Ducati TriOptions Cup Champion Rob Guiver to defend his title in 2019

Rob Guiver confirms Held as new leather sponsor after announcing he’ll defend his Ducati TriOptions Cup title in the New Year.

Ducati Romford / Hyside Racing’s Rob Guiver wrapped up a dominant 2018 Ducati TriOptions Cup season after taking the title at the penultimate round at Silverstone, before going on to take his 4th double win at the Assen TT circuit.

‘Rapid’ Rob’s title victory was made all the more notable due the injuries he had to overcome after he was caught up in a horror crash during a warm up lap at Brands Hatch in 2017. While stepping onto the podium during the early rounds of the year Rob was still unable to take his own gloves off, stating in May that holding on to his bike over Oulton Park’s bumps in the wind was like “someone stabbing my hand with a dagger”.

Rob’s Ducati 959 Panigale was recently on display on Ducati UK’s Motorcycle Live stand at the NEC. We caught up with the Rainham racer there to talk about his route into the Ducati race series and his plans for 2019.

You’ve had some time for that title win to sink in, so how does it feel now?
“It feels great to be the champion. And when people talk about it, it’s there in your mind. I’ve got my trophy on my coffee table so every time I sit down to watch the telly it’s there in front of me! It’s just a really good feeling.”

So how did you first get into racing?
“I was quite late into racing, about 17 when I started. I just used to go over to the field with my dad on dirt bikes that we’d build up and go riding on. We went to Brands Hatch to watch World Superbikes in ’97 and as soon as I watched it, I had the bug. When I was old enough, there was a guy on the industrial estate where I worked who was selling a track bike. I bought it and the first track day I did was at Silverstone. First lap, first corner and I was straight in the gravel and though what am I doing? But it just went from there really.

I moved on to bigger and better things and I’ve gone on. Missed out on some really good opportunities through lack of money, having a bit of bad luck and not being in the right place at the right time. I probably stayed in 125s a bit too long but couldn’t really move on. When I did move up, I think I went to Superstock but totally ran out of money so had to stop racing. Then decided to do 125s again and then went to the Triple Challenge before going on to enter the Ducati championship.

It was a bit of a funny story ending up in the Ducati championship. I’d finished racing and there was nothing else I could do. But a friend of a friend was speaking to Hyside Motorcycles, who were thinking about running someone in the Ducati Cup. And because I’m so local to them, that friend put my name forward. I went and had a meeting and it was one of those that when I came out, I thought it was an absolute waste of time. But three days later they called me up and said, “we’ve ordered the bike, you’ve got to come and pick it up and get everything sorted to go racing”. I couldn’t believe it! So, I went from there and they’ve basically been the best sponsors and team I’ve ever had. It’s just a shame we didn’t meet 10 years ago.”

They’ve had your 959 Panigale on display in their dealership window haven’t they?
“Ducati put the bike in a lovely spot on their stand at the Motorcycle Live show and some of the staff were saying it’s had a lot of attention which is nice. But Ducati Romford / Hyside Motorcycles have had the bike in their shop window with a big Ducati TriOptions Champions sign over it. It looks really nice there and it’s a nice feeling when you go down there and see it on display.”

You obviously won the title, but what were some of your other highlights from the 2018 Ducati Cup season?
“Winning the championship was the main one but I really enjoyed the last two rounds. The pressure was off, the championship was won. I could just go out and ride how I wanted to ride. I just really, really enjoyed it. Sort of half way through this year, the pressure was so much to win the championship as I hadn’t done it before. I’ve got close and then it’s all come tumbling down. I sort of didn’t enjoy it a little bit halfway through the year, just too much pressure trying to win. There was a lot of rounds, especially Brands Hatch where I had such a good round, where I didn’t really have time to enjoy it because I was too busy thinking of the next round. And that was one of my reasons for saying I’m not sure if I want to do this anymore. It wasn’t until I wrapped it all up and the pressure was off that I went out on track and was how it should be, I really enjoyed it.

Now I’ve won the title, next year it doesn’t really matter if I win it or not because I’ve done it. I can just enjoy it a lot more. If I don’t win, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Obviously, I do want to win but I’d rather go out and enjoy it, rather than have the pressure that there was this year. But the pressure was there because we hadn’t done it before and I felt there was so much on the line. I just didn’t have chance to stop end enjoy the victories we had throughout the year. So, at end when that pressure was off, it just felt great and I really, really enjoyed it. As soon as the season was finished, I didn’t want it to stop. I just wanted more rounds and to carry on.”

We will be very happy to see you lining back up on the grid next year. But we’re certainly not the only ones to feel that way.
“There’s been loads of support, people getting in touch and saying well done and don’t stop racing. It’s been really nice you know. One of my friends Dave used to work in Harper’s in Leigh-on-Sea and he has always spoken to me about Loz who works for Held. He sponsors Sean Neary and Mark Cheetham. I’ve always had bits from other people but when I was talking about leathers with Hyside for 2019 I said I wanted to go elsewhere and then straightaway Loz’s name had come up as he’d been in the shop a few weeks before. What a great guy. We spoke to him and he was straight down to the shop to measure me all up and drafted up a design. He’s right nice guy and seems like a great sponsor so I’m really excited about that.

I’m also really grateful to my other sponsors. Paul Clarke from Vertex has been a long-time sponsor and a real good friend. He’s always been there since my 125 days, so he’s been real good to me. Joe Carpets is another long-time sponsor and is actually the guy who got me the Hyside ride in the beginning. Plus, there’s my mechanic and sponsor Mick Carter too. My dad Eddie has obviously supported me from day one and the Hyside guys have been brilliant. I’ve got another new sponsor come on this year and carrying on for next year who’s Neil Johns from Premier Security, plus a friend of his called Roger Greene from RGE Services so that’s been real good. I would also like to thank Angie and Simon, long-time sponsors and friends.”

And how’s the support from your family? Was it hard for them after the incident at Brands in ‘17?
“Everyone was a little bit disappointed that I might be stopping. So, to hear I was continuing they were all excited to be fair. Which I was quite surprised by because I thought after the accident they’d all say call it a day. But no, everyone seems really up for it. I was surprised with my mum the most. After the accident she was really worried. But the end of the year when I said this might be it, she said really? Why aren’t you doing it again! It shocked me. But it’s nice to have the support and everyone wants to carry on.”

Thanks Rob. Enjoy the winter break and we’ll see you back in action at Silverstone in April.
“Cheers. Looking forward to the new season and having fun on track again.”