Saturday, 18 November 2017

BIKES

New Aussie champion Sam Masters says he has never been better prepared to go for QBE Insurance Australian SGP glory as he crosses his fingers for a Melbourne return on October 28.

After two years as national championship runner-up, Masters overhauled rival Justin Sedgmen in the final round at Kurri Kurri last Saturday to win gold for the first time.

Masters’ efforts in his homeland have been enough to secure him places at the Etihad Stadium for the last two seasons. He scored a very promising six points in 2015, before managing only two last year after replacing the injured Jason Doyle at a very late stage.

While this year’s wild card pick is yet to be confirmed, the Newcastle-born racer hopes he’ll get the nod and would love a chance to show what he can do with more preparation time.

“I didn’t have much time to get ready for it last year, but I have two good bikes here now and I’m a bit more set up here,” commented Masters.

“Hopefully I’ll find out a little earlier than I did last time, I can organise it a bit more and be a bit more ready for it. It’s one I’d like to do well in and show what I can do. I had a bit of a tough time last season, but that’s in the past and we look forward to this year. Hopefully I am in it.

“Hopefully I’ll have a good season and a good World Cup if I’m in that. Then maybe I can look forward to the GP. It’s a little while away now, so I can’t think about it too much at the minute. But it would definitely be a big thing to make a GP.”

Podium

Photo: David Lamont

Masters is determined to follow the example of fellow countryman Jason Doyle, who grafted hard to establish himself as one of the world’s top riders following his Aussie title win in 2015.

“Seeing what Doyley has done, he has done it the hard way and has not had anything handed to him,” he added.

“So I hope I can follow his footsteps. He’s doing well and it’s great to see. I’m back in training, trying to get ready for the season. I came home and trained pretty hard, which I haven’t done in the past. It finally paid off.

“Two second places in the Aussie titles made me pretty determined to try and win it this year. Hopefully we’ll keep that form up for the season and get ready for a big year. I’ve got a few teams to ride for.”

The Wolves and Edinburgh man stormed to 14 points at the final Aussie round in Kurri Kurri, securing the title with the A Final to spare after Sedgmen failed to qualify from the B Final.

“I was glad it didn’t go down to the last race,” Masters said.

“It would have been pretty nerve-wracking. It was good that I started the meeting pretty strong. Sedgy drew No.4, so he was always in the last heat of every round. If I won a race, the pressure was more on him. The pressure was already on him at the start as he was leading the series.

“I pulled back six points on him over the night and won by three. If someone had offered me that when I woke up that morning, I would have taken it with both hands.

“I hadn’t ridden at Kurri much – for over a year. Sedgy did the Boxing Day meeting and the state championship there, so he had a little bit more track time there. I thought it would be harder, but I had a pretty good gate draw and you have to take that when you get it.”

Masters was grateful to rival Nick Morris for the B Final victory which ended Sedgmen’s challenge.

“I was sitting there with dad and he said ‘if he doesn’t get through this, you’ve won the thing’,” recalled Masters.

“I was standing there with my mechanics and Dad and I was cheering on Nick. I’ve never cheered on Nick so much!

“Nick got the job done for me and Sedgy missed out. That’s racing and Sedgy is a mate of mine as well. It’s hard to go head to head with one of your good mates. But once the helmet is on, no one is really mates.”

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