Aaron Slight – motorcycle racing genius
From Masterton to Monaco on a motorbike is a long tough ride. Aaron competed in 229 World Superbike races and has stood on the World Superbike podium 87 times. He also won the gruelling Suzuka 8 hour endurance race three times in a row and that has set a record for the most consecutive wins in this important race in Japan. The journey to the top of the World Superbike racing world was an improbable one, made possible by sheer grit to overcome all obstacles in his path.
Aaron was born in Masterton, New Zealand but has now returned to New Zealand from living in Monte Carlo, Monaco. He turned professional in 1988 when he left New Zealand to race with the Super Angel Bimota team in Japan. It was during this season that he finished 6th in a World Superbike round. This led to his ride in 1989 when he joined Kawasaki and Rob Phillis in the Australian Superbike Championship finishing third at the end of the season.
In 1990 Aaron suffered a horrible crash at Suzuka in Japan and spent most of that year recovering from the reconstruction of his right hand. In 1991 he grabbed the world’s attention when he claimed the Australian Superbike Series title, and scored two WSBK podiums on his Kawasaki. He also won the Pan-Pacific Championship, scoring 6 straight victories. In 1992 Aaron raced in 11 of the 13 rounds in the Superbike World Championships riding for the Moving Kawasaki team. Aaron claimed his first WSBK victory at the 1992 opening race at Albacete, Spain. In 1993 Aaron competed in his first full season in WSBK, again aboard a Kawasaki ZX7, but this time for the American based Muzzy team. In 1994 he joined Castrol Honda and rode the much-awaited RC45.
2000 started with Aaron having problems focusing. Most people said this was caused by frustration, but during pre-season testing it was discovered that he had a life threatening blood clot. He underwent emergency surgery in the February just one month after his 34th birthday. Doctors in Sydney removed the clot from the back of his brain stem. The same drive and determination that was being questioned before the surgery was exactly what led Aaron to his amazing recovery. Just twelve weeks after his surgery, he was back on a Superbike. Aaron missed just 3 of 11 rounds of the 2000 World Superbike season. At the end of the 2000 World Superbike series Honda chose not to renew his contract, which left him with a new challenge. After realizing there were no good rides left it forced him to retire from the World Superbike scene. After a few months off Aaron and his wife undertook the writing of his autobiography. He started dabbling with racing cars, one round of the British touring Car Championship in a Peugeot and a race in an Ascar at Rockingham Speedway. In 2002 Aaron accepted a new challenge and childhood dream, the British Touring Car Championship. He raced for the Barwell Motorsport Team in a Vauxhall Astra. The transition from racing bikes to cars was a natural and successful one.
In 2004 Aaron packed his bags and moved back to New Zealand from his European home in Monaco, adjusting to the slower pace of life in New Zealand and pondering the next step. In 2005 why not Supermotard? Aaron still missing two wheels and the racing high decides to have a bit of fun, hoping to be involved in this new sport that is taking Europe and America by storm.