The Coca-Cola Suzuka 8 Hours is approaching this weekend and once again its stacked with an abundance of Aussie talent. Gold Coast racer Troy Herfoss will join Anthony West, Josh Waters, Josh Hook, Alex Cudlin, Damian Cudlin, Broc Parkes, and Aaron Morris. The famous race will be the final round of the FIM Endurance World Championship (EWC) taking place this Sunday 29 July 2018. It’s time to preview the race and get the inside word from some of the Australian competitors.
The Suzuka 8 Hours is undoubtedly Japan’s most prestigious motorcycle race and the Japanese manufacturers throw everything they have to win the coveted trophy. With plenty of pride at stake it will be fascinating to see which of the big four manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki) can get the upper hand. Honda hold the record with 27 wins, Yamaha with seven, Suzuki with five and Kawasaki one victory.
Australia has seen great success in the past, in particular during the late 80’s and early 90’s golden era that saw the likes of Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner, Darryl Beattie and Kevin McGee take victories. Gardner has won a phenomenal four times at the figure eight style circuit. Australia hasn’t seen a victory at this race since 1992, but with a strong lineup for 2018, a victory could be on the cards.
Troy Herfoss (Honda Asia-Dream Racing)
“Testing has been a big learning experience for me. I have a lot of experience with my Honda Superbike and crew in Australia, so it has been very different trying to set a bike up with a foreign team with a bike of different specs. I’m confident we ticked most boxes ahead of the race, we achieved a respectable lap time, completed a solid race run and also the fuel economy and pit stops are all good.
"The opportunity to race this year’s Suzuka 8 Hour has been a work in progress, I got to experience the race for the first time in 2014/15 and since then I have been keen to come back. Honda Australia have really rewarded me this year and have been very active in helping me try my skills against the best riders and I think that has helped be more competitive in ASBK. Also, the Penrite Honda Team have been supportive of me doing the 8 Hour, so I hope I can do an above average ride this weekend.
“Expectations for the race, to put it short I think a Top 10 is acceptable, but I dream of a top five. It’s a tough race and it’s an event that is heavily supported by the manufacturers, so you see a big difference in bike/tyre performance between teams, but I am really enjoying the bike I am riding and it’s easy to ride. I think over the 8 hours we can have a chance of achieving a really solid result. One day I’d love to ride the factory bike like so many Aussies did throughout the 90s.”
Anthony West (EVA RT Webike TRICKSTAR)
“I’m really excited about racing the Suzuka 8 hour this year. The last two years I have been on a Superstock bike. Now I have the chance to ride a Superbike in an experienced team. I’m happy we have just found the new replacement rider, who has won the world championship EWC on The Kawasaki ZX-10R.
"We are using Dunlop tyres this year and Dunlop have been working hard to make us some special tyres for the race. So, I hope it’s going to be enough to make strong race in the top 10. We will be fighting for higher against the factory teams.
“TRICK STAR exhaust is our biggest sponsorship for this race. So, big thanks to them and Dunlop for giving me the chance as the number one rider in this team. It will be hard and hot but that’s what makes it fun!”
Photos courtesy of FIM EWC - Good-Shoot.com