The hard working race technicians who build, service and repair the bikes at YRT open up on their favourite tools, bikes, experiences and why they love what they do... From: YMA

Talk to any apprentice motorcycle mechanic and ask them what they want to achieve. Nine out of 10 will say “Race Technician”. Our own Editor was no different, completing an apprenticeship in the pursuit of twirling spanners at elite level and racing too. He ended up a pen pusher. These guys made it… Enjoy a chat with the Yamaha Racing Team technicians…

The backbone of any racing team are the mechanics, who ensure all race bikes are in good condition and working order.

The backbone of any racing team are the mechanics, who ensure all race bikes are in good condition and working order.

With the break in racing, let’s meet the men behind the scenes who are the driving force of Yamaha’s Racing Teams. CDR’s Brad McAlpine, Serco’s Paul Teasdale, Yamalube’s Mike Ward, WBR’s Travis Whitten, Yamaha Off Road’s AJ Roberts and YRT’s Kev Marshall. All of them have years of experience and a long list of championship success to their names. Let’s find out more about these characters.


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What is your favourite tool that you wouldn’t leave the workshop without?


Brad – T-bars Can’t work on a bike without one.

Paul – Torque wrench

Mike – Snap-on Torque wrench

Travis – Everyone will say a torque wrench but let’s be modern and go for a Lap-top these days

AJ – A rattle gun and a grinder. I need them both!

Kevin – Dyno! I know I cant take one to a race meeting, but I would if I could!

Unfortunately, neither AJ or Kev are joking here!


Among some of the team's essential tools are a dyno, rattle-gun and torque wrench, just to name a few.

Among some of the team’s essential tools are a dyno, rattle-gun and torque wrench, just to name a few.

What is your favourite race bike that you have built and why?


Brad – Dean Ferris 2017 YZ450F in the US. Aiden and I built the bike in a car park with just a tool bag we bought from Australia and then Dean raced it to second place in a moto that had the US guys scratching their heads.

Paul – The 2020 YZ250F – the most power we have had and the bike is great to work on.

Mike – The 2014 YZ250F for Jed Beaton. It was a new bike that we had to work out and then I went a bit OCD on the frame with the polish.

Travis – Aaron Tanti’s YZ250F in 2017. We put a lot of effort into it, the bike was quick and not a DNF all season.

AJ – I would say the WR500F we built for Damon Stolkie when he won Finke. It took a lot of time and energy and then for him to win it made it special for all of us.

Kevin – 2007 and 2008 Yamaha R1 Superbike. Good bike to work on and a screamer engine that we found good gains in.


"I love the sport and when I finished racing it was the next step to take to still be involved."

“I love the sport and when I finished racing it was the next step to take to still be involved.”

Why did you become a race team mechanic?


Brad – I was never going to make it as a racer and being a mechanic was the next closest thing to it.

Paul – I love the sport and when I finished racing it was the next step to take to still be involved.

Mike – I raced and enjoyed working on my own bike. There is something special about building a race bike that still excites me.

Travis – Fun to build a nice bike and then show it off with a good rider who can ride it to its limits.

AJ – I grew up in a work shop and was always around people that worked on things. I enjoy that aspect of it and when you are an off road rider, its part of what we do, so it was a natural progression from racing.

Kevin – I was a diesel mechanic and moved over to motorcycles. I have always been interested in not just fixing things, but improving them.


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What’s the most rewarding part of the job for you?


Brad – Winning championships.

Paul – Winning championships.

Mike – Seeing everyone on the team succeed.

Travis – When it all comes together, The rider is happy, the bike performed well and the result comes.

AJ – The result. Its not always winning but what you can achieve with the tools and riders at your disposal.

Kevin – Everyone will say it, but winning championships.


"The unappreciated hours behind the scenes that people don’t see. It's never a 9 to 5 job!" Travis on the worst part of the job.

“The unappreciated hours behind the scenes that people don’t see. It’s never a 9 to 5 job!”

What’s the worst part of the job?


Brad – Setting up the truck.

Paul – Repacking exhausts or a mechanical failure.

Mike – Repacking mufflers and seeing a new bike destroyed in a mud race, often by the time it gets to the first turn.

Travis – The unappreciated hours behind the scenes that people don’t see. It’s never a 9 to 5 job!

AJ – The clean-up and the pack up. By far!

Kevin – Pack up after a long weekend, everyone is keen to get home.


Without the mechanics, who work long and hard hours behind the scenes, there would be no race teams at all.

Without the mechanics, who work long and hard hours behind the scenes, there would be no race teams at all.

What is your favourite event you have worked at?

Brad – MXoN in Spain in 1996. All my childhood heroes were there racing. Riders like McGrath, Emig, Everts, everyone I looked up to as a kid.

Paul – MXoN in 2008 with Billy Mackenzie in England. We had a great day going until the final lap of the last race when Billy crashed. It was awesome to have the event in my own country and the crowd was huge.

Mike – MXoN in 2015 in France. The crowd was next level. I had been to a couple before, but there were nothing like there were in France that year.

Travis – I did a GP round with Hugh McKay in 2014. First time at a big event like that and it was a real eye opener.

AJ – I will say that A4DE as once the riders take off, they work on the bikes and I like to see them changing their own tyres for a change.

Kevin – We raced at Laguna-Sega in the USA during 2008 and that was a great experience.


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Yamaha Racing Teams Australia Gallery

Ian Irving, a great bloke, a brilliant mind. RIP…

RIP Ian, a great bike gone too early...

RIP Ian, a great bike gone too early…


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