Teenage enduro gun Fraser Higlett has been riding a super-steep career trajectory in the last few years, and finally it’s landed him at the absolute top level of his sport.
At just 19 years of age, Higlett joined Tom Mason and Andrew Wilksch, repping Team Oz in the Junior (which in enduro means Under 23) Team, alongside the victorious Women’s and Men’s squads.
The down-to-earth, but fun-loving Brisbane racer got to see the depth of international enduro competition and measure himself against it, feel the team support structure, and the renowned Aussie enduro racing spirit and witness life in Chile.
We asked him about the experience.
MQ: Hey Fraser, let’s start with the broad brush stroke, how was your ISDE experience?
It was an awesome experience, that’s for sure. Everything about it is crazy, even the country itself, Chile was nuts! The ISDE was a huge event, with huge days and heaps of trail time on the road. I think we did about 300kms a day of bitumen, so, pretty big days on the road!
The tests were nuts because there were so many riders and we used the same tests at least twice a day for two days, so they got so flogged out. At least it was really similar to what we can get in Qld, so I was actually pretty comfortable in it, when not a lot of people were.
MQ: You’re part of a much more compact team in the AORCs, what was it like to be a part of a team this big?
The team structure was awesome, really well organised for the amount of people we had. I know a lot of other countries had heaps more supporters, a lot of other countries had dozens of people at each service control, whereas we only had two or three. But we made do with the amount we had and everyone did their part, and obviously there was nothing that they were doing that we couldn’t do. It was awesome.
MQ: How did you go with the physical challenge of racing for six days?
People think it’s the hardest thing ever doing a 6-day, but it actually wasn’t terrible. It was more just mentally draining because we had so much road time.
Probably the hardest thing was getting out and doing the walking – I think we ended up walking 160kms or something just walking the tests. That was a lot of walking!
MQ: Where you happy with your own performance?
I was pretty happy. I ran top-5 in class and around 20th outright for pretty much the whole event, up until the final moto when my fuel connector snapped. That put me back a bit and I ended up pushing it over the finish line. That was a tough one, but I got it done.
Chile was a bit of a confidence booster. I’m pretty happy that I can be on the pace with the top guys in the world. Hopefully next year I can keep it rolling and get some good results.
MQ: What was Aussie team spirit like?
The camaraderie was pretty cool. Everyone gets on and we all help each other out. Me and Andy had never done it before, so we all learned off each other. The Aussie spirit is thing was cool. Everyone gets well into it.
Everyone has stuff go wrong and everyone pushes each other along. There are people advising you to be cool and trust yourself. Some are quieter than others, but they all give tips along the way.
They’ve done it a lot more than we have.
And we had a good opening ceremony – I was repping the mullet proudly!
MQ: What was the depth of talent like?
I was impressed. It’s cool seeing all the overseas guys. Everyone’s fast, right down the top 100 really, they’re all pretty quick. Over here we have a dozen super-fast guys. Over there one mistake and you’re well down the list.
I’m trying to get on their pace as well as I can, so it’s good to know that if you’re close to them over here, you know you’re one of the best in the world.
MQ: So now that you’ve tried the top step, did that fuel the fire for you?
Definitely keen to go over there next year. Hopefully it gets a bit more funding next year, that’d be cool. The junior team was fully self-funded this year, so hopefully next year we get more support. We’ll definitely be back over there and we could get the win, I reckon. It’d be cool to get the trio again. I’ve got a lot of time left to qualify for juniors …like 4 years, and the other two have a bit less.
But yeah definitely, if I keep improving at some point I’ll get there, it’s all just about learning I guess.