Level 2 Coach for Advanced Rider Training, Dave Fuller (Devo) is a highly regarded and respected road racer/rider/coach/tyre technician within south-east Queensland road racing circles.
A rusted-on member of the Sporties club for what he describes as "a lifetime", Fuller was described by one as "the backbone of the club" for his coaching, services inside and beyond his role as Pirellie technician, and general willingness to help.
Phillip Island ASBK300 podium-getter Tayla Relph called him a massive contributor to her racing career.
Dave, you’re very well known as a coach and the guy who helps people find the right tyre to keep them upright in every condition. Can we ask the big picture question - why?
"I really enjoy helping people shortcut the learning process. In the old days riders would come, there was no good information, they’d crash, it’s expensive - especially if it’s a larger bike. And they’d give up.
I’m reasonably confident the club would be a lot less subscribed if it were still like that."
That’s very cool Dave, why does this satisfy you?
“I remember when I started at Lakeside, and one of the biggest moments for me was crashing an FZR1000 in 1990. I’d turned up and moved onto the production class, and crashed this thing in the carousel, and I was on the inside of the track with the bike laying on me. I had an endurance race that afternoon and I’m laying there wiggling toes and fingers, and Dave Snape – one of the old A-grade weapons from around the country who used to race TZ750s at Bathurst and another A-grader came up to me and said, “we knew that was going to happen,”.
I said, “Why didn’t you say that 10 minutes ago? Was it the way I’m riding?” He said “no, it’s the tyre you’re using, that tyre’s like a goddam rock, mate”. The guy that sold me the tyre back then had shafted me. I think he off-loaded his rubbish to people new to the sport.”
So there’s the link to both coaching and tyres?
“Yeah. Removing the pitfalls so others don’t fall into them. From the tyre side of it, for a number of years there wasn’t a good, reliable tyre service at the track, with someone there with advice on the right sort of stock they need. That’s what I say when there’s a query and an, “old mate told me I should be using this one!” I can honestly say back, “that’s what I use”. I’m not about to sell you the wrong thing - know what the pitfalls are; you’re laying in hospital in traction… I don’t need to go there!
That’s why I became a level 2 coach. A big part of this is honesty - you’ve gotta be up front.
The tyres are a business – but I don’t care whether you buy one off me or you can bring one out and I’ll charge you $20 to have it fitted. It’s not the end of the earth. There’s not enough in the things to start reaming people.
I started doing this because we never had anybody there to help with the expansion of the club.
Nowadays I have Barry Webb, who used to be a Yamaha dealer in Caloundra, coming out to help me in the shed while I’m doing the coaching.
Throughout the four days of a meeting there’ll be that many people coming down after advice, support, ideas, spare parts, spare bolts…”
What makes Morgan Park such a great coaching tool?
“Morgan Park is a fantastic teaching tool. It’s really technical. It‘s bumpy, and if they’re not a forward thinker thinking three or four corners ahead, they’ll either be slow, or muck up and crash. They’ve got to piece it together to get a fast lap in. And if they work out some sort of setup, they can leave here and go to Philip island that’s super wide and super smooth and just step it up.
The kids that actually come from those places sometimes just whinge – it’s narrow, it’s bumpy, it’s too technical. It’s a physical track as well, so if any rider assumes they’re fit, this place will test that out. They nearly have to be dirt bike fit. Josh Waters said it’s the most physical track in the ASBK championship. They get arm pump here and they can get stiff on the bike and start affecting their times.
I’ve had some riders come here and complain and I’ve said “forget about all that mate, this is about the spectators, what it does for the town, the overall picture of what it does for your sport. Don’t come here as a competitor and whinge.”
That’s odd, isn’t it? If it’s pushing you, it’s growing you. You’d think a rider wanting to improve would be thankful.
“That’s what Garry McCoy said. He reckoned that if he was helping us out with the coaching at QR, it would have been a fairly short arrangement. But this place – he just finds it fun. He gets up on top of kerbs and pops off the other end of it and explores the limits. Those world class riders just discover bits of the track the other riders don’t even think about. They find extra room, a rumble strip or maybe a speed bump to lock in your grip. They slide across and use it as a berm, hook up and wheel stand off because they’ve got that much extra drive. The kids who are worried about sliding won’t even reach that far, but the kids who are still driving, they’re the ones who learn. The little bits and pieces here, they can put it into place at other tracks and have it up their sleeve when they commit.”