Professional motorcycle racer Josh Hook talks about life in the fast lane

Professional motorcycle racer Josh Hook usually divides his time between his Old Bar home and Europe, where he contests the World Endurance Championship and the MotoE World Cup.

Josh Hook is a rock star in Japan and Europe - a meet and greet for his team in Japan last year attracted 250,000 people and he is recognised wherever he goes in Europe. At home, he's basically a Neville Nobody.

Under normal circumstances he'd be in Europe now with the endurance championship nearing the halfway point of the season. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put paid to that for the time being. Hook spent some time with the Times this week, recalling his early days in the sport and his progression to racing professionally.

It hasn't always been a smooth ride and at one stage the 27-year-old was starting to look for a new line of employment after an unsuccessful stint in the World Superbikes.

But for now he's just waiting for the go ahead to resume riding.

Enjoy, as Hook talks to Mick McDonald about life in the fast lane.

Josh Hook talks to Mick McDonald about his life as a professional motorcycle rider and his plans for the future.

In the meantime, let's backtrack on Hook's career. Here's a previously published article from April 2018 ...

Josh Hook rates Le Mans win the biggest of his career

JOSH Hook didn't have much time to celebrate his win in the famous Le Mans 24 hour endurance motor cycle race in France.

The 25-year-old was a member of the FCC TSA Honda France side that scored a milestone victory last Sunday. Hook teamed with Freddy Foray and Alan Techer to take line honours in front of nearly 80,000 spectators, describing it as the biggest win of his career so far.

However, he had domestic duties to attend at home.

"I'm building a house at Old Bar and the slab was to be poured this week. I wanted to be be here for that,'' Hook explained.

So still bleary-eyed and aching from the race, Hook jumped on a jet to head back to Australia on Monday. Then fate intervened.

"They had to call the pour off because of the weather,'' Hook said. "So I came all this way for nothing.''

Hook understands it is going to take a few days yet before he's over the 24-hour marathon.

"I'm still buggered,'' he said. "Our next race is in Slovakia in a couple of weeks, so I'll be right by then.''

His team is now five points clear in the world championship after two rounds. After Slovakia the championship heads to Germany before finishing at the Suzuka 8-hour in Japan, an event where Hook has met with success in the past.

"We're pretty well placed to win the championship, that's our aim now,'' he said.

Hook admits he's still coming to terms with the performance at Le Mans.

"That's the biggest race in our championship and racing in front of that crowd - it's incredible,'' he said. "It's a great win for the manufacture and for our sponsor.

Josh Hook (centre) celebrates with team-mates his 2017 World Endurance Championship win. His team is hoping to go back-to-back this weekend in Japan.

Josh Hook (centre) celebrates with team-mates his 2017 World Endurance Championship win. His team is hoping to go back-to-back this weekend in Japan.

Hook said the team clicked in practice, where they were among the fastest, although their form in qualifying wasn't as impressive. The three riders had one hour shifts on the track. When he was off the bike, Hook said he tried to get some sleep.

"The race is so physically and mentally demanding that I had to try and get some shut eye,'' he said. "Even getting 20 minutes (sleep) here and there does make a difference.''

Consistency was the key, he said, and the three riders managed to maintain a quick pace throughout, while also staying out of trouble.

"We hit the lead with about four hours remaining and we managed to nurse it home from there,'' he said.

This was the first time a Japanese-backed team has won the race, so Hook and co can claim a slice of history.

This is his second year in the endurance championship. Unless there's an offer out of left field, Hook thinks this will be his home for the foreseeable future. He had a brief and ultimately unsuccessful stint in the World Superbikes with the Grillini team in 2016 before they parted ways in acrimonious circumstances.

"Racing in the MotoGP is a goal, but I think with the finance needed to get a ride it's an unrealistic one,'' he said.

"I'm happy in the endurance championship - it's a world championship and it's getting bigger all the time - it allows me to make a living riding motor cycles.''

Hook won't be leaving the Manning any time soon either.

"But I'll be pleased when that slab's done."

This story Josh Hook: Adored in Europe, virtually anonymous in Australia first appeared on Manning River Times.