Today marks the commencement of the Asia Cup of Road Racing, which is being held in Buddh, India. Running from 16 – 18 November, Round three will showcase two outstanding Australian riders, Max Stauffer and Tayla Relph, who were presented with this opportunity in recognition of their development over the 2018 racing season.
Stauffer and Relph will put their rivals to the test as the pace through the Buddh International Circuit, which spans 5.14 kilometres. With 15 turns to tackle, Relph and Stauffer will no doubt use their 2018 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK) experience to their advantage. 2018 saw both riders compete in the Australian Supersport 300 and YMF R3 Cup classes, where Relph and Stauffer scored positions in the top 10!
To keep updated on their progress over the weekend, head to Live Timing!
Looking to the weekend, Relph and Stauffer sat down with Motorcycling Australia to discuss their preparation for the Cup this weekend.
How do you feel coming into this weekend?
“Coming into this weekend I feel really excited and ready! This is my first international race meeting, which makes it even better!”
“As it stands, I feel fairly confident coming into this weekend. Last year when I competed in this same event, it was very much a fear of the unknown. It has been awesome to come here again and I am so thankful for the opportunity, and this time to experience it all with my team mate Max Stauffer.
“As this is as much a team championship as it is an individual rider championship with awards handed to both the top 3 country teams, as well as the top 3 individual riders, I’m really looking forward to working with Max throughout the weekend to maximise our chances! I believe Max and I have the ability to go one step further this year!”
What preparation/training have you undertaken in the lead up to the race this weekend?
“In the lead up to this weekend I have done a lot of running, with the aim of trying to be as light as possible for the little 150cc bikes.”
“My training and preparation haven’t altered too much from my usual ASBK preparation. I have been very mindful of maintaining my weight as I am up against some very light riders. Based on the circuit, our weight is vital to win these races.
“As far as mental preparation has gone, I have been looking over all my notes and track maps from last year to memorise myself with the circuit. It’s the biggest circuit I have ever ridden on, and with it being very undulated, similar to Tailem Bend Raceway in SA, it can be hard to navigate around for the first few laps.”
Being so experienced in the ASBK season, how do you maintain a cool head coming into a big event such as this?
“Coming into the weekend I haven’t been thinking about any of the riding. Instead I’ve just been enjoying the holiday and that’s really helped me keep a calm head coming into the weekend!”
“It is definitely a whole different world coming into an international event in comparison to the ASBK Championship. You have so much added pressure that you place on yourself, like the fact that you have been individually picked to represent your country, and you want to make sure everyone back at home is proud, whilst showcasing the riding skills Australian racing produces.
“You also have the added pressure of how far you and your family have travelled to be here as well and you want to make it all worth it. As this will be my seventh time racing/riding overseas, I have slowly learnt different ways of overcoming and dealing with these different pressures, but without a doubt I do still find it very challenging to keep a cool head throughout this time. Personally, I know that I am so much faster than I was last year and that in itself is giving me the confidence boost I need coming into this event. I have come a very long way in the ASBK Championship, but I believe that is where Australia has the upper hand coming into the 2018 FIM Asia Cup of Road Racing.
“Max and I are very lucky to compete in one of the best and most competitive championships in ASBK and the Supersport 300 category provides us with the opportunity to learn so much race craft that you simply couldn’t learn in any other championship class.”