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SBK, West on the podium with a borrowed engine

After three breakdowns in the Phillip Island tests, the Australian finished 3rd in the race with a powerplant procured in the national championship

SBK: West on the podium with a borrowed engine

His participation was officially announced in February. Anthony West did not want to miss the opening World SuperSport round. For him, born in Maryborough less than two thousand kilometres from Phillip Island, the Australian track holds no secrets.
He turned up at the track with a “homemade” Yamaha R6. Alongside him there are no engineers with cum laude degrees, but three friends helping out, all with a common denominator: a passion for two wheels.

For someone like West, lapping at Phillip Island is so easy it can be done blindfolded, but he was still unaware of what difficulties he would face along his own path. With barely enough time to don helmet and leathers, he went out on the track for the first free practice session on Friday and his first engine blew. He hadn’t even started his weekend yet and he was already stuck in the garage, dejected.

In the second session things went even worse, because the engine blew before he even got onto the track. The Australian could not believe it. It seemed like a sign from destiny. In fact, for Superpole 1, the Yamaha rider was forced to throw in the towel because of a third breakdown. He managed to do just five lap, the best in 1’34”899. The weekend was marred, but not for the Australian who, instead of lowing heart, got to work on the bike in the hopes of being on the grid for the race on Sunday.

With the help of a mechanic, he procured an engine for the race from a team participating in Australian Supersport. Anthony and his friends mounted it, but incorrectly. You read right, incredible! It all had to be redone, but in the end ever part fit in its place.

Sunday he started from the seventh row. This time, the podium truly seemed to be a mirage, but instead he moved his way up through the rear guard. Anthony overtook one after another and thanks to the contact between Caricasulo and Cluzel, he arrived at the last big turn that leads to the finish line in third place. It was a three-way sprint with Ryde and Tuuli, but he managed to keep them at his pipes.

How did the race go? He said it himself: “If they had told me that I would be on the podium before the start I never would have believed it – he revealed – there was a problem a minute to solve. I even had to procure an engine at the last minute because I was at risk of not even starting. But that’s not all: From Siberia until Lukey Heights I was riding all the way with the limiter, I swear. Anyway, it went well. The podium is not bad as a result (he smiles slyly).”

With the Australian round filed away, Thailand awaits, but West warns: I am still not sure whether or not I’ll be able to be at Buri Ram – he pointed out – If it were up to me I’d be there tomorrow, but unfortunately the problem has to do with the budget. Rumour has it that going to the Thai round would cost around 50-60 thousand dollars. After all, we know that Motorsport is also, or above all, business.

Translated by Jonathan Blosser

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