BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Sepang, Malaysia, 10/08/2016,
From oil rig to winners’ podium: Colin Butler is a great example of the many BMW S 1000 RR riders around the world who successfully live out their dream of racing. The 36-year-old competes in the Superbike class of the Malaysia Superbike Championship (MSC SBK) for his team AP Racing, a group of friends who contest races together and support each other.
In the four races of the season to date (all of the events are held at the Sepang International Circuit), Butler has celebrated one win and two second places. He is currently third in the championship standings and trails the leader by just 12 points.
Butler was born and raised in Canada, and now lives in Bangkok in Thailand. His unusual occupation brought him here: He is responsible for the use of special drilling tools in oil fields and on oil rigs. His new home kindled his love of motorcycle racing – and now he can’t imagine ever stopping racing.
Butler shares more about himself in an interview. He explains how his sporting career started, why racing has a positive influence on his entire life and what his fascination with racing is.
Question: “When did you start racing and in which series have you raced so far?”
Butler: “Growing up in Canada I’ve been riding since I was 12, but I’ve never lived near a track to be able to do any trackdays. When I moved to Thailand in 2010 I bought a street bike, but quickly realized that the roads are very dangerous to ride on in Thailand. So when I moved closer to a track in 2011 I jumped at the first chance I had to do a trackday and was immediately hooked. My first race followed two months later in the Thailand Supernaked 750cc class. Later that year I decided to start racing Superbikes in the Thailand Superbike Championship and worked my way up through the divisions to race in the top Thailand Superbike class by the last race of 2011. Since then I have mostly raced in the Thailand Superbike SB1 class, but have also done a few rounds in the Thailand Supersport SS1 and one round in the Philippine Superbike Championship.”
“My first contact with racing in Malaysia was in 2012, when I came to Sepang for the first time and did a trackday there – and I loved the circuit. It was my first time riding on an international class circuit with proper runoff areas. I had planned to begin racing in the Malaysia Superbike Series for 2013, but an injury from a crash in the Thailand Superbike series meant that I didn’t race anymore in 2013. I managed to make a couple of races in Malaysia in 2014 and 2015, but due to work requirements I was unable to compete in the full championship. When I work on a rig I can sometimes spend more than six months of a year offshore.”
“This year, I race in Malaysia and in the BRIC Superbike Championship in Thailand. The main focus is on the Malaysia Superbike Championship, but I use the races in Thailand to keep my fitness on the bike, as we usually don’t get much practice time during the race weekend.”
Question: “Why do you love racing?”
Butler: “There’s not much out there that compares to racing for me. The nervousness before the race starts and then the adrenaline rush when the lights go out. It can be a dangerous sport at times and I have had my share of crashes and injuries, but it would be very hard to stop.”
Question: “How long have you been racing the BMW S 1000 RR?”
Butler: “I have had the same BMW S 1000 RR since early 2013. The plan was to race it in Malaysia for the 2013 season, but because of that year’s injuries I didn’t begin racing it until 2014. I had planned to upgrade to a new 2016 model for this year and race in the Superstock class, but instead I have made a few upgrades to my current bike and stayed in the Superbike class for now.”
Question: “How do you like the bike?”
Butler: “To be honest at first it was a little difficult to find the right set-up on the local Thailand tracks, as they are short and very bumpy and the BMW is a very powerful bike. But at Sepang and the new Chang International Circuit in Thailand it is so much fun to ride. I am a bigger rider at 80 kg, so the BMW suits me as well as my riding style.”
Question: “Do you feel like you are part of the big worldwide BMW Motorrad Motorsport family?”
Butler: “Yes, it is good to be connected to the other riders racing a BMW. I like to read the website updates and see how the bike is doing in the other championships.”
Question: “How do you like the concept of the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy?”
Butler: “Being a foreigner racing in Thailand and Malaysia it is difficult to get manufacturer support, so to be able to receive the welcome package was nice. Also, to have a race series where you’re competing against other BMW riders is cool.”
Question: “What do you do when you are not racing?”
Butler: “At the moment I am not working, so outside of racing I spend most of my time either in the gym or working on the bike at home. I work in the oil and gas industry and, as you probably know, many people are out of work at this time due to the low oil prices. When I am working it is difficult to fit in the races as I don’t have a regular schedule, so I am taking advantage of my time off to try and make all the races in Malaysia this year.”
Question: “How important is racing for your life?”
Butler: “Very important. Because of the racing I have more motivation to stay in shape and eat healthily, so other than the fun factor of riding my BMW and racing it also improves my everyday life. It would be a dream to be able to race or even just work with bikes for a living. The latter is maybe something I will look into in the future when it’s time to retire. But for now I will continue to race as much as my work permits.”
Question: “What are your goals for the rest of the season?”
Butler: “Hopefully I will be able to compete in the remaining three rounds with a few more finishes on the top step. I had a DNF in the second race of Round 1, so to fight for the championship I will need to stay consistently on the podium at least for the remaining races.”