Money talks as Donald withdraws from Honda
Aussie road racing star Cameron Donald, who recently announced his withdrawal from the Honda TT Legends World Endurance set-up, openly admitted, he can make more income working at home in Australia as a plumber, and helping out in his mate's bike shop, than he can travelling the world with the factory Honda team.
Granted, the double TT winner was more than complimentary of his former team and team-mates, explaining the decision was his, and his alone – but it's a real eye opener to motorcycling fans worldwide, who have visions of financial grandeur when it comes to their between the hedges heroes.
Just back from a three hour Enduro ride in blistering temperatures, the Melbourne rider explained candidly: "The truth is, yes I wanted to ride for the Legends team, but I just couldn't commit to the package as there are too many uncertainties. I don't want to cry poor, but I have bills to pay like everyone else."
Within the Honda TT Legends World Endurance team, the format seems to be: three riders are chosen to race on a given weekend from the four-man squad, with the rejected rider also losing out on any wages.
It's a system which basically means four men are fighting over three wages.
Donald would not be drawn on the technicalities, but did say this: "I'm confident I could have cut it, as I've never been dropped yet, but the way the system works, if any of the others rider don't get picked – they can be on a plane and back in the UK the next day, doing what they do to earn a wage.
"I obviously don't have that luxury if I base myself in the UK away from home and work."
The 35-year-old is adamant the decision will not affect his North West 200 and Isle of Man TT preparations. On the contrary, he believes he will actually gain more track time by staying in Australia a month longer than anticipated.
"I've been going to the TT long enough to know what I have to do, to go fast," he said.
"In fact I've done nine or 10 days on track this year already and Honda Australia has been very good to me, supplying a Fireblade to ride.
"I will also be racing at the final round of the New Zealand Superbike series in a few weeks' time and combining that with my Classic racing, I'll probably have more track time than I would have riding World Endurance."
He was also keen to point out, that one man who must not be forgotten in all this hype is Wilson Craig his loyal NW200 and TT sponsor. "I'd like to make a point by saying: I knew I wouldn't be riding the TT Legends' bike on the roads – for whatever reason – but it would have been nice if they'd offered Wilson some support, maybe with a Superbike."
Concluding he stated: "Wilson doesn't have a bottomless pit of money and puts a lot into the sport. I know he will provide me with top class machinery and I'm in a team and around people I'm comfortable with. So yeah I'm confident I can give the 'factory' boys a good run. Until then I'll enjoy another month in Oz, dirt-biking, mountain-biking and water-skiing – I think I've made the right decision!"