Kiwi superbike rider Dillon Telford making mark, but running low on funds
As money runs low, Otaki-raised superbike rider Dillon Telford is turning to old-fashioned Kiwi ingenuity.
Telford, 25, needs about NZ$20,000 to compete in the last four meetings of the CIV National Trophy season in Italy, after a sponsor withdrew support.
He has enough to compete at the next meet at Mugello in early July, but will do so without his team.
Only he and partner Jo Taylor will work on his bike, and KRT Racing have offered to bring it to the track and loan them equipment.
Telford has asked tyre provider Pirelli to borrow semi-used tyres to use in practice and qualifying.
It costs the pair about $5000 a round in tyres, fuel, accommodation, food and entry fees.
They will need more funds by the fourth meet at Misano at the end of July.
The series then takes a lengthy break, resuming in September and finishing in October.
Telford, the son of former New Zealand superbike title winner Bruce Telford, became the first New Zealander to ride superbikes competitively in Europe since Simon Crafar in 2002, when he competed in his first race in Imola in April.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Speaking from their base in Fanano in Northern Italy, Telford said he was proud to have narrowed his time to about three seconds behind the pace-setters after two rounds.
He has shown potential, consistently finishing in the mid-20s in a quick field of 40 - the pacesetters are about one second off World Superbike times.
His highlight was finishing second in a qualifying round at Misano, on a day it rained so much the pits flooded.
After leading for most of the run he was overtaken by Federico D'Annunzio on the penultimate lap, and finished 0.1 of a second behind.
"We proved that when we're confident with the bike and everything works well, we can be right up there," he said.
He has had to overcome limited track time and technical issues with the bike's spark plugs, tyres and rear wheel sensor cable.
At an average meet he gets two 25-minute practices on the track before qualifying and races, sharing the track with 319 other riders across eight classes.
"The lack of track time makes it a serious challenge when teams here have had years of racing on this track, but we are up for that challenge wholeheartedly," Taylor said.
Telford returns to Misano and Mugello in subsequent rounds and, armed with more track knowledge, is confident he can improve his placings.
The push to raise funds is happening at home too, but the pair sold almost everything they own to get to Italy.