Like most motorcycle racers, writing this story is probably one of the hardest things to do. I have made a decision to retire from my career as a motorcycle racer. I have not raced full time for the last 3 seasons even though the opportunities and the motivation to move back to Europe have been available, my mind has been on other things.
At the end of 2008 I returned to Australia to start a family with full intentions of returning to the Endurance World Championship and pursuing further success. For one reason or another that did not happen and now I am managing my own team in Australia with a view to doing the same in Europe. Building a team and looking after a family takes up most of my time so racing motorcycles myself was overlooked... I never thought that would happen!
I’ve had an enormous amount of fun and success both in Australia and when I moved to Europe. My years with the British Phase One team, the Chinese sponsored Zongshen team, the Factory Suzuki team, Honda UK, BMW Daytona and all of the other teams I have been involved with are highlights of my career. I’ve had the pleasure to ride so many types of motorcycles from 250cc production to 500cc Grand Prix. My racing began in the Australian 250cc Production Championship followed by the Australian Supersport Championship and then the Formula Xtreme Championship. In the UK I raced in the British Supersport Championship and the British Superbike Championship. In the USA I have raced in the AMA Superbike Championship and the MotoST Championship. In World Championship categories I have raced in the Superbike World Championship and the Endurance World Championship.
The people I have spent time with in the last 18 years are ingrained in my thoughts forever. Some of those people have stayed with me and some I don’t talk to anymore. I think competition will always create friends and enemies but for the minimal amount of people I did not see eye to eye with, and no longer have contact with, I thank them for the motivation.
I have been thinking about this for the past few months. Some days I think I will ignore everything and focus 100% on preparing to do a race and win the race but most days I feel content with what I have achieved and fortunate that I am in one piece after doing what I have done.
Endurance racing has been fantastic to me. It was not where I wanted to go initially. I wanted to spend 5 or 6 years in World Superbike and win that series but I found myself in the friendliest paddock in motorcycle racing. Winning at my first attempt was great and then moving to a strong team and dominating was also a wonderful experience. I’ve worked with great mechanics, great team managers and great riders. One rider stands out as a true champion and team mate, Stephane Mertens. The adventures we shared on track and then away from the track are too long to list.
I am very grateful for my involvement with the Flammini organisation (FGSport) and the world governing body, the FIM. I worked closely with key people and I am much stronger for doing so. Throughout my racing career I have been very fortunate with sponsors. AXO Apparel and SHARK helmets have protected me for more than 10 years and made every lap more comfortable. Alessandra and Valentina Zago from AXO have given me wonderful support that I will always treasure. I've had great relationships with several manufacturers and look forward to doing so as a team owner. I've also had great success and friendship with Steve Male and the Dunlop Motorsport crew. A big thank you to those guys and to Steve for his wisdom.
My fight to make it in racing has been up and down like many racers. I’ve enjoyed living in London and spending time in Monaco thanks to success but at the other end of the scale I’ve almost cried when being locked up for standing my ground and fighting litigation. It’s a story for my book... I just need to kick a few more goals first.
I’ve had a few injuries however my 2004 World Superbike crash at Monza during qualifying is the worst experience I’ve endured. I’m grateful to several doctors in London for overcoming that injury. Earlier this year I crashed in a fun race. I was not able to pick my son up when he needed me. That along with the devastating loss of Marco Simoncelli made my decision clear.
Just a few weeks ago my team won the final Supersport race in the Australian Championship. The feeling I had when Glenn Scott crossed the line, and then when he rode towards me with his hands in the air was the same feeling I had when I won races. That is my ambition now, to help riders win races.
From the bottom of my heart, I truly thank everyone who has watched me, supported me, helped me and had any involvement in my racing career. You are part of 2 world titles and all of my success.