Event: Round 5 Australian SBK Supersport Championship
Date: 28th-30th August
Venue: Mallala Motorsport Park, South Australia
Weather: Cold, windy, wet, cloudy, little bit of sun
Race Results: Overall Results:
Race 1: 3rd 1st: J Stauffer Yamaha R6 (Factory)
Race 2: 3rd 2nd: B Staring Yamaha R6 (Factory)
3rd: Shannon Johnson Honda CBR600RR (Privateer)
4th: S Charlton Yamaha R6 (Privateer)
5th: T Herfoss Suzuki GSXR (Factory)
This weekend we were lucky enough to get one additional test day on the Thursday, which gave us a little extra time to go through some new settings on both the suspension & engine. Thankfully the weather was at its best practice day so we didn’t miss any time on track. At the conclusion of practice it was the same five riders that would be in contention plus me.
Qualifying was a tricky situation; we arrived at the circuit to find a very wet surface. Our session was early in the schedule meaning we would have a wet or damp drying circuit. Whilst everyone went out early with wet tyres I just sat & waited in my pit box watching the lap times. I must admit my team did a great job of keeping me calm & relaxed, I was pretty anxious. With around 14minutes left in the session I went out on track with my dry tyres on a damp wet circuit. I eased into it & slowly picked up my pace, lap by lap my position improved until the final minutes I was in a great rhythm & fastest. Annoyingly I got held up on my final flying lap as the conditions improved, in the final seconds I got bumped back to 3rd. Funny how it ended up been my first front row start of the year however I was more disappointed than previous rounds….. Still with this type of circuit front row is so important.
Race 1 I made my best start of the year & went with the leading YRT duo, although after only a handful of laps the red flag came out due to a crash. Now I had to do it all over again. My initial jump was good but got slightly pinched off; I made a few sharp passes & found my way to 3rd. By mid race I had a good gap over 4th & settled into a pace so that I could maintain it to the finish.
Race 2 turned out to be an all out action packed crowd pleaser. For the first few laps it was a tight 7 or 8 bike high speed conga line, passes were made then the counter passes were slowing the pace down significantly keeping the pack tight. I got stuck behind for a few too many laps; unfortunately my competitors know my weakness on the circuit now, however I can still surprise them with my deep pocket of tricks. I managed to break clear & chase down 3rd position, it came down to a last lap braking duel. Both Scott & I were giving all, thankfully for me the pressure from behind worked & a last lap, last turn pass was made. It was a great battle that I’m comfortable to have with a fellow clean but hard racer. More importantly the gap to the factory Yamaha was bridged & our race time improved by 6.8 seconds, massive improvement!
I hate to say it but at the moment finishing 3rd is almost like winning, the package that Jamie & Bryan have along with how well they are riding is going to be tough to beat, but NOT impossible. I will continue to give everything I have until the end to take at least one 25 point haul before the year is out.
It’s great to finish on the podium again & take the privateer cup lead, thanks to everyone that has supported & backed me in both good & bad times.