One of the greatest elements of the inaugural bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup is the variety of motorcycling disciplines from which our class of 2019 have emerged. A perfect example of this is Tom Drane, who holds 12 Australian Junior Dirt Track Championship titles as well as three American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Dirt Track Championship titles.
Calling Forbes, New South Wales home, Drane is our third profile in the Oceania Junior Cup profile series and holds the 2018 AMA Youth Rider of the Year award, proving his undeniable skill atop two wheels. Describing himself in three words as dedicated, competitive and motivated, Drane is a vision of focus at the track, preferring silence to music as he prepares himself for an upcoming race.
A natural born rider who has been aboard motorcycles since he was two and a half, Drane is an emerging Australian talent that you should keep an eye on as he flies past aboard the Yamaha YZF-R15.
Tell us about where your love for motorcycle racing began and why?
I fell in love with motorcycle racing, especially Dirt Track and Road Race, thanks to my dad who I used to watch racing. I’ve grown up around this sport and being able to see my dad race has really pumped up my love for racing and inspired me to get involved.
Tell us about the first time you hopped on a motorcycle.
The first time I remember being on a bike was when I was four, but mum says the first time I got put on the back of a bike was when I was 2 and a half! The first memory I have is when dad was teaching me to ride, and I accidentally rode through a haybale and hit a fence! Even though I got a bit hurt, it didn’t scare me off riding and instead pushed me to keep trying and improve.
Thinking back, tell us about one of your favourite memories growing up when it comes to motorcycling?
My favourite memory is back in 2018 when I competed over in the USA, because I won three titles and was awarded the AMA Youth Rider of the Year!
I was really interested in competing overseas and my dad was happy to fly with me overseas. When we landed in the USA it was a tough beginning because it was a completely different style of racing, but we just kept working hard and our efforts really paid off!
What career do you hope to end up in? For example, WSBK or MotoGP racer?
I hope to end up in MotoGP, that’s my major goal! I want to pursue the path of getting into the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies and the Asia Talent Cup, then heading over to Europe and then one day land myself a spot in the MotoGP.
For the upcoming Asia Talent Cup, I’m doing training on bigger, faster bikes to prepare myself. This year has been a big change because it is my first year competing in Road Race, but I just love it so the time and energy I’m spending is definitely worth it.
Tell us who your sporting idol is. How have they impacted you and your love for motorcycling?
I have two – Marc Marquez and Troy Herfoss.
It’s especially special that I get to see and chat with Troy Herfoss at the Motul;Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) rounds that the Oceania Junior Cup is a part of! Back at Wakefield Park, Troy came over and helped me as I prepared for my race, which was amazing!
With Marc Marquez, the thing I found most impressive is that he continues to push himself to be the best. He wont settle for second and is always fighting to stand out from the crowd.
What have you learnt from the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup?
Coming from Dirt Track, I’ve been learning how to tackle corners and put my knee out. It’s been challenging to learn a completely new racing discipline but I’m just loving the experience. It’s been especially exciting because on my fourth ever race in Road Race, I won!
I really love having Damian Cudlin as a coach because he’s super helpful, and his knowledge from the MotoGP is really cool.
Having people come from Öhlins and Pirelli to teach us more on suspension and tyres has been really great, so we’re learning more and more about the bike and the racing discipline.
Tell us about your bike, helmet, leathers, gloves and boots. How are you adjusting to the new bike? How do you find the products that have been chosen specially for you?
It’s been amazing! With it being my first year racing Road Race, I have been lucky enough to receive basically everything you need to compete. The Yamaha bike is really good, with solid suspension and clocks in high speeds.
The leathers are super comfortable and even though I’m smaller than most kids, they fit me perfectly. This is the same for my helmet, gloves and boots. I would normally have a lot of trouble finding products that fit me because I’m small, but thanks to the Oceania Junior Cup I have gear that fits me perfectly.
Images courtesy of tbg Sport