Road race championship brings out riders of all ages
THOSE out at the Pirelli QLD Road Race Championships proved that the sport is truly one for all ages as young and old took to the track today.
John Lytras is only 14 but had already been racing for half his life, racking up seven national titles in dirt and supermoto racing.
He was there with dad Aaron, as the Caboolture father-son duo described the success was no small feat for the team.
"Between us, we learnt as we went. We've got no history in racing, I'm just a farmer who was into campdrafting," Aaron said.
"I bought him a pony and he liked that but I had bikes for mustering and he was so quick and good on them straight away that I went 'I guess we're not going campdrafting anymore'. "
For Aaron, stepping in the maintenance side of the sport gave him a new-found respect for how hard his son worked to win.
"Road racing requires a lot more finesse, as far as tuning the bike, you can click one tiny adjustment and the rider will go 'oh no that's no good,"Aaron said.
"It's definitely more finicky racing and I do appreciate what it takes to go fast in this sport.
"In car combinations, a lot of guys can take a steering wheel but a rider has to be balanced physically."
John recently placed second overall in the national championships in the manufacturer class, an impressive feat for someone who had only been road racing for three years, but John says the success comes from a steadfast passion.
"It's my favourite thing to do," John said.
"(On the track) I just focus on going faster and faster."
From little experience to plenty, 50-year-old Brian Wood was back from retirement for his third time this year.
The international champion, who had broken his spine and watched his close friend die to the sport, still wouldn't give it up for the world.
"It goes with the territory I guess," he said.
"Every time I have an accident, I always kind of think, when can I get back to riding?"
The Cedar Creek resident started riding in 1996 in his late 20s, which he considered old for the sport, but now in his 50s, he sees his age as a positive.
"Experience is obviously an advantage," he said.
"It just means that when you crash when you're my age, you don't crash as well as you do when you're younger. You don't bounce back as fast."
Not that his results showed any sign of Brian slowing down.
On one of his bikes, he had won 16 out of 17 races he entered this year, and attributed all success to the right frame of mind.
"You have to keep your focus on the track, and then get your mind set on corners and gears and braking points," he said.
"If you hit the same marks all the time, that's where your best lap times come from."