It’s not often an athlete can claim they spent 25 years at the top of their sport across different disciplines, winning more than 70 Championship titles, including two titles in the same year across two classes in the Australian Superbike Championship and is still competitive today. That is unless you are Australian Superbike legend, Jamie Stauffer.
There must be something in the water in the town of Kurri Kurri, NSW, where Stauffer was born, as the town has also produced Australian motorcycle royalty in Casey Stoner (MotoGP) and Chad Reed (Motocross and Supercross).
In fact, the wider Newcastle region could easily claim it has produced more recent world class motorcycle riders than any other region in Australia when you include Toby Price, Jason Doyle, Broc Parkes, Kevin Curtain, Craig Anderson, Rohan Tungate, and Phil Lovett, all who have lived in the region at some point in the early part of their careers before they went onto great success.
“It’s funny because when I look back at Kurri Kurri dirt track and the riders, the names I rode against at the time weren’t names and now they are people who have done really good stuff in all different disciplines across the world and we rode together and made each other better,” said Stauffer who runs the successful DoctorMak Engines in Maitland, NSW.
For Stauffer, now 41, the love affair with motorcycles still burns just as bright as the day he received his first motorcycle at the tender age of 4-years-old.
“It’s a way of life for me,” he said.
“I’ve got a little bit of property where I live and we’ve got a track in the back yard and even if I’m not riding or at a race track with Max, I’m prepping this track so others can ride or I’m at a dirt track or at Christmas at a speedway track and helping people in the pits.
“I’m a motorcycle racing fan in general, but if I’m not around motorbikes, I’m bored to be honest.”
Stauffer’s resume of success is why for many in the sport he is amongst Australia’s greatest riders. Between 1991 and 1999, Stauffer was the king of dirt track, winning 49 State and 16 National titles.
It was a phone call from current Motorcycling Australia President and former Champion, Peter Goddard that started Stauffer’s road to success in road racing.
“In 1996 Peter Goddard rang and said we; my brother and I, should get into road racing and he gave us contacts to get some Suzuki RGV 250s and we said alright we will give it a go and see what happens,” said Stauffer.
“I never knew anything about road racing at the time.
“My brother went full road racing earlier than me as I was doing a bit of speedway and dirt track.
“It came to a point where I said I better do one.”
As they say in the classics, the rest was history. Stauffer would go onto not only dominate Supersport and Superbike classes, but consistently finish in the top ten for the next 15 years.
From the get-go Stauffer impressed. Winning the Australian Aprilia Challenge, the Two Wheels 6 Hour Endurance race, and a win at the Daytona International Speedway in the Formula USA Aprilia Challenge.
2006 was a magical year for the Yamaha shod rider, winning both the Australian Superbike Championship and Supersport Championship.
The following year, he nearly claimed both championships again, but crashed at turn 9 at Sydney Motorsport Park, during the last round, last race and finished second in the Supersport class. Yet, he still won this Superbike class championship.
“2006 was a great year. I had had a few good years before that and a lot of good races and came close to some titles,” Stauffer said.
“When I signed with Yamaha everything just clicked. I was riding at my best. The bikes were good. The team was good and the first meeting I won all six races, scored two lap records and a pole.
“It was one of those times when you feel that confident that you jell with the bike that well and the team everything just fell into place. It was special.
“We had a really great time with Yamaha to be honest, the racing was so good, and the competition was tough.
“Over history there was always someone to step up and raise the bar that everyone had to catch up to, and I was lucky enough that, that was me.
“We had a great run and at the end of the day it made everyone else a better rider as they wanted to win and beat me.”
Stauffer fondly remembers dominating both Superbike and Supersport classes.
“Back then if you could win a 600 Supersport race, you were pretty confident you could win a Superbike race as well.
“I remember in 2006 or 2007 qualifying in the first round at Eastern Creek and I put it on pole in Superbikes and my qualifying time on a 600 would have put me second place on the superbike,” he said with a chuckle.
Stauffer also raced overseas in the AMA in the United States of America, after a USA based friend asked him to come and join him and they would get a couple of Yamaha R6’s to race.
“It’s quite a funny story. I went over there, picked up a couple of bikes and went from San Diego to Daytona.
“But the day before leaving, we were getting the bikes tuned, and on the way back, a car ran up the back of me in the truck I was driving.
“It hit me pretty hard and it broke bits of stuff off the brand new bike. So, we were a couple of days late leaving because we were fixing the bike.
“We finished 7th there but 10 of us went across the line side by side and I got the track record there and was lucky enough to get a call up from Yoshimura Suzuki who put me on the 600 over there for the rest of the year.”
Stauffer’s last full season of racing was in 2016 in ASBK, but he was given the opportunity by good friend Craig McMartin to race the last 2 rounds of the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship on what would become Wayne Maxwell‘s 2020 round 1 winning Ducati.
While he suffered bike issues at Phillip Island, Stauffer proved he was just as competitive at Sydney Motorsport Park despite qualifying poorly.
Stauffer managed to race with the front runners in both races scoring a 5th and 6th placing on a bike he had not ridden, showing there was still plenty of talent and fight in the former full-time racer.
“I don’t think anyone forgets how to ride but I struggled all weekend looking after Max’s bikes as well.
“I qualified way back but went out and I did really well over race distance.
“During qualifying I’d come in to make changes to my bike and I was there with the helmet on changing Max’s wheels. It was a hard weekend, too hard to ride and look after Max at the same time.
“The Ducati V4R is pretty damn good, easily the fastest bike I’ve ridden.”
While he could be competitive with ASBK front runners, Stauffer realised it was too hard to race and be crew chief mechanic and Dad to Max.
“I had my time and I realised it was time to give Max a go.
“I feel if I wanted to, I would have to get a lot fitter so I could go out and be competitive in Superbikes, but I love helping my young guy out and making him a better rider.”
Max, now competing in the Motorsports TV Supersport class came through the ASBK junior ranks with plenty of race wins and podium finishes in the YMI Supersport 300 class.
“It’s totally different being on this side of the pit garage, being the crew chief and trying to work out what the rider is trying to interpret is a different thing, but quite fun.”
Like many former racers now helping their children race, Stauffer gets nervous every time Max gets on the bike.
“It’s actually terrible, it is worse than being on the bike.
“It’s nerve racking to be honest and it’s with you the whole time he is out there, but it’s what he wants to do, so I help him.
“The moment he crosses the line you catch your breath and it’s all good.
“He’s definitely got a lot of talent. He is a better rider than I was at the same age.
“If he keeps progressing and learning I think he can move forward, and he seems to be doing all the right things.
“When he first started racing and even though I had a fair bit of experience, every time I would tell him something he would ignore it, but now he has realised pretty quickly that I do know what I’m talking about and now takes it all in and listens and learns.
“Each time he gets on the bike now he’s doing better and getting faster.”
So, what are Stauffer’s hopes for his son Max.
“COVID has changed it a bit this year. Originally, I wanted him to be winning races by the end of the year, I still want that.
“He has only had one race this year on the 600 so we will see how he goes and whether in the future he goes to Superbike here or overseas.
“On a Yamaha I won the Superbike Championship and I think it would good if Max could be the next person on a Yamaha to do that or a double on Yamaha.
“Yamaha have been fantastic and have helped us a lot.
“We all get along great and I’ve always had a good relationship with those guys, even when I went to Ducati and Honda.”
What does Stauffer think about ASBK today?
“I think now it’s more professional, the teams are making the bikes and pit areas more presentable and ASBK is doing a really good job with the series.
“When I started, we turned up with RGV white gel coated fairings and now all the bikes and teams look presentable and everyone has stepped it up.
“It would be good to see some more money in the paddock with more sponsorship available.”
What does Stauffer think of the current riders, some of whom he raced against and who is his tip to take out the 2020 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, in the Kawasaki Superbike class?
“It’s good to see guys like Wayne Maxwell still competitive, you need old people out there on track as well as young people.
“It’s good to see Wayne and Troy Herfoss there and going so good, shows you don’t need to be young if you still got and want it.
“If there was no stoppage this year, I would have said Wayne for sure and I think he still has got a pretty high chance of winning, I’d put my money on him.
“But Troy has a new Honda and it will be interesting to see how fast he is on that, as he was definitely not on the best bike out there.
“Troy is always strong competitor anytime he’s on the track and he is still winning races, so will be interesting to see how he goes.”
While Stauffer has ridden on Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha throughout his career, there is only one favourite bike.
“The Yamaha 2006 R1SP is definitely my favourite, it was a pretty special bike to ride and I’ve still got that bike, it’s the only one I have really.”
Some of Jamie Stauffer’s major achievements included:
2000 – Winner of Australian Aprilia Challenge.
2000 – Winner of Two Wheels 6 Hour Endurance, teamed with Warwick Nowland and Mark Willis.
2005 – 3rd in Australian Superbike Championship.
2006 – Winner of both the Australian Superbike and Supersport Championships.
2007 – 9th in Suzuka 8 Hour with Norick Abe.
2007 – Winner of the Australian Superbike Championship, 2nd in the Supersport Championship.
2008 – Winner of the Australian Supersport Championship, 2nd in the Superbike Championship.
2009 – 2nd in Australian Supersport Championship.
2010 – 5th in Australian Superbike Championship.
2011 – 2nd in Australian Superbike Championship.
2012 – 3rd in Australian Superbike Championship.
2013 – 4th in Australian Superbike Championship.
2016 – 8th in the Australian Superbike Championship.
You will be able to catch father and son – Jamie and Max Stauffer – at the next round of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, round 2, to be held at The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia, on November 20-22.
The ASBK Grand Finale for 2020 will be conducted as a double-header round, rounds 3 and 4 over 4-days, at Winton Motorway Raceway, December 3-6.
ASBK round 2 at The Bend and both rounds 3 and 4 at Winton Motor Raceway (Saturday and Sunday) will be broadcast live through our TV partners on SBSHD, Fox Sports Australia, Fox Sports Asia.
ROUND 2 – International MotoFest @ The Bend, SA November 20-22
ROUND 3 & 4 – Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC December 3-6
ASBK Night of Champions Awards Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla, VIC December 6
Pictures by Andrew Gosling – TBGSport, Russell Colvin and Jamie Stauffer Facebook