The story of Dillon and Jo is a beautiful one, as partners in life (as well as on the pit lane) and in love with the RSV4. He is Dillon Telford (rider), and she is Jo Taylor (mechanic) of TR20 team. They sold everything they own in New Zealand to move to Italy for 6 months and buy the 2017 RSV4 FW. The goal: to compete on the track and gain 10th position in the Mugello Circuit at the National Trophy 1000 of the CIV (Campionato Italiano Velocità, Speed Italian Championship). Goal reached: A great performance from this extraordinary, passionate couple.
PROGRESS OF THE TR20 TEAM. The determination of the TR20 team knows no bounds! From selling everything to move to Italy and buy the latest Aprilia RSV4 RFW 2017 stock 1MM model, to training Jo to take charge of marketing and media for the TR20 team and all aspects of the RSV4, to gaining the necessary skills to manage tyre tuning and suspension, to entering into one of the highest levels of competition in Europe with the goal of placing in he Top 10. The satisfaction of placing in the Top 10 brings the taste of victory for this small but passionate team from New Zealand.
“The Italian paddock this year is one of the toughest with Wild Card riders battling with the front runners. This level of competition will either make or break you as a person, as a rider, as a human being, and as a team if you let it. From the beginning some 13 months ago, we heard it all… many people didn't think we had what it takes to compete at this level.”
APRILIA: THE PASSION OF THE TELFORD FAMILY. “Passion is a huge part of who we are, as a team and as individuals. Our passion for the Aprilia Brand is huge!” For Dillon it began in New Zealand when his father, Bruce Telford, discovered a passion for the Aprilia brand before he purchased the very first Aprilia Superbike RSV1000 mille in 1999, then became a multi champion with Aprilia on Closed Circuit & Street Racing in their home country in the many years to following with all the RSV, RSVR and SXV as well as RSV4.
IMPROVEMENT IN PRACTICES AND QUALIFICATIONS. During Friday practices (22 September 2017) Dillon had expert help from the Nuova M2 Team, who checked the settings and helped improve the setup, with Jo applying the changes and then going back out to the track to test. “After the session we had three Nuova M2 technicians find us to discuss the bike and help us find the best solution, which we found before long. One M2 technician asked if Jo was going to do all the modifications, she being the teams head mechanic, but in this case it’s a team effort on the part of all three of us, including the rider.” “Saturday’s qualifications (23 September) brought great results. The new solution worked well and we ran 0,400 seconds faster than our previous personal best at a 1,56,400 whilst being on a cold track; now we can consistently do 0,56’s, whereas last time it was a struggle to do 57’s. We qualified P21 for the race, our best qualifying so far this season!”
A LIVELY PRE-RACE. Sunday’s race (24 September) was stressful for the team and possibly the hardest day in Italy to date! “Dillon woke with a torn muscle in his shoulder from qualifying day and rain was predicted for Sunday. Our race was at 11.05am, and the choice of which tyres to buy, slicks or wets, was a real gamble. We couldn’t afford both. With 2 hours till our race, it looked like fine weather so slicks were purchased & fitted. Jo checked the hot front tyre near our race time, the valve stem rubber had perished on our Marvic wheel and was leaking, so Dillon ran off to the parts shop at the track to buy a replacement whilst Bruce and Jo took the front wheel off the bike. Dillon returned with the only one the shop had, but it didn’t fit, and no O-rings among our spares would fit.
With 13 minutes until the race, Jo noticed the spear OME RSV4 wheel was mounted with an old wet tyre on it, and not having enough time to change tyres we took the valve stem off the wet rim, fitted it to the Marvic rim and put it back on the bike with 5 minutes left before the pit lane opened. But the drama wasn’t over yet!
A TRILLING COMPETITION. Dillon got off to a great start, running safely through turn one and up to 16th from 21st. After he passed a few pilots to get into 14th place at the finish of lap one, the championship leader Luca Salvadori had a bad crash, causing a red flag at the end of lap 2. With a quick re-start time, Jo’s sprinted off down pit lane and out onto the grid to meet Dillon.
As she was waiting for the riders to arrive, it started to rain! Red Flagged again, some teams changed to wets immediately and some waited it out. “We had no wets so we couldn't do anything, it wasn't enough rain to fully wet the track, so Jo sprinted off again to the start grid. When meeting Dillon after a warm up lap, we were happy to discover the track was drying out.”
TOP 10 PLACEMENT HAS THE TASTE OF A VICTORY! The race started again and Dillon got a good start, making an epic move up the inside of turn 1 and into 8th position from 21st! The battle for the Top 10 had begun! Dillon had an awesome battle with a few riders for a good half the race, making his way to 7th place for a lap, but unfortunately his torn shoulder muscle had begun to weaken his ability to keep fighting in the pack, and after a long fight to keep a few riders at bay he was overtaken.
“Bringing the team to a 10th place position was the best feeling ever, it felt like we just won!” It was such a proud moment for this tiny three-person Kiwi team with endless passion and determination. “We were the top Aprilia team in class from a total of 5 RSV4 riders this weekend. We recorded a good 300kph, recorded and confirmed on paper, in the official practice with our stock engine and road electronics! The bike is just so strong. We thank all our sponsors, supporters and fans for their continued support this season, and a huge thanks goes to the equally passionate Nuova M2 Team & Gabro Racing Team for their advice.”
TR20 TELFORD RACING INFO: