Jay Upton to Return

jay-upton-return-sJay Upton to return at Willowbank after recent crash.


Top Bike legend Jay Upton will make his comeback from his well-publicised Sydney incident, next weekend at Willowbank Raceway for round one of the ANDRA Pro Series over August 8 and 9.

Images of the three-time Australian Top Bike Champion coming off his bike and bouncing down the strip in May were splashed across TV screens just twelve weeks ago, with the incident destroying his bike and leaving him with a fractured pelvis.
Now the 53-year-old Company Director of Top Fuel Promotions will make his comeback aboard his previous, now refined, chassis for round one of the ANDRA Pro Series at Willowbank Raceway.

“We went to Sydney with a chassis and body combination that was only 10 runs old, after we introduced it in January,” said Upton. “That first qualifier was held quite late in the evening, and whilst it wasn’t a spectacular run to start with – we overpowered the track and smoked the tyre – we recovered and were travelling at approximately 198mph by half track. Then as I went to shut off early at 1000ft, a small aerodynamic issue with the bike was triggered and the bike basically tried to turn around at 220mph until the chute deployed which pointed it straight again, but unfortunately for us by that time, going straight saw us going straight into the left hand wall.”

While the incident completely destroyed Upton’s bike – it is estimated the accident cost $100,000 in money terms (not including the team’s labour) and left him with a fractured pelvis and extreme muscle strains, after two weeks rest Upton was rarely away from the workshop.

“We originally planned to compete at the season-closing event at Willowbank, the Castrol EDGE Winternationals over the June Queen’s Birthday weekend but with the season-opener moved forward to August we decided to delay and do everything that we wanted to do to be properly ready,” said Upton. “We have gone back to our previous chassis which I am very familiar with, but have made some changes to make it more like the new chassis which we felt was better – but at the same time we have made sure to fix the aero issue! Unfortunately we won’t have a chance to test before hitting the track on August 8, so it will be a interesting weekend for the whole crew as we prepare for that first qualifier.”

Although Upton has come back from a major crash before after coming off the bike in Perth seven years ago, also at 200mph plus, there will be plenty of trepidation in the air as he lines up for that very first run next Saturday.

“I think it is a fairly stupid man that puts something like that out of his mind completely,” said Upton. Crashing, especially in drag racing, is a strange thing – for us, there is no 70 percent, or 80 percent level that we can start out at, to get used to being back on the bike again. You go to the track, you do your burnout, and then you approach the startline and its all or nothing – there is nothing but 100% when it comes to drag racing, the minute that light goes green you have to turn the throttle and go for it.

“It is a difficult mental time and obviously at times like these there is trepidation for everyone, as no one likes big crashes whether it’s you or someone else in the fraternity. I am hoping it will all be okay once I line up at Willowbank, but we will just have to see how it plays out. I feel that I am kind of pleased to be going back to the previous chassis as I know it well and I trust it – it is the ‘last known good configuration’ as they say! The most frustrating part for me was being so close to our performance goals after a difficult season – and then crashing – so it will be good to get back to the track and hopefully restart our campaign. ”

“As a privateer team with little funding, it has been a difficult couple of months, but we certainly will be giving it our all next weekend at Willowbank Raceway and will be happy to talk to anyone there that might want to become involved with the team as well!”

Upton and the Top Bike category will be joined on track for round one of the ANDRA Pro Series by fellow Pro Series brackets Top Doorslammer and Top Alcohol, as well as all the sportsman action from Group 2, 3 and 4.

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