Shorter to race at Le Mans courseSave
By Peter White
Sidecar passenger Robbie Shorter's next international racing challenge is at the acclaimed Le Mans circuit in France.
The Welcome Bay resident, who has competed at the notorious Isle of Man TT circuit, will join forces with Slovakian rider Janez Remse at the FIM Sidecar World Championship series next month.
Shorter is excited to be racing at Le Mans, famous for the 24-hour endurance race held there annually since 1923.
"It is going to be a pretty cool circuit to race at and the first race of the series which is always a good one to get under your belt. This is the first full campaign that I have been able to do but I did do three rounds back in 2015," he said.
Shorter and Remse have never worked together and will need third parties to help them communicate as Remse speaks little English.
But Shorter is not expecting any issues when they get down to business.
"I met Janez back in 2015 when Colin Buckley an I did three rounds of the world championship in Croatia, Hungary and Germany. He doesn't speak a lot of English so most of it is translated through his team.
"There is a mutual respect when anyone is at that level doing that type of racing and everyone knows what they are doing. He was looking for a passenger and John Holden had put my name forward after the [New Zealand] tri-series and a couple of other people had said to him that maybe I was a go so it evolved from there."
Every rider is different so it is a matter of getting used to Remse's style, Shorter said.
"The key for me is to get to know how he rides, how he approaches corners so I can complement what he is doing. The more that you ride with that person the more confident you get with them."
Shorter and Avalon Biddle from Orewa are the first New Zealanders to compete at this level of superbikes since Aaron Slight 20 years ago.
"She is doing a support class to the world superbikes and she put up that it is the first time a Kiwi has done a full world championship motorcycle event in the last 20 years," Shorter said.
"I have sort of stolen her thunder a bit now that I have signed up to the worlds with Janez. It has been a long time since Kiwis have been on the world stage for motorcycling road racing.
"I am actually the only guy from the southern hemisphere and outside of Europe to be racing in it so that is quite neat as well."
Shorter leaves for Europe in positive mindset after he and Stephen Taylor won the New Zealand Superbike sidecar title this month.
"Spike [Taylor] and I are off to Aussie this week to do the transtasman challenge in Eastern Creek so hopefully we can carry on some good form there and it will be a nice little feeder going into the world championship."