Having raised a family and not raced motorcycles for 16 years, Goulburn local Graeme Judd made a return to the sport in 2016.
Two years later, on September 30, Judd took home two golds and a silver at the Australian Classic Dirt Track Masters in Griffith.
The 51-year-old gave up racing in 2000 to settle down and raise a family.
The reason for his return?
“A mid-life crisis,” he said, laughing.
“No, the family was all grown up, you know? The kids have all grown up, so I was looking for a bit of excitement in me life.”
There has certainly not been a shortage of excitement in 2018. Judd has raced hundreds of times in the year, and, by his reckoning, has won most of the events in which he’s taken part.
The secrets to Judd’s are the track he built on his property, and his passion for mechanics which he pursues in his spare time.
“I can train whenever I like, really,” he said.
“I do a bit of training once a week, maybe. [I’m] mainly working on bike engines. Because I race in classic bikes, which are pre-74 and pre-78 classes, they’re old bikes and they’re putting out horsepower they were never meant to put out.”
Through his in-depth understanding of bike engines, Judd has learned that it is best not to push them too hard.
“I’ve blown up a few engines and had a few dramas,” Judd said.
“[I’ve learned not to push them too hard] and not wind the throttle up too much.”
Although Judd competes in the Masters division, many of his competitors are up to 20 years his junior, which makes his vast experience in racing even more crucial.
“The bloke that beat me in one of the classes on the weekend was a multiple Victorian dirt track champion, 21 years younger than me,” Judd said.
“He beat me a couple of times, and I beat him.”
Although his 16-year-long hiatus removed Judd from the track, he was still deeply involved with the Goulburn Motor Cycle Club as a committee member and saw many of Goulburn’s young champions rise through the ranks. Now, he shares podiums with them.
“Goulburn has produced multiple motorbike champions,” Judd said.
“There was a young fella … who is usually at every meeting I go to, young Mitch Martin I think it was.
“Alyssa Wallace is the current Australian Junior Women’s Dirt Track champion, she’s a Goulburn girl. And her brother Alex, they go racing with me a lot.”
This relationship that Judd has developed with the younger riders is beneficial for them.
“I give them plenty of tips and pointers on what to do,” Judd said.
There are few more experienced role models for Goulburn riders to learn from.