MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
The million-euro gamble
How much does it cost to get into Grand Prix racing? If you need to ask, you probably can’t afford it
I assume Jack Miller’s post-Assen party is just about over now and that he’s back down the gym, pumping iron like a good lad.
Miller, like many other Aussie battlers before him, has the knack of burning the candle at both ends: working hard and playing hard. And you may have noticed that whenever he has a good day at work he likes to thank his parents for what they’ve done for him.
There’s a good reason for this. It’s very difficult and expensive to fight your way down the long, winding and rocky road that leads to MotoGP, even if you live in Spain or Italy. But it’s a damn sight more difficult and expensive if you live outside Europe and especially if you’re from the other side of the world.
The amount of money spent by the Miller family to get their son into the lower reaches of Grand Prix racing is eye-watering. The same goes for Wayne Gardner, the former 500cc world champion, who reckons he’s spent £1.5 million on the careers of sons Remy and Luca.
Miller’s parents Sonya and Peter mortgaged their house more than once to fund Jack’s big adventure, which started when the former dirt tracker and motocrosser arrived in Europe in 2010, after just a few races back home on a Honda RS125.
“Dad built a trailer that slotted exactly into a 40-foot sea-freight container,” recalls Miller, who was 15 at the time. “We packed my two Hondas, a toolbox and all our living stuff, then when we got to Europe we bought a motorhome and hooked up the trailer. We lived in caravan parks and spent a lot of time living at racetracks – Cartagena for a while, then Almeria. We had one bike set up as a race bike – fresh pistons and tyres – and the other as a test bike, with second-hand pistons and tyres. I’d only done 1800km on a roadrace bike, so I’d ride every other day, paying 50 bucks to join track days. It was cool, diving through all these guys on streetbikes! But that year was ****ing dear – moving house and everything cost us at least 220,000 Aussie dollars.”
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.