One of the most convoluted racing careers belongs Troy Bayliss. Born in Australia to a certainly not racing minded family Troy soon started to show great skill and strength with a bike. With little else to do Troy began to ride motocross and dirt bikes around the bush and scrublands surrounding his family home. He won a few local events and was thought of as being a developing talent. However, when a teenager he became slightly disenchanted with racing and thought about moving on to other things, but it was a chance encounter with a Kawasaki dealership on his way to work that ignited his passion again and after securing a loan and risking his finances Bayliss purchased a ZXR 50 and no doubt some Summer biker gear as well and took it to the track to start racing. He was 26 and about to start in the Australian Supersport Championship. The heat of Australia puts quite a premium on decent Summer bike gear as it does in the UK when we get heatwaves especially like the recent one. It’s a good idea to have a look into having some so that you can use your bike comfortable whatever the weather and time of year.
The gamble paid off for Bayliss and although he did not win the Supersport he managed to get second in the title race and this inspired him to up his game and try in the Australian Superbikes. He came third and second in subsequent years in the mid-nineties. These performances got him a wild card place in the highly prized 250 Grand prix. He performed remarkably well on a seriously underpowered Ducati finishing sixth. He was third coming out of the last bend but was passed by 2 riders on the final straight which illustrates how under powered that Ducati was. Despite this disappointment the Ducati works team offered Bayliss a contract in Britain riding in the very prestigious Superbikes competition. He readily agreed.
He started slowly not winning a race until round 11 and had a series of crashes and mechanical issues that hindered him, but he was able to win in the next season getting to claim his first title. The World Superbike Championship was to be a period of ups and downs. Bayliss was always consistent and this did win him his first Championship in 2001 and he came very close to a second only for crashes, mechanical retirements and the consistency of Colin Edwards denied him. He did however take the record for most wins.
It was time to then move onto to the pinnacle of Motorcycle racing Moto GP. The transition was not smooth. Although the Ducati was fast and competitive, certainly when it came down to straight line speed the bike was hard to handle, and a series of crashes meant that Bayliss was removed for the team he had so loyally served. He got another ride with Honda but due to a bad injury he could not compete as he would have liked. A return to Superbikes beckoned and he claimed the championship in his first season back. After a brief retirement he has returned and races still.