For most riders, COVID-19 has clearly hampered their racing season, but it has been a blessing in disguise for ASBK Kawasaki Superbike class title contender Yamaha Racing Team’s, Aiden Wagner.
At the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, Official ASBK Test at Phillip Island in January, Wagner was one of the fastest riders on track but an accident, saw the Queenslander requiring surgery to his left thumb.
While he raced at round 1, he admitted after the event he lacked feeling in his hand trying to wrestle his Yamaha R1 around the Island at over 300kmph.
Wagner’s results were also hampered by electrical gremlins which significantly impacted power delivery throughout the weekend not allowing him to race with the front pack.
After the first round, Wagner again had surgery on his hand.
“I’ve had three surgeries on it now, it’s been fused and now unfused,” said Wagner from home.
“While I’m still recovering it’s pretty good, it’s stronger now and I can ride my bike, and I definitely have feeling in it again,” said an ecstatic Wagner.
“It’s great getting the strength back, its quite a powerful part of your hand and I’ve got no numbness or residual pain which I had previously, and I can move my thumb like normal.
“I’ve been training hard and am doing exercises on my hand to continue to build up more strength.
“I’ve been riding on our property through rough terrain and doing breaking exercises to strengthen my hand more every afternoon after work on the farm with the Yamaha YZ 250 and it feels really good.
“It (COVID-19) has been such a bad thing, but for me its been a bit of a blessing that I could heal and get my hand back to normal and be fit and ready for the next round.”
Wagner cannot wait to throw a leg over his superbike and hit the track again.
“Jumping on the Yamaha R1 and just holding the thing wide open, I can’t wait to get that adrenalin rush again – power sliding on that beast I’m pretty keen to do that.
“I believe once restrictions are lifted and borders re-open, we will be able to do some testing.
“It’s hard at the moment, because some of the team and team-mate Cru Halliday are down south in NSW and the rest of the team are here in Queensland.”
The downtime has also allowed the Yamaha Racing Team to get all the 2020 parts and updates they require to challenge for the ASBK title.
“I’ve got all the 2020 parts now so it’s just finding the right settings for me and I can’t wait to hit the track.”
The downtime has also seen Wagner expand his business interests buying land to further develop his family macadamia nut business.
“I’ve been working with my Dad’s company but have also started my new macadamia farm.
“I’ve worked on my grandparents farm since I was born, and I do a lot of work over there to help them out.
“I always liked the idea of it and definitely wasn’t planning on doing it now, but the perfect opportunity came up to expand the family business while I’m racing.
“It’s something I can keep on top of while I’m racing and is a good long-term business.
“Funnily enough, while some businesses have suffered during COVID we have been really busy doing double time.”
COVID-19 restrictions had put the 2020 season on hold, but ASBK management are working hard to find COVID-safe solutions under the current State Government restrictions.
We hope to as soon as practical get the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, under way, and further announcements are expected soon.
Pictures by Russell Colvin and Andrew Gosling