Shawn Giles Retires

Cycle News Staff | January 17, 2011

Three-time Australian Superbike Champion Shawn Giles has announced his retirement from the sport, the popular 40-year-old ending his career as the only rider in the history of the 22-year-old championship to win three consecutive Superbike titles.In addition to winning the three Superbike Championships, Giles also won an Australian Supersport Championship and a ‘2-plus-4′ Australian Superbike Series title.In addition to his five national titles, Giles finished runner-up in the 2003 Australian Superbike Championship to Team Suzuki teammate Craig Coxhell; finished equal first on points in the 2005 championship, but lost the title on a tie-breaker to Joshua Brookes; finished third in 2004; fourth in 1999 and 2009; and fifth in 2007.”The time is right, and it’s a satisfying way to finish,” said Giles, who finished third outright in the Phillip Island 6-hour race with teammate Josh Waters on their Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 in December in his last outing as a racer, in a Suzuki press release. “I started my career in a 6-hour race with a podium finish, so I guess it’s fitting that I should end it the same way. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and it’s a hard decision to make as I still love riding and racing motorcycles, but my body just isn’t up to the demands of racing a Superbike at the highest level anymore.”Physically, Giles has suffered since breaking his lower leg and suffering a concussion in the Superbike round at Queensland Raceway in 2008. He spent two weeks in hospital following the high-speed crash, which occurred when another rider crashed in front of Giles’ Team Suzuki GSX-R1000.Giles has raced for four factory-supported teams – Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki ­- in his long career and tasted success internationally in Europe, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, but it’s the last 12 years with Team Suzuki that has brought him his most success and his three Australian Superbike Championships.”I feel very privileged to have raced for Suzuki Australia for so long,” said Giles. “I have the utmost respect for Perry Morison [General Manager Suzuki Australia Motorcycles], who has always gone above and beyond to make both [my wife] Sharon and myself feel part of the Suzuki family. It’s an added bonus that Suzuki builds such awesome motorcycles. I’ve been with Suzuki since 1999, and it’s hard to imagine what it would have been like without Team Suzuki as part of my life.”Giles lists his back-to-back Superbike championships in 2000 and 2001 as his career highlight, and in particular his 2001 win on the then-new Suzuki GSX-R1000.”Winning my first Superbike Championship in 2000 will always be memorable, but the second title is the one that’s special,” recalls Giles. “There were some people that were saying the only reason I won in 2000 was that I was on a FIM-specification Superbike [Suzuki GSX-R750], so to win in 2001 in the first year of the Production Superbike rules on the GSX-R1000 was pretty special.”Giles also lists his 1995 ‘2-plus-4′ Australian Superbike Series title aboard a Ducati Dealer Team 955 Superbike as a highlight, especially as it was in front of the large crowds at the V8 Supercar rounds as well as a large television audience.”I should have won the Australian Superbike Championship that year as well, but got caught up in Mat Mladin’s big crash at Phillip Island when Mat’s rear tire disintegrated,” said Giles.Mladin would go on to win seven AMA Superbike Championships in the USA for Team Yoshimura Suzuki and become the most successful rider in the history of the series. Mladin is the rider Giles rates as his toughest competitor.”I had some great races with Mat in 1994 and 1995 – some real memorable ones,” recalls Giles. “He was a real hard racer, and a demon under brakes.”Giles grew up in a motorcycle family with his father Paul owning a motorcycle dealership.”My dad got me started riding bikes around a paddock when I was four, so I’ve been around motorcycles pretty much all my life,” said Giles. “Motorcycling has brought me and my family a lot of enjoyment. I’m looking forward to spending more weekends with Sharon (wife) and my kids Kayla (9) and Cooper (7) – they’ve been so supportive of me and my racing.”Phil Tainton, manager of Team Suzuki, paid tribute to Giles: “He’s an ambassador for the sport of motorcycle racing and has been an integral part of Team Suzuki for 12 years. You can’t put a price on the amount of knowledge he’s passed on to his young teammates Josh [Waters] and Troy [Herfoss], and the support he gave Craig [Coxhell] back in 2003 when Craig won the title, and again in 2009 when Josh won the title.”Shawn’s a true professional in every sense of the word and will be sadly missed from Australia’s race tracks, although I can understand the difficult decision he’s arrived at,” added Tainton. “It’s a tough sport, and only the very best achieve the sort of results that Shawn has.”Giles will continue to have an ongoing ambassador and promotional role with Suzuki Australia and Team Suzuki.”I’m excited about continuing my association with Suzuki both on and off the race track, and trying to help the riders where ever I can,” said Giles.

Shawn Giles Career Highlights

2010: 3rd – Australian Endurance Championship (Phillip Island 6-hour)

2009: 4th – Australian Superbike Championship

2007: 5th – Australian Superbike Championship

2006: 1st – BMW Celebrity Car Challenge, Australian F1 Grand Prix

2006: 2nd – New Zealand Superbike Championship

2005: 2nd – Australian Superbike Championship

2004: 3rd – Australian Superbike Championship

2003: 2nd – Australian Superbike Championship

2002: 1st – Australian Superbike Championship

2001: 1st – Australian Superbike Championship

2000: 1st – Australian Superbike Championship

2000: 6th ­­- Suzuka 8-hour, Japan (outright); 1st Formula X Class

1999: 4th – Australian Superbike Championship

1999: 7th – Australian Supersport Championship

1997: 1st – Australian Supersport Championship

1997: 2nd – Formula Extreme Series

1995: 1st – 2+4 Australian Superbike Series

1994: 1st – Australian TT

1994: 11th – Suzuka 8-hour, Japan

1992: 1st – Australian Lightweight Superstreet Series

1992: 1st – Australian TT

1992: 2nd – Suzuka 200km, Japan