If you want to get the most out of a racing bike, you need to be extremely fit. So every rider has to work out regularly. This is also the case for World Championship Endurance rider Wayne Tessels. To experience how hard a physical training like that can be, we sent our own fitness guru John to the FitFactorij.
Thick drops of sweat fall on the floor, with a bit of a struggle John manages to reach the nearest bench. Once he sits down, he gasps for air and feels his legs grow heavy at the same time. You can hear him thinking: This was a great plan, training with a World Championship Endurance rider. Never again. After a few seconds of rest, a voice echoes through the room. The ChromeBurner account manager already knows enough, there is work to be done again. “John, we have to keep going. Hang on, almost done, Come on!” The words of encouragement come from Raymon Harzevoort, owner of Fitfactorij in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. He is also the man responsible for the physical condition of various athletes.
Wayne Tessels is one of them, he trains with Raymon several times a week with one goal in mind: Making sure he’s perfectly fit to use his Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade from RAC41 ChromeBurner. Especially now that Tessels is fully focused on the World Endurance Championship, it is very important that he is in excellent shape. Since 2015, he has relied on the expertise of FitFactorij, and with clear results. “Previously, I only did cycling and running to stay in shape. That alone is not enough though, especially since I ride a heavier bike now. There is much more to it such as; flexibility, concentration and a bit of coordination. Raymon has good training schedules so that I can get better in all areas. And luckily it also happens in a fun way, together with some other motorsports riders, this also ensures the necessary amount of competition. I obviously don’t want to finish last in a group like that.”
After a short break, which seemed to be much needed for John, they started with another exercise. ‘Executioner’ Raymond kindly requests to do a set of sled pushes and sandbag holds. Wayne shows John what’s expected of him, after which they are allowed to show their muscle strength and condition several times. It seems that the top athlete finds it quite easy, though Wayne has to push his boundaries too. John finds it way harder, “That’s logical” trainer Raymon says. “If you’re not used to this, it’s quite intense. John is used to workouts that are more based on strength. We train in a completely different way, because there is no use for brute power in motorsport. I have to make sure that Wayne can use his body as quickly as possible to be able to steer the bike. This also involves motor control, with the right strength and control.
”While John and Wayne put the necessary energy into the exercise, Raymond explains the importance of the right quality of physical training. He regularly sees it go wrong in various sport disciplines. “Look at motocross, for example. Many riders find a nice sticker set or a different exhaust pipe more important than having their own body in order. They find those gym lessons expensive and do not see the benefit of it. I get it’s difficult because you don’t see direct results. That takes two to three years, but then you also notice a big difference.This development takes time. Training your body is an investment for the future.”
John pays close attention to the clock, he wants Raymon to tell them the training is over but he knows Raymon won’t. One last, tough exercise awaits him and giving up is not in the dictionary of this account manager so he persisted to get the results. His body is exhausted, but for the next few minutes he has to give everything he’s got one last time. Wayne is already performing the slam ball throws, while John watches and contemplates how he will tackle this exercise. When John starts the exercise the RAC41 ChromeBurner rider already rushes towards the rowing machine. John can’t keep up with the killer pace of Wayne. “This isn’t even a really heavy training, you know.”, says trainer Raymon. “It doesn’t have the right effect if you go over the edge every time. Leaving an athlete completely broken is not that difficult. If I wanted I could make Wayne throw up after every workout, but that won’t help. You have to periodize so that he can peak at the right time. That only works if you analyse the athlete properly, you have to keep talking to each other to maximize his performance during the race. I also have to know what I am offering myself. That’s why I also do all the workouts myself, this way I know if it’s too hard or not. That way I can make a schedule that suits the athlete perfectly.”
A big sigh of relief is heard when Raymon starts clapping. John immediately returns to his familiar bench to rest. “Man, I’m glad we’re done. Quite heavy, a training like this... I really noticed that my fitness schedules are the exact opposite of the training we did today. I am still very happy that I accepted Wayne’s invitation, because it was very useful to see how Raymon gives such a training. This was very inspiring.” It’s not strange to hear these sentences come from John’s mouth. because he’s responsible for the fact that there is a ‘fitness room’ at ChromeBurner. The reason: John wants his colleagues to stay fit and healthy. “I try to motivate as many colleagues as possible to exercise. With your own space, the threshold is very low to be active. We can start training right after work and there is always a group that participates, which makes it fun to train. That’s why I don't mind putting the necessary time and effort into making training schedules. Raymon’s lesson gave me a lot of inspiration, which I can use in my programs in the near future. I don’t think my colleagues will be too happy with the new implementations. If they complain I will tell them to talk to Raymon, cause he is ultimately to blame for this heavy approach.
It’s not always easy to keep the spirits high. The 26-year-old Wayne Tessels works full-time as a department manager at Lastechniek Holland, has recently become a father and is also putting an unprecedented portion of his energy into his racing career. Next season he will focus entirely on the World Endurance Championship, as a rider of the French RAC41 ChromeBurner team. The ambition for 2021 is to become world champion in the Superstock class. “A few years ago I competed in the European Championship Superstock 1000, at the same time I got the opportunity to participate in an Endurance race. That went very well for me and I enjoyed doing it. There was an immediate click with that branch of motorsport, but I didn’t want to say goodbye to the sprint races just yet. The situation has now changed and I want to achieve good results in the World Endurance Championship.” This must be done with the RAC41 ChromeBurner team according to Tessels. “There was an important moment before that,” says Wayne. “I had high hopes for the 2018 season, but those did not come out. During a holiday I had a long talk with my girlfriend Stephanie, because I had serious doubts whether I should continue with motorsport. If you don’t perform well, you’ll start wondering if you have to continue putting so much money, time and energy into it.
During that holiday I got a call from an unknown French number, which I didn’t answer. Later I also received an email and it turned out to be from Honda France. They asked me if I was interested in riding for them.” Wayne didn’t have to think long about this offer, because they immediately agreed to his terms and conditions. The first season with RAC41 didn’t go very smoothly, but in 2020 everything seemed to change with the arrival of the all-new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade. The first tests with the powerful machine went well, so the Dutchman was looking forward to the season opener. “We - just like the rest of the world - had a few setbacks due to the coronavirus, which meant that we only competed in one race last year.
It went pretty well during the 24 hours of Le Mans, but unfortunately we had to deal with bad luck. A crash left a bike on the track and my teammate didn’t see it since he was behind other riders. He crashed into the bike which caused our motorcycle to be completely broken. We tried to repair it, but that was pointless.” Provided COVID-19 doesn’t throw a spanner in the works, Wayne Tessels is looking forward to the upcoming 2021 season. RAC41 ChromeBurner starts with three strong riders and still has the very fast Honda Fireblade. “I trust that the entire team will perform well and I am sure we will play a significant role in the rankings. There are about five teams competing for the podium and we are one of them. Hopefully we can show that this year.”
Want to see more of Wayne? Check out his instagram @wtessels77
Want to know when Wayne will be racing again? Check the race calendar here!