Caleb Gasbarri has been jumping his way up into the big leagues in Motocross. FOCUS talks to Caleb to find out more about his passion, his goals, and how he ventured into this wild sport.
Where are you from?
I was born in Armidale and with the exception of a couple of years in Asia as a toddler, I’ve lived here all my life.
When did you first start riding, and what got you into racing?
My interest in bikes started when I was around seven years of age; I got a Suzuki Pee Wee 50 quad bike for Christmas. At that time we lived on my grandparents’ farm, and I had the time of my life. At age 13 I got a KTM 85 Motocross bike and started to get a little more interested in riding, and at about 14 years old a friend in my class at school who raced bikes took me and my bike along to an Enduro race that the Armidale Motorcycle Club holds West of Uralla. After that one race day, I was hooked on the sport. I recall in my last year of racing Enduro Juniors I was doing lap times similar to the best Senior B graders.
At age 16 I got my dad to drive me to Maclean for an annual Motocross race called Maclean Madness; I’d never raced Motocross before, but liked the idea of riding a manmade track with lots of jumps. Motocross is a very different discipline to Enduro, but I still managed to place 4th on the day. I think at that point I decided that Motocross is what I wanted to do.
When did you start riding professionally?
Two years ago I rode in the under 19 Australian Motocross Series, and last year I rode the same Series in the Pro Lites class, so I’ve been competing with the best in Australia for a couple of years now.
We know racing motorcycles can be dangerous; have you had any injuries?
Motocross can be a high risk sport and there have been some tragic accidents, but look at some of the football codes – they too can be risky. Apart from a knee injury last year, I’ve been lucky to remain injury free. The motorcycling associations do all they can to ensure rider safety: bikes get a mechanical check prior to racing, tracks are inspected by the relevant Motorcycling Authority, your riding gear gets checked, and at all motorcycling events regardless of the discipline, there is some sort of medical assistance present on race day.
Do you have any sponsors?
Currently I’m lucky to have two local businesses supporting me, Lowes Petroleum and our one stop motorbike shop, SuperMoto. Without their support, riding at a national level would be that much harder, as it involves traveling all over Australia, new bikes each season which constantly needs consumables, be it tyres, parts, engine/suspension modifications or special race fuel. Monza Imports, who bring into Australia products like Dunlop tyres, Alpinestars, Oakley and Fox also throw some support my way, which is very much appreciated.
What type of races do you compete in?
Mainly Motocross and when time permits, Enduro.
What racing plans do you have for the future?
The plan for this year is to race the 10 rounds of the Motocross National Championships, which are spread over 6 months and held in NSW, QLD, VIC and SA; I’ll also be competing in the NSW Championships as well as the East Coast Series, North Coast Series and various local events.
Almost every weekend we’ll be on the road travelling to an event, so hopefully I can stay healthy and finish with some good results.
Do you have any recent race highlights?
My recent highlights would be winning the 2014 North Coast Motocross Series Championship and also winning the Pony Express Enduro Series with my gun team mate, Tom Frost. Another highlight would be progressing through the 2014 National Motocross Series to finishing the last three rounds in 15th, so hopefully the best results at this level are yet to come.
What do you ride and why?
Currently I ride two Yamaha YZ250F bikes. One is stock for practicing, and the other has some modifications which I use to race. Although I have raced other makes, I have found that Yamahas have the best build quality, and they are easy to work on.
What advice would you give to kids who aspire to race motorbikes?
Develop a good level of fitness, develop good technique, set realistic goals and most importantly, have fun.
Behind everyone in Motocross there is a support team. Is there anyone you would like to thank?
In order of gratitude I’d like to thank my family; they have in one way or another made sacrifices to enable me to keep racing. I’d also like to thank Lowes Petroleum and SuperMoto for their support; they have been with me for a couple of years now. They are typical wholesome country businesses who have chosen to take an interest in their community by way of throwing their support behind the dreams and aspirations of local kids, so I hope the community supports the businesses that support the community.
Thanks Caleb. Good luck this year!