times over the weekend, it was a weekend of being smart and not letting your ego overpower your desire to take race wins.
Wayne: “Yeah, thanks, Phil, it was definitely that, but saying that, Troy rode absolutely awesome and it would have taken a big old push and a lot of risks for me to get maybe better results, but I just settled for what I could do and the round win, and the championship lead.”
RRR: It’s one of those tracks that has its own unique character, how easy was it to head back there earlier this year after not experiencing it for so long?
Wayne: “I had never ridden this layout, I had not raced there since before they’ve changed the layout, I think it was 2000 the last time I raced there. So this year was the first year I’ve ridden that layout, so last weekend being back there for the second time it seemed a little bit easier anyway. It was the same when I went to Winton, and I knew that I sort of had to get straight on with the job because Troy wasn’t going to muck around. So I wanted to be competitive straight away rather than start the first session on the back foot, which makes it very hard to play catch up so we should try to start on the front foot and we did and yeah, it was cracker of a weekend.”
RRR: And once again you prove that racing hard on the Saturday is the way to go, but unfortunately everything didn’t go all your own way on Saturday really, did it?
Wayne: “No, it didn’t actually. Unfortunately, or fortunately, on how I look at it, I try to take some positives, but we broke a chain off the start, which is a very unusual thing, and it put us on the back foot for a bit, but it could have been a lot worse and happen on a Sunday where we didn’t have much of a margin to give up in the points, so yeah, I was sort of happy it happened on the Saturday and we bounced from the back of the grid to finish third, and then win the last one from start to finish and do the fastest lap on the last lap, but still wasn’t quite fast enough, but it was still pretty fast.”
RRR: And the whole mood in the Team Honda Racing pit seems to be pretty jovial, considering that three of you are top three in the Championship, and Josh Hook had a bit of a difficult weekend, but also came back strong in many of the later races as well. But once again you all seem to get along really well, even now that it’s a battle between you and Jamie for the Championship.
Wayne: “Yeah, the team dynamic is a little bit different than in most teams, we’ve got four egos there, four guys that are good enough to win races and have done, I think we’ve all won a round or come close to it, so yeah, it’s all been pretty tight and we all get along, and we’ve only got one more round to all get along and then we can move along with life.”
RRR: It’s pretty fair to say there’s been a bit of a discussion about the parity of the bikes and everything, but I think what the Honda has proved over the entire year that not only has it got a great chassis, but you, your team and all the mechanics in the team work so hard at maximizing every possible little advantage that that bike can have over the bikes that maybe have a little bit more engine power, but don’t have the finesse that the Honda does.
Wayne: “Yeah, when you’ve got four riders there, pushing the boundaries and moving forward, so I mean if one rider goes fast, he’s on the same bike, well the other rider thinks, ‘Well, I’m better than him, so I can go equally as fast if not faster.’ So it keeps getting pushed ahead and therefore the bike development goes along, as well as my technician, Warren, he’s pretty smart, alongside the other guys in the team, so yeah, definitely move forward and forward all the time. It’s amazing the small changes that we’ve been making to make inroads, I mean in a lap time, and you’re only talking tenths around Wakefield, like you make a change at other tracks it might give you half a second, but at Wakefield Park it’s tenths, so there was a lot of small changes to make up the tenths.”
RRR: The last round of the Championship is at Eastern Creek, which has a very tight technical section around the back but a big long straight, how’s that going to suit the Honda?
Wayne: “I might have to go on a diet… So I can get down the front straight a bit faster… It’s going to suit the Honda, the Honda is very nimble on the change direction in the chassis so I mean it will be okay and yeah, we haven’t struggled sort of all year too badly. I mean last year Sydney Motorsport Park was good for me and I hope I can continue that this year and get enough points to secure the championship.”
RRR: Well, congratulations again on the round win Wayne, but pretty much straight after that round win it was back to work this week at Phillip Island with the guy (Aiden Wagner) that’s about to make his Moto GP debut in the Moto 2 Class at the Australian Grand Prix.
Wayne: “Yeah, I went down there with young Aiden, he has to get used to the tyres, they’re a little bit different to what he’s used to, and just trying to spend as much time as you can learning the ropes, you can’t know enough and learn enough heading into a one-off race like that one.”
RRR: Well, you’ve worked with the guy that’s been looking after him for the last couple of races, Stew Winton, for many, many years. How important is it for a young up and coming rider like Aiden to have the knowledge base that Stew possesses and of course then someone like yourself that’s been there, done that to talk him through all this sort of stuff?
Wayne: “I guess Aiden is a pretty calm and cool kid and he’s got a good character and a good head on his shoulders, those traits make it easier, and I try not to tell him what he needs to do, I just sort of put the idea in his head and try to make it his own, so it sinks in and he can learn, keep it in his head for the future. He’s got a lot of good people around him with Stew and those guys from the Oz Wild Card Racing Team, so he’ll get better and better over time and he’s gaining momentum and he’s heading in the right direction, leading to the biggest race of his career.”
RRR: Now World Endurance is on this weekend over in France, you heading over, Wayne?
Wayne: “No, I’m not going to France for this weekend, which is unfortunate. It was decided with the team not to go, my collarbone, after being plated three weeks ago is not back to full strength and to do a 24 hour race like that as well as, you know, I’ve missed the last round and don’t know the Le Mans track and missed the pre Le Mans test, so it was the better option for the team to take the three guys that rode the last round and know the Le Mans track, so they should be in for finishing this year strongly and we can get back on to testing early next year with it in Spain and maybe lead to something hopefully next year.”
RRR: And I think that’s probably an excellent point. You went into this round with a bit of an injury cloud over you, but it just didn’t seem to faze you from the minute that you got on the motorcycle, even the way that you walked around the pits, you wouldn’t have picked you as someone that had his collarbone plated three weeks ago.
Wayne: “Yeah, I didn’t want to give too much away, I was a bit tight and sore on the bike, especially by the sixth race of the round, that last race I was trying to give it all, but as I said, when you’re talking tenths of seconds between a victory and a loss around there, I just wasn’t good enough on the day and I was happy to have it end up where we did and we can just continue the momentum and gather up enough points at Sydney Motorsport Park, hopefully get the Championship and move on from there.”
RRR: Wayne, congratulations on a fantastic weekend, once again it was a pleasure to watch you and all your teammates and the whole field in fact in some classic superbike racing and can’t wait to see it on Speedweek next weekend.
Wayne: “Yeah, it was a great weekend, great crowd, perfect weather, Goulburn turned it on for us again, and hopefully the same again at Sydney Motorsport Park in November, just have to wait this long now, it’s such a long wait to get it over and done with.”
RRR: And also on the weekend, you got out of Goulburn safe, which was one of your concerns.
Wayne: “I did get some stick on the weekend, I was giving a bit of stick there to the locals, but they were awesome, their support and their enthusiasm about superbike racing was great, so yeah, full credit to everyone that turned up and what a cracker of a weekend.”
RRR: Thanks Wayne, I’ll see you at the GP in about three and a half weeks.
Wayne: “No worries, see you later guys, thank you!”