Shane Richardson- on race road to success- driven, grounded and grateful to race in BSB 2020

Courtesy of Sharon Cox

Shane Richardson has achieved well deserved respect within Motorsport industry racing for Astro JJR Racing in 2019 British Superstock 600 Championship and now entering new season racing BSB National Superstock 1000 Series on board the new BMW S1000RR.

Shane Richardson testing June 2020 Photo Credit: Shane

Quite a turn around from growing up racing NZ’s SBK Championships, followed by experience racing in USA in 2018. With plenty of learning curves to deal with, Shane never shied away away from breaking the threshold of ‘pursuing his passion’ juggling budgets to make it all happen at just 24 years of age.

In fact, Shane has achieved quite the remarkable. Having made impressive strides in racing 2019 British Superstock 600 Series and coming oh-so-close to taking out the Title, the Kiwi has managed to juggle work role based in the UK- which no doubt kept any feeling of being idle during lock-down at bay.

SC: 2020 British SBK Championship has finally announced calendar after ‘no racing’ with COVID. Can you let readers know how you managed over COVID ‘no racing’ period to start back up again with testing and racing in a months time?

SR: ‘If I’m completely honest, I was quite relieved to gain the extra bit of time before the start of the racing season. I think it has given everyone that little bit more time to prepare properly on some things that may have been a bit rushed. For our team it’s a complete restart with new bikes for this year and it takes a while to gather everything you need to put a good package together. I know there was a lot of waiting lists for different parts etc so at least now we are testing on a complete package and are ready to race’.

Shane Richardson testing June 2020 Photo: Shane

‘It also gave me a bit of breathing space to get my work situation sorted out over here in the UK. Due to some circumstances last year I arrived back in the country with no job this year which took a bit longer than I might have hoped to get sorted. I have now started up my own little business, ‘Kiwicraft’ creating bespoke interior furniture, so that has kept me busy. All that being said, I was definitely glad to finally see dates of when we would be racing, after all that is what we came for!!’

If being in the right place at the right time means anything in securing race-rides, athletes still need to take the initiative and pursue any opportunities that may be beneficial for advancing their career. Shane took heart that putting himself out there would increase his chance of getting the break-through that was needed to achieve short and long-term goals.

SC: Racing under Astro JJR Team and stepping up to race National Superstock 1000 series this year on the new model BMW S1000RR- how did the decision come about and what is it like to race with Team owner Stuart Tromans who has nearly 20 years experience in SBK paddock?

SR: ‘For me it all started when I was racing against Peter Hickman back home in the Suzuki series. I spoke to him quite a bit and within conversation mentioned that I had been looking for a ride in BSB to no avail. But I was still intending to head over regardless and do track-days on my own bike to learn tracks with the hope of getting something for the following year.

Shane and Damon Rees testing June 2020

‘Within I’d say about a month he had put me in touch with Stuart Tromans who had just lost his rider for the season, and since then Stuart has been nothing but accommodating in any way he can. He came up with the idea for a stock 600 campaign as it was a great way to learn the tracks, championship, people and everything in between to save having to do all of that in stock 1000’.

‘I genuinely feel so lucky to have fallen on my feet with Stuart and James Jackson as they are such a top notch team that are in it for all the right reasons. It’s the best surrounding I could ask for to try and prove myself’. 

Full circle in Motorsport doesn’t come often, but when it does, the feeling is great. With lockdown restrictions eased, testing has begun with Shane and fellow-Kiwi and team-mate Damon Rees relishing time on the bike.

SR: ‘The night before our first outing at Donington on the 2nd of June I was like a kid at Christmas. All my gear was cleaned and packed, clothes folded next to the bed ready to just get up and get going. I was so excited’. 

‘I really aim to get comfortable on the new bike during these test sessions and to build confidence heading into the first round. So far has been exactly that, the bike has been phenomenal out of the box and has so much potential. Given my lack of time on a 1000cc bike I was super glad to have my head up to speed very quickly and not for a moment feel like I was trying to keep up with the bike. Prior to our first ride on the BMW, the last time I had ridden was December 15th and I wouldn’t say I had ended on a high. So my main intention has been to get back in a flow and have fun with it, to me that’s always when you get the best out of anything’. 

Having experienced highs of winning Rounds last year in Superstock 600 class, to disappointment of missing out on Championship, Shane takes it all on board, noting learning curves happen for a reason, even when difficult to accept at the time.

Shane and Damon ‘good vibes’ on and off the track.

SC: 2019 British SBK Championship racing Superstock 600 Championship was challenging Final Round, having come so close to winning Title, then mechanical mishap put paid to all hard work. How have you managed to overcome such a disappointment, given Motorsport career is challenging at best of times?

SR: ‘I think the thing that made finishing second a little bit easier was knowing I had already achieved everything I wanted out of that year and more. The title was always just a cherry on top for the team and myself. Obviously we are all driven to win and that is always the goal but in cases like that you look at the bigger picture’.

‘The other thing was, we never once came into the final race thinking it was done and dusted. Although my points lead was big and there was only a handful of scenarios that would see me lose it, we’ve been around long enough to know it’s not over until it’s over. I definitely believe staying grounded until the end saved a lot of heart break that day. I actually read a quote the other day from Michael Schumacher that said “never get too high and never get too low” and that resonated with me’. 

I must say also, it was very humbling the amount of support I received from a lot of my competitors who were more upset than I was with how that race played out for me. You don’t really realize the respect you’ve earnt until moments like those’.

Shane Richardson testing June 2020

With 2020 playing out in uncertain ways, Shane has strength of character to roll with it all, making changes where needed where time management is key to gaining ultimate physical fitness and mental stamina heading into BSB Opening Round at Donington Park, August 7th.

SR: ‘My diet is definitely a lot better and I’m focusing on trying to better my endurance on zwift, but trying to find time has been hard with work at the moment. I am very fortunate that my job is physical and I am constantly active so at least maintaining that natural fitness level is an everyday occurrence’. 

With fellow Kiwi Damon Rees on the same Team, there must surely be ‘good vibes’ happening on and off the track. Bonus, Shane and Damon are great mates, competitive against each other racing while at same time respectful that each rider has the ability and focus to push their limits on achieving much wanted success overseas.

SR: ‘It’s awesome having Damo and Talia over here. He is one of my best mates from the racing paddock and definitely a rider I have a lot of respect for after a few years going toe to toe. We started road racing around the same time so I think it’s cool that we have both ended up where we are now. He certainly brings a lot to the team and I think with the two of us working together and pushing one another we can achieve some pretty great things’. 

‘There is certainly a lot of racing coming up so it’s lucky we get along so well given the amount of time we will be spending together! At least we get to sleep in separate caravans though so we get a break…’

BSB Opening Round at Donington Park, August 7th. Up-dates to follow.

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