Win The Race or Win The Heart
Standing in his pit garage following the second round of the Australian Superbike Championship held at Queensland Raceway, CAT-sponsored Yamaha YZF-RM racer Daniel Falzon finally took a moment to reflect on a crazy weekend that few others would have the courage to attempt. On any other race weekend, a pair of 11th place finishes and 20 championship points would be considered a poor result, but this weekend it felt like a podium - and somehow he'd found time to get married.
In a classic case of I Do, but... the ASBK Superbike front runner ventured where few men would dare go, asking his fiancé Georgia if she would mind sharing their wedding weekend with his Queensland ASBK racing commitments.
When setting their 19 March wedding day back in early 2021, the happy couple made sure the date did not clash with any of Daniel’s racing commitments. However, a last-minute and unavoidable change to the ASBK calendar resulted in round two of the national superbike championship falling smack-bang on the couple’s wedding day.
The date clash created a situation for Falzon that can only be described as bizarre. Following his nasty accident at the final round of the 2021 ASBK series, a demanding rehabilitation routine was undertaken to be fit in time for the 2022 season. However, the ASBK date change meant Falzon suddenly found himself fighting to be fit enough to miss his own wedding.
“Georgia and I understood the change of dates was something Motorcycling Australia could not avoid,” Falzon said. “I was injured and not even sure if I would even make the first round, so missing the second round was not initially a big concern.”
While Falzon concentrated on his recovery during the 2021 Christmas and New Year period, everyone at the JD Racing team put a huge effort into bike preparation and sponsor commitments for 2022. Against all expectations, Falzon competed at the opening round of the 2022 ASBK series at Victoria’s Phillip Island, coming away just 14 points off the championship lead.
“The fire in the belly was suddenly burring bright,” Falzon said looking back at his gutsy first round effort. “I knew straight away that there was no way the team could miss round two of the series and not build on our great start to the year - so we needed a new plan.”
Attempts to change the wedding date proved fruitless, so Daniel did what few other men would have the courage to do, he asked his soon-to-be wife, Georgia, for permission to share the most important day of her life with his racing commitments. Word is that Daniel obtained the permission in writing as proof it had been granted.
But It wasn’t as straight forward as Daniel had hoped. “I wanted to re-break his femur!” Georgia revealed, referring to the injury he was recovering from.
“I know how important racing is to him, and the affect missing a round can have on a championship challenge, so we looked at the possibility of getting married and racing on the same weekend,” Geogia added. “At first it was a far-fetched plan, but it wasn’t impossible. In the end, I wasn’t the one who was going to be sleep deprived and cranky. So, it was a good compromise - I think!”
In what turned out to be a hectic - and at time stress-filled - weekend, Daniel and is his team flew from their home base in South Australia to Queensland Raceway for Friday’s practice sessions. They were scheduled to return to South Australia on Friday evening, but a last-minute flight cancellation by Virgin Australia saw members of the bridal party stranded more than 2000km from home.
“After a lot of arguing and pleading with staff at the airport, Qantas came to the rescue, providing me with a single standby ticket for the only remaining flight back to Adelaide,” Daniel said. “I had to wait at the gate praying someone would not show up. Thankfully that happened, and I made it onto the flight. Unfortunately, my mum, brother and the rest of the team were forced to transfer to a flight the following morning. They arrived home just two hours before the wedding."
Wanting his marriage to last more than a few days, Falzon was smart enough not to suggest he fly back to the track straight after the wedding ceremony and reception held at Coriole Vineyards. After just a few short hours of sleep, Daniel and his team raced back to the airport, flying to Brisbane and making it to the track just in time for the morning warm up.
From a racing point of view the effort was worth it with Falzon walking away from the weekend with 20 points and eighth place in the championship. Without the points he would have slipped to 14th position or lower.
Recapping the weekend, Falzon was finally able to take a breath and think about life as a married man. “We have a honeymoon planned for Europe later this year,” he revealed. “I haven’t told Georgia yet, but I’m booking tickets for the MotoGP at the Red Bull Ring.”
From a marriage point of view, married men around the world solute you Daniel, but know from experience that you will need to repay this favour many times over if you ever want to truly get out of the doghouse.