Tirau superbike rider fulfilling his dream
Gripping the handlebars of a superbike so powerful he's ripped out of its seat on takeoff to reach speeds of over 300 kilometres is something Dillon Telford lives for.
The 25-year-old Tirau superbike rider, who is the son of champion New Zealand superbike rider Bruce Telford, is set to compete in the Italian CIV National Trophy Championship in Italy from April to October 2017 where he will take on 45 top Italian and Spanish racers.
After coming second in New Zealand's Superstock 1000 championship in 2016 Telford, who will travel to Italy with his partner and mechanic Jo Taylor, said it was a natural progression and chance to boost the profile of the sport here.
He will become the first New Zealander to ride superbikes competitively overseas since Simon Crafar in 2002.
Racing as part of Italy's King Racing Team (KRT) he will compete on some of the country's top tracks during the six round championship.
But it's no easy journey to get there. His custom made Italian Aprilia bike is costing $40,000 alone and then there are travel, living, and entry costs which has seen him have to sell almost everything he owns.
"We have literally sold everything but people don't like second hand underwear and socks so i've still got those," he laughed.
"Our target is $95,000 and we have reached $65,000 since October so we have done well without any major sponsors on board.
"It's been a struggle because motorcycle racing in New Zealand is not that big, whereas in Italy it is their national sport. How we see rugby is how they see motorsport and soccer, it's absolutely huge."
While a meet and greet at Mugello racetrack in Italy last year proved he's up with the best- test rides placed him within the top ten of 42 championship riders- he said he's not just going there to race well but also to learn to help with his rider coaching in New Zealand.
"I want to learn things that you just can't learn in New Zealand so I can bring things back and teach other riders what it takes to get to that level.
"Taupo Motorsport Park has started supporting us with that and in the future wants to help with developing riders from a young age.
"In Italy they start riding when they are four but here you have to be 13 so it is something Taupo and myself want to change."
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