Bryce Van Hoof – or Hoofy is making his mark on the Australian motorcycle scene. 2012 sees him compete on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R in the Prostock Championship which shares the track with Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).
The ASBK is a little thin on outright SBK bikes this year and has combined the grid with the Prostock bikes. These bikes and riders are in no way grid fillers and provide the pace, noise and racing that warrants a shared track with the SBK riders.
Hoofy started out in Motocross competing for several years before switching to circuit racing. Along with his Prostock duties, he is competing in the Victorian State Championships – where he won the 600 class in 2009.
Given his experience in racing down south one would think he would be used to the rain – but he was hoping for find weather when we caught up with him at Queensland Raceway. The round at Queensland Raceway threw up ugly weather.
“It was different to what I expected. Coming up from Victoria to this – it was more like the weather we get at home. The track was a lot more difficult than I expected,” said Bryce to Racer Views.
“Last time I was here was a couple years ago on a Superstock 600 – now I’m on a 1000 two years later is a different story – especially as I haven’t had a lot of time in the wet on this bike.”
His experience though would carry him through – but there is nothing like a riding the bike to make it fast. He would have preferred the dry as he explains.
“There is nothing like track time to get the bike sorted. In the dry it would be easier. We have a good base setting – so when it is dry we can go to a base setup which works at almost anywhere, but a wet track means we have to find a new setup.”
Undoubtedly, 2012 has been a learning year for Hoofy as he stepped up in bike power and took the next step in his career progression.
“This year has been a real learning year for me, stepping up from the 600 to the 1000. We set ourselves a goal at the start of the to be in the top 10 in the national series and we have achieved that at every round.”
This year has been a real learning year for me, stepping up from the 600 to the 1000. We set ourselves a goal at the start of the to be in the top 10 in the national series and we have achieved that at every round.
There are many elements to riding though and as we see from every rider – from Casey Stoner down, they continually work on every element and their fitness is a particular element that can make a difference.
“We have a bit of pace but I have to get my fitness up a bit to that next level and that should definitely help.”
The future beckons brightly for Hoofy as he looks to move up in the ranks. The move to the 1000 bike was a strategic one to help his future career in the sport.
“I am looking to go overseas again. I had a month in the UK and had a go but things didn’t go to plan. I am looking in the BSB direction. If all goes well this year and I keep getting better on the bike each time I ride it – that is the plan.”
As with any young racer looking to make it in Australia or overseas, money is a problem – racing isn’t cheap and when you look at a wildcard entry into Moto2/3 or WSBK/Superstock, the funds issue really comes to a head.
“I’d like to do a wildcard ride but looking at the money side of it – I probably couldn’t afford it to be completely honest. I’ve spoken to a few people and it is very expensive.”
It also creates other issues too – which could put the issue of saving that money for another championship into perspective .
“There are a lot of changes – you have to adapt to the new tyres and everything like that. You don’t get the tyres until the start of the weekend. So it is a very big gamble but if I head overseas and try something different over there it could be a better option than doing it here.”
His weekend at Queensland Raceway was difficult as he was in a small group that hadn’t ridden his mount at Queensland Raceway before.
He said that he wanted to set goals but not set unachievable goals. The top 10s that he was aiming for were achieved and now he lies 7th in the title standings with two rounds left.
Come September for the final round of the Championship – Hoofy will be one to look out for.
Article and photos by Sam Tickell, July 2012
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