Unfortunately Tom Toparis hasn’t recovered enough from his injury to compete in Round 4 of the British Supersport Championship at Oulton Park this weekend. The Aussie of Benro Racing talks about the BSB, his recovery and his goals for the last races of the season.
Tom, Donington was going very well. Did you expect that you’d compete at the front from Round 1?
“I honestly didn’t know what to expect heading into the weekend, having never ridden on any of the notoriously hard BSB circuits, and without any pre-season testing. I knew it wouldn’t be as smooth sailing like Assen was last year. I aimed to be in the Top 10 regardless, so after qualifying fourth, I was over the moon.”
It was a nasty crash in Race 2. What do you remember of it?
“It was nasty, but I was lucky not to be more badly injured. It just happened so quickly, and after watching it over about a hundred times, it’s a corner where you either need to be on the kerb, or completely on the tar itself, and my wheels were in the middle on the line. It definitely caught me by surprise! I didn’t feel like I was doing anything erratic either. It was early in the race and I was just settling in.”
After that you started to recover. First initial plan was to start again at Silverstone, but you will also miss the Oulton Park Round. Did you expect that the recovery time would take this long?
“Yes, of course you want to get back racing as soon as possible. From day 1 we set a goal for Silverstone, but that just wasn’t realistic. In a condensed season, returning prematurely is something that we’ve been careful to avoid. I’d rather be fit for the start of next season than to come back and further delay my wrist’s recovery.”
After a long wait because of COVID-19 and the news that the team won’t compete in the WorldSBK this year, there was some good news of starting in BSB. Now you have to wait again for a long period. It must be a difficult year for you.
“This year has been crazy for all of us. At the end of the day, I’m grateful even to be given the opportunity to be over here in Europe racing, even if I am watching from the sidelines for now.”
You’re staying in the Netherlands at the moment. How do you spend your days?
“Yes, this nice summer weather has made the recovery time much more pleasant. I’ve just been helping out Sraar and Michelle where I can through the week, and the weekends have been filled with non-stop MotoGP, BSB, WorldSBK, F1 viewing. It’s frustrating to be watching from the longue. I can’t wait to get back and be part of it.”
Can you do some training or fitness again? What do you do?
“I’ve been doing rehab exercises for the past few weeks. And Sraar has just organised me a cycle bike, so it’s been good to get the legs spinning again on these nice Dutch bike paths.”
But we still have two BSB rounds to go after Oulton Park. Are we going to see you at Donington Park (Round 5) and Brands Hatch (Round 6)? What can we expect from you in those events? “Yes, we will 100% be returning for the last 2 races of the season. Hopefully I’m in a condition again where we can be challenging like we were at round 1. It’s hard to say, I’m still yet to get back on the bike. We have a ride day booked for next week, so hopefully these injuries don’t hinder me too much and we can continue back where we left off.