Earlier this week, local club racer Alex Bianchini-Kometer caught up with South Australia’s promising two-wheel talent, Liam Wilkinson to discuss his current form on the new Yamaha R1 and how he will prepare for the tough Adelaide 3 Hour endurance race.
Alex Bianchini-Kometer (ABK): Liam, you seem to ride well on anything, but now that you’ve jumped from the RSV4 to the new R1 you’re riding on another level – what’s changed?
Liam Wilkinson (LW): I think it has a lot to do with the two years experience I gained riding the RSV4 since 2014. With two years experience on a superbike up my sleeve I’ve been able to jump on this bike and get it working exactly how I want quite easily. I have found it much easier to show my true potential on this bike and I am able to put my mind at ease knowing I have support from Yamaha on the YRD Programme should anything go wrong.
ABK: Will you be racing in any other events over the weekend or just the Adelaide 3 hour?
LW: I’ll be competing in the 1000cc sprint races and also the 75km race. That race is always fun and it allows you to prepare for the 3 hour as you can get an idea of what lap times you’ll be able to average and how the tyres will degrade over a stint. It will also give us an idea of any suspension changes needed to try and maintain our tyre life.
ABK: When it comes to preparation for the 3 hour, what’s most important for you?
LW: Physical preparation has been my biggest focus the past few months. For the average sprint race which is mainly what I do, fitness isn’t everything. But in a long race you need to be fit and strong for a long period of time. Daniel and I have been training very hard on the push bikes trying to average about 150km a week to really prepare ourselves for what will no doubt be a punishing 3 hours.
ABK: It might be too early to pick a favourite – but you and Daniel will be up there. Who else do you think will be serious contenders this year?
LW: Its hard to look past last years winners and who have also won in previous years, Evan Byles and Dave Johnson. They will be consistent and fast. Also the likes of Willy Strugnell and John Hunt as a team will be very strong.
ABK: In 2015 you finished just four seconds behind first place – proving every second counts at the Adelaide 3 hour. What do you think you can do differently if the racing is close again?
LW: This year we both feel over one lap we are a bit faster than last year so we will try to average a faster lap time in each of our stints, also minimising any mistakes made in the pits and on track should ensure we don’t lose any crucial seconds.
ABK: What’s your best advice to any new comers entering this year’s Adelaide 3 hour?
LW: Try to stay calm when you get on the bike for a long stint. Don’t ride out the pits like it’s a sprint race as you will mentally and physically fatigue yourself before you’re even half way through. Remember to breathe and just get into a rhythm, the time will pass before you know it!
You can follow Liam Wilkinson on instagram: @liamwilkinson34
Next week we’ll talk with the lightning quick Daniel Falzon.