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Title: Troy Bayliss & The QBE International Festival of Speed

Author: Sienna Wedes

The QBE International Festival of Speed brought many legendary faces to the famous Eastern Creek track. Among those legends was Australian motorsport icon Troy Bayliss. Having various successes in both World Superbikes and MotoGP he made his mark taking 3 World Championships, proving he had the talent and natural ability to fight amongst some of the best. At the QBE International Festival of Speed Troy Bayliss discussed his honor of attending this popular event, his favorite moments during the course of his career and what he thinks the fans are in store for during the MotoGP 2017 season.

Q: What can you say about being apart of the International Festival of Speed?

Troy: This is my first time to the QBE International Festival of Speed, I’ve heard great things in the past and even when I turned up Thursday, it’s early on but there was so much action already happening and I’m just getting even more pumped about it as the days go. We are only at Friday now and it’s already happening. But I’ve heard they get massive crowds so, I mean there is so much interest out there from where I sort of come from, where it was all straight down the line, hard racing and now it’s like so many people in the paddock that I see that I have raced against and have been around bikes but are here for the love of it and here for the good time. It’s a sort of meet and greet and to hang out. Just enjoy themselves.

Q: Do you see this as more of a fun event instead of a competitive event?  

Troy: For me it’s a fun event. I’m sure there are a lot of guys here, especially on the older bikes they want to still go hard and want to try and win their classes for sure. But for me it’s about being here and having a great time and enjoying myself.

Q: Over your career do you have a stand out moment that you’ll always remember?  

Troy: Damn, I had pretty good ones *laughs*. I guess I’d have to say 2008 at the start of the year we said we were going to be retiring at the end of that year because I was like 38 or 39 but I was still at the top of my game. We ended up winning the championship and got out of motorcycle racing, basically in one piece, which was something I was really always hoping to do. I guess 2008 was a very special year and was a good time for my oldest boy was 14 and daughter was 12. It was a good time to get them back to Australia as well. So, the whole thing kind of worked out well. So, that was my moment, 2008. It was just a great year and finished it off.

Q: What do you think an event like this does for riders moving up the ranks and also the support of the general public?

Troy: This event here compared to say the ASBK which is coming back really strong now which is great, but the idea of this, people camping on the hills and really being able to be part of it and mingle with some of their heroes you could say, really makes a difference whereas you go to a MotoGP or World Superbikes and try to go up and see someone, it’s sort of like everyone is out of bounds. Here it’s all about the love of riding. There are some young riders here but it’s basically more the guys that have had a racing career and stopped or guys that still have the passion of riding and not quite as serious.

Q: What are your thoughts on MotoGP, the level it’s at and the amount of competition in 2017?

Troy: It’s going to be an awesome year. I am really hoping Vinales does well. I haven’t even checked the results this morning, which is a bit slack, but I don’t know how he went. I’d love to see fresh blood come in and do some damage there. There have been a lot of guys that are still fantastic riders but it’s nice to see some new guys come through. It’s going to be an exciting year; the racing is going to be crazy.

Q: What to you think of our Aussie boy Jack Miller’s progression? Do you think where he is at the progression level he will eventually get a better factory ride?

Troy: Yeah, it’s a really difficult one. He is doing well but honestly the whole field of guys, there are so many world champions from different classes and sometimes you might be struggling finish 15th and you don’t want to be in that position but honestly they are all so super fast. The times are so close between 1st and towards the tail end of the grid. So, it’s a really hard one to pick and say who is going to make it where and whatever. He’s doing a really good job and we always wish him the best. It’s great to have Aussie blood in there because it gives you someone to cheer for.

Q: How did your brand ‘Baylisstic’ come about?

Troy: I can’t even remember how that all started to tell you the truth *laughs*. I guess everybody puts something on their leathers ‘Baylisstic’ like fast and sort of your style or whatever. That’s just how it came about and I still use it now. My youngest boy does as well and it’s pretty funny.

Q: For this event what bike are you most excited to see out on track?

Troy: Not just one because when you see real bikes and real racing bikes that the guys have actually raced in their careers there is too many to choose from. Like Frankie Chili, rival of mine back in the early 2000’s. He’s on one of his race winning bikes; Kevin Magee is on his YZR 500 and of course Ago on the 250. Like it is crazy, for example the 6 cylinder 250. There are so many special bikes and I love just walking around and checking it out. Normally I’m always around the paddock that’s got the latest and greatest. It’s good to see the oldest, which is still the greatest.

Credit: Deborah Wedes

Credit: Deborah Wedes