News 29 Feb 2016

Points scored on world stage for Aussie wildcards

Jones, West, Levy all take home valuable results.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Australia’s wildcards had the opportunity to shine this weekend and with a venue full of appreciative Australian fans, there was plenty of incentive to put on the performance of a lifetime.

With a total of seven Australians including three wildcards, competing in the World Supersport category this weekend, Australia was well represented when the Supersport race got underway.

With wildcard Ant West (Green Tea X50) impressing in the warm-up session, all eyes were on the Aussie when bikes left the grid, making his way into seventh position after only one lap.

By the time the race had reached lap six, Queenslander West had amazingly made his way in to the race lead, leaving spectators hanging over the fence cheering, with the dream of seeing an Australian on the WorldSSP podium.

That’s exactly what he did, eventually finishing third in the race in an inspired performance on board the privateer YZF-R6. An elated West spoke to the media after his outstanding Phillip Island podium.

“I didn’t expect to even get close to where we were. The whole week had started out as a complete disaster and going into yesterday we were still trying to find our way,” a smiling West said.

“We threw the team together last minute and we met each other for the first time on Monday. They have done great with what we’ve had to work with and we can’t expect more than that with this bike and what we have to go up against.

“It’s a big achievement for the guys, I think we have achieved what we were trying to do here. I’m looking for a ride for the rest of the year and its just another way to show that I’m still here and I’m still on a fight to win races. I’d like to go to the next World Supersport race if I can.

“Its great to get off the bike and have that Australian support behind me. It has taken a lot of determination from the guys, and determination from myself.”

Fellow Australian Supersport wildcard Mitch Levy (Landbridge Racing) concluded the 18-lap race in an impressive 15th place, while Kane Burn’s (Burns Racing) failed to finish after his Suzuki had clutch problems during the race.

When the World Superbike category headed to the grid for race two on Sunday, after finishing 14th the day prior for points, DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones had already secured himself an ASBK podium by the time he lined up as the Australian wildcard.

Despite starting at the rear of the grid during afternoon, Jones was determined to put on his best performance and when racing got underway that’s exactly what the Ducati rider aimed to do. By the time the race had reached the half way mark, Jones had maintained an impressive 14th position and looked strong and comfortable sitting just inside the the World Superbike top 15.

However, disaster struck Ducati’s Jones when he crashed soon after, marking the end of his Phillip Island World Superbike campaign. Despite Jones’ crash, the 22-year-old was able to walk away smiling, having still collected his first World Superbike Championship points in his debut race yesterday.