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The Return of the Privateer

While much of the focus of the mi-bike Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul (ASBK) is on the factory teams, the category is also home to a group of dedicated privateers who take the fight up to the larger outfits.

The upcoming Hidden Valley ASBK round will mark the return of two such riders to the Championship after recovering from crashes early in the year: Daniel Falzon and Corey Turner.

Falzon’s talents are well-documented; the South Australian achieved a round victory as a privateer at Phillip Island in 2017; after riding for the factory Yamaha team for the 2018 and ’19 seasons, Falzon returned to his family-run team for the 2020 season before the pandemic hit.

Although Falzon is kept busy away from the track with his full-time occupation as a paramedic, the 27-year-old was still intending to compete in most rounds of the 2021 Championship, but his plans were dealt a severe blow when he crashed in testing prior to the Wakefield Park round.

“I had a fall, which caused significant damage to the bike and meant I wasn’t able to race at Wakefield Park, which was a shame,” Falzon said.

“However, we’ve been able to repair the bike and since then, I’ve been able to do some testing at Tailem Bend and Mallala.

“In some ways, it takes a lot of the pressure off for Hidden Valley, because there’s no championship pressure to worry about. I can just focus on enjoying the weekend and doing my best.”

Falzon said he is feeling a lot more comfortable on the bike after surgery at the completion of the 2019 season.

“Throughout 2019, I was suffering quite badly with some arm pump, but I had surgery to rectify those issues and it’s feeling much better,” he said.

Falzon also said his paramedic job has given him a new level of appreciation for the volunteer medical teams at motorsport events.

“I’ve always had an enormous amount of respect for the doctors and nurses at Racesafe, I hold them in very high regard, but now even more so,” he said.

While the 2021 season signifies Turner’s reappearance on a superbike, the Gold Coaster has certainly not been a stranger to the ASBK paddock in recent seasons, competing in the Australian Sidecar Championship, which he won in 2019 with his brother, Danyon Turner, as passenger.

“2019 was our first year racing sidecars, it was a tight battle all year but we ended up winning the championship,” Turner said.

“The plan for this year was to compete in the whole Superbike Championship. We bought a brand-new Yamaha R1 in July last year, and we spent the Christmas period building it into a race bike.

“Unfortunately, I crashed it at Morgan Park in testing and it was almost totally written off – there were only a few components we were able to salvage.

“As a small privateer team, when you have a crash like that, it’s a huge setback. But we were determined not to give up, and my sister-in-law started a GoFundMe page to raise some funds to fix the bike.

“The generosity and support from the local motorcycling community, as well as my sponsors especially Brewed on Cuthbert has just been unbelievable and we’ve been able to get the bike rebuilt in time for Hidden Valley.

“Because I haven’t raced Superbikes lately, it’s hard to get a gauge on where everyone else is at, so I just want to put my best foot forward and be competitive.”

They might not have the resources of the larger teams at their disposal, but when it comes to sheer passion and determination, both Falzon and Turner will be a match for anyone at Hidden Valley.

PHOTOS: Russell Colvin