Full throttle to Superbikes
LUKE Mitchell is set to fly full throttle at Phillip Island.
After a breakthrough rookie season in 2014, the 18-year-old from Townsend gets his 2015 underway in a support class for the 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship.
It is his first time racing at the high speed circuit since 2010 when he set the under-16 lap record in the Belray Six-Hour Race. This time it's with the big boys in round one of the Australian Superbike Supersport Championship.
"This weekend's just a one-off ride to get my name out there," Mitchell said.
Mitchell races in the parallel Australasian Superbike Supersport Championship, in which he finished sixth and won combined C and D grades in his debut series. It starts March 27.
"Australian Superbikes is a different governing body," he said. "Most people ride both but you need two different bikes.
"My bike hits around 118HP while these guys are 130 to 135 minimum, and Phillip Island is such a big, fast open track - about 69% at full throttle - so I'm just going down to ride fast and do the best I can.
"In the Australasian Superbikes I'm looking to jump into the top five or better this year. Realistically, I would even be happy if I finished in the same position but closer (on points) to the top four."
Interestingly, Mitchell has ridden his Yamaha YZF-R6 just three times since the final round of 2014 on November 24. He has spent more time on his human-powered bicycle.
"I've only ridden twice in Sydney and then once at Queensland Raceway a week ago just to take the bike for a little shakedown and make sure everything was going right," he said.
"Other than that I've just been riding the pushbike around as often as I can. I try to go for a ride after work for an hour and a half to two hours.
"The main aim is to build stamina. I go as fast as I can and try to maintain the pace the whole time, because most of our races are short 10 to 15 lappers.
"I also do a lot of riding on the dirt bikes which is much more physical."
Mitchell left Townsend at 4am on Tuesday, stopping in Albury that night and was due to arrive at the Phillip Island track this morning.
"I'm really stoked for this weekend," he said. "We've got some friends from Grafton and Maclean who will be going down to watch."
Australasian Superbike Championship
Rd 1: Mar 27-29 1 at Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
Rd 2: May 15-17 at Mallala Raceway, SA
Rd 3: Jun 26-28 at Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
Rd 4: Aug 14-16 at Queensland Raceway, QLD
Rd 5: Sept 25-27 at Wakefield Park, NSW
Rd 6: Oct 23-25 at Winton Motor Raceway, VIC
Series Finale: Dec 4-5 at Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW