News 27 Jul 2015

Australian contingent shines in mixed 8-Hour

New talent emerges as Hook delivers TSR Honda podium.

Source: TSR.

Source: TSR.

TSR Honda’s Josh Hook was the best of a diverse Australian line-up in the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours, finishing second in the great Japanese race on Sunday.

Hook, 22, put on a masterful display against many of the world’s best during the eight-hour encounter, sharing his HRC-supported CBR1000RR with Swiss Moto2 hard-charger Dominique Aegerter on the way to the runner-up.

This season Hook has been an integral part of TSR Honda’s racing program, currently fourth in the All Japan Superbike Championship, and put in a performance that could springboard him to the world championship in 2016.

“I’m speechless, really,” Hook said. “It’s such a great race and it’s so mentally and physically demanding. To come away with a podium finish is unbelievable. I’ve just got to say thanks to F.C.C TSR Honda, these guys have been unbelievable and working flat-out.

“From the guys in the pit box to the staff behind the scenes making sure we’re ready to go, it’s just amazing. It’s a good feeling to get a result for the whole team and I’ve got two well-capable teammates who did an awesome job. A massive thanks to everyone involved.”

Fifth overall was Josh Waters as part of the Yoshimura Suzuki team, partnering Alex Lowes and Takuya Tsuda, whose crash put the team out of podium contention. Waters was initially not scheduled to take part in the race, but stood in for Lowes’ final stint.

“Again Suzuka was tough. Unfortunately we had a few problems, but that’s racing,” Waters briefly commented in a team statement released post-race.

The crash of Casey Stoner on the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Honda has been well documented ending his hopes of a victory alongside Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi, sustaining a broken right scapula and fractured left ankle in the process.

Aussie duo Jason O’Halloran and Troy Herfoss’ chances of a top 10 came crashing down when Japanese teammate Naomichi Uramoto fell from the Dream RT Sakurai Honda prior to the halfway mark. They eventually got back on track after extensive repairs to finish 48th. Herfoss was also nursing broken ribs from a testing crash last week.

“Suzuka 8 Hours done for another year,” Herfoss explained. “This race is hard enough at the best of times, but I made things hard for myself last week breaking a few ribs at the test and crashing my bicycle.

“My teammates done a great job, but a small crash out of the top 10 put us back. Thanks Sakurai Honda for their hard work getting us back out there; everyone put in 100 percent and we had plenty of support from the Aussies. I’m keen to get home and recover.”

A position ahead of the O’Halloran/Herfoss combination at race’s end was little-known Australian privateer Phil Czaj, racing home to 47th as part of the Nanotop HMF Suzuki outfit despite their own fair share of hard luck across the race.

After an impressive qualifying performance as part of the Monster Energy Yamaha Austria Racing Team (YART), Broc Parkes’ day was done just 10 laps in when a technical problem caused the YZF-R1 to lose power and force them out of a top 10 placing less than 25 minutes in.

“I was happy with my pace and I showed good speed in qualifying and at the start of the race,” Parkes recalled. “I felt good on the bike, it was better than I expected, because even after some laps the tyres were still good and the grip was there. My lap times were consistent and we had a good start.

“I think we were up to eighth when we had a technical issue. It’s a bit frustrating, because I think we could have been in the top five, looking at the results now. That could have been good for the championship. I believe Yamaha was satisfied with the performance we gave before the DNF, because we were the first team on Pirelli tyres.”