Overall victory for Maxwell in drama-packed final round of the season.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Josh Waters has been crowned champion after a thrilling performance at Phillip Island’s seventh and final round of the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) presented by Motul Pirelli, marking his third premier class title as Wayne Maxwell (Yamaha Racing Team) claimed the overall win.
Waters took a vital victory in the opening 12-lap Superbike encounter at Phillip Island, taking charge of the championship to carry a 13-point lead into this afternoon’s title-deciding affair.
Rain falling pre-race soon turned to sunshine and a relatively high wind quickly dried the track surface, making for a dry race and straightforward strategy for the teams.
Waters pulled a 1.2s on the opening lap and from that point he was in control for the duration, eventually crossing the line 3.759s ahead of Maxwell, who has climbed his way into P2 behind Waters in the points after Crankt Protein Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss entered the pits with two laps remaining after running toward the rear of the top 10.
The defending champion’s now 19 points outside of the lead as a result. Second of the Yamahas Glenn Allerton fought hard for third, edging Daniel Falzon (Caterpillar JD Racing Yamaha) for position as Josh Hook (McMartin Racing Ducati) filled the top five.
It was a tight scrap for sixth between Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing) and Cru Halliday (IPONE/YMF/YMI Yamaha) – finishing in that order – while Alex Phillis (Apex Civil/Helicraft Racing Yamaha), Michael Blair (Blair Build/Gosford Classic Car Museum Yamaha) and Robbie Bugden (Kawasaki BCperformance) were the top 10 finishers.
A thrilling final race of the year saw Maxwell round out the year with a race and round win, but it was Waters who has become a triple ASBK champion after adding the 2017 title to his 2009 and 2012 victories.
Dry, warm conditions greeted riders for Superbike race two this afternoon and it was evident that the title was on the line once and for all. Waters led lap one, but a gritty Maxwell worked his way through from P4 at the end of the first lap and took the lead by the end of the second lap.
While he edged away at the front to a 0.126s win, Waters had his hands full as he eventually slipped back to fifth, but appeared to be riding in ‘championship mode’ in a bid to wrap up a third-career crown.
Across the line behind Maxwell and Herfoss was Staring in a strong showing, marginally ahead of Allerton for third.
Next came Waters for the number one plate, as Falzon, Phillis, Matt Walters (Swann Insurance Kawasaki), Blair and Hook completed the race top 10. Maxwell won the round ahead of Waters and Allerton, as the series belonged to Waters by four points over Maxwell and a further 11 in front of Herfoss.