On November 2nd 2008, the curtain will finally come down on the career of one of the finest motorcycle riders of all-time Troy Bayliss.
The 2008 champion-elect has cut a defiant figure through the World Superbike paddock this season as he embarks on his swansong season, so Crash.net
took the chance to catch up with him to ask him what he plans to do when he finally hangs up the helmet…
How sad are you to be saying farewell to the UK?
I have spent a lot of time racing in England and I lived here for a couple of years. I feel like I have done my apprenticeship here really, especially riding in the rain, but I do like racing here because there are some fantastic tracks. One of my favourites is Oulton Park, which has nice characteristics for a track. It is sad to be saying goodbye, but I will be coming back and forth for a few things. Everyone thinks they will never see me again, but I will be around!
Retirement is looming – what is the big plan for you after leaving here?
I have a few things in mind. Basically, I need to chill out and relax for a while back in Australia. The kids are sorted out in schools and the most important thing for me is to calm down a little, which is getting harder and harder because I am a racer at heart. It is hard to explain – I am going to miss this way of life because I have been doing it for so long, but I know this is the right time to stop. It will be nice to go out on top, or near to the top.
Have you been tempted to re-sign on the dotted line?
I nearly re-signed about two months ago. I really felt like I wanted to do more, but I did make my mind up months ago. Sometimes I get to the point where I feel like I'm giving my bike away – it's like giving away a pet. I feel like I'm lending it to someone else and I won't be getting it back, so it is really hard to explain. I could ride until I put myself in a body bag, but the right thing to do is to stop this year, enjoy my family and start a new chapter in my life.
Yours are some big shoes to fill – who would you
like to replace you?
I would like to see a young guy in there, someone like Brendan Roberts, but that won't happen. He might end up in a satellite team though.