News 1 Sep 2009

ASBK: Challenging weekend for Halliday in South Australia


Round 5 of the Woodstock Bourbon Australian Superbike Championship at South Australia’s Mallala Motor Sport Park, was Cru Holliday’s most challenging so far.

Riding in the AMCN Superstock 600 class Cru was under pressure to back up his first ASBK win from the previous round at Eastern Creek. His primary focus was on collecting more points to bridge the gap between himself and Rick Olsen, the current championship leader.

After a marathon 14 hour drive Cru arrived at the track for the first time, late on Thursday afternoon. His team unpacked the van while Cru and his coach went for a quick walk around the track in the dark to get to know the place.

He had little time to learn the track and set up his Yamaha YZF-R6 as Superstock 600 were not eligible for the Thursday practise day. Time was critical for the 3 day event. In Friday’s first free practice session Cru suffered an unfortunate set back. Before he could even complete his first ever lap of 2.6km circuit, he was clipped by another competitor causing him to crash. The incident cost him most of the 25 minute session. Fortunately he was unhurt and his team was able to repair the bike and get him out for a valuable 3 laps.

Practice 2 was interrupted by rain after Cru had only completed a few laps. His team elected not to risk the bike in wet practice so Cru faced first qualifying with very little
knowledge of the track.

The pace of Cru’s experienced competitors in a field packed with talented riders meant that first qualifying was going to be demanding. In typical style Cru got straight down to business. He sliced more than a second a lap off each time he went past the start finish line to eventually clock a fastest lap of 1:11.989 placing him 4th on the grid. In Saturday mornings second qualifier he improved his time by more than 2 tenths of a second promoting himself to 3rd on the grid.

Mother Nature proved to be very indecisive. With a brief shower in the hours leading up to the first Superstock 600 race, the team set about making sure that the spare bike was 100% ready to go with a good wet weather set up. The track began to dry with each race that was run so having two bikes became very valuable. As the race got closer the heavens opened and saturated the circuit. The bike choice was now clear.

With very little wet weather experience, race one was the wettest condition’s that Cru has every ridden in. He got a fantastic start trailing Rick Olsen into the first turn. As the field bunched up through turn one and two, Cru was reminded of how aggressive he needed to be if he wanted to stay at the front of this pack and he was literally bumped back several positions. This allowed Rick Olsen to make a clean break and gap the field early. In 5th place at the end of lap one in the tricky conditions, Cru showed experience beyond his years and rode a smart race staying in one piece and collected some valuable points.

Race two got underway on Sunday morning in dry but cool conditions. After another blindingly fast start Cru got bashed up in turn one and found himself in 4th place trailing Mitchell Pirotta. Cru watched Mitchell for a couple of laps planning where he was going to pass. In a move that he had set up on the previous lap he executed a brilliant late breaking manoeuvre into the Northern Hairpin for a clean pass to take 3rd position. Unfortunately as he completed the pass he was hit from behind by another rider attempting a similar move. This ending his race and any chance of a good result for the meeting. Cru rode back to the pits under the supervision of the dedicated staff in the back of the Suzuki Racesafe van. He was released from the medical centre with a few more bumps and bruises, left to ponder what might have been.

Race three was now all about gaining as many points as possible for the Championship. Another good start and again Cru, this time understandably gun shy, emerged from the turn one meat grinder in 5th position. Aaron Morris and Rick Olsen were dominantly trading blows at the front of the pack, in a fantastic battle that saw Aaron take his first ASBK win of the year. Cru was left to fight for the final spot on the podium trading places back and forth with Mitchell Pirotta and Jesse Austin. In a typical Cru Halliday move he passed Jesse on the final lap to take 4th place and more valuable championship points.

“It wasn’t the weekend that I was planning for. My championship took a bit of a hit, but anything can happen from here. I just need to focus on Phillip Island now and try to finish the year with a good result.

“Hats off to Rick, Aaron and Matty Walters. They road well all weekend.

“I want to thank my dad for all the effort and hours he put into my bikes after the Eastern Creek round. They had a fair bit of damage, and he made sure that they were both perfect for this weekend’s round.”

Cru #65