News 14 Jul 2017

Ongoing Hidden Valley ASBK investigations being carried out

Governing body seeking increased consistency in decision-making.

Image: Keith Muir.

Motorcycling Australia (MA) has commenced further investigations into the turn of events that saw multiple races red-flagged and penalties applied at Hidden Valley’s fourth round of the 2017 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) presented by Motul Pirelli.

A press release distributed by MA this morning has confirmed that investigations are currently taking place regarding the contact involving Daniel Falzon and Kyle Buckley that caused a stoppage in the opening Superbike race, as well as a red flag incident in Supersport 300 race one.

Following his involvement in the controversial crash with Buckley, longtime points leader Falzon was initially permitted to restart and powered on to finish sixth, collecting a vital haul of 15 points. He was then excluded from the results by clerk of course Tom Williams due to his part in the incident, only to be reinstated on Wednesday by order of the steward Peter Smith following a successful protest and hearing of a jury.

The championship implications of Falzon be reinstated are significant, as those 15 points placed back in his tally now boost him from third when he departed Darwin back into a tie of the points lead with defending champion Troy Herfoss with three rounds remaining. The Crankt Protein Honda Racing leader and a selection of rivals have questioned his reinstatement since.

It’s understood that MA headquarters headed by current CEO Peter Doyle has called for consistency in the decision-making this week, due to appoint an independent representative to lead ongoing investigations. A final decision is hoped to be reached and released publicly within the next week, to clarify direction into the future and potentially reduce any grey area in the matter of red flags and race stoppages.

A multi-bike incident on lap seven in Saturday’s first Supersport 300 affair that caused a red flag saw Corey Briffa and Scott Nicholson – who remains hospitalised in Darwin with multiple fractures – both disqualified from the results as the stoppage cause when it was declared and the finishing order was reverted back a lap. A bike malfunction on the exit of turn one from Brandon Demmery was what led to both Briffa and Nicholson going down, while a separate incident involving Boyd Hocking and Callum O’Brien saw them maintain their positions in 14th and 15th.

It’s consistency that MA is seeking in its investigations, which could ultimately lead to further exclusions, lesser penalties or see the current results stand as a result of the drama in Darwin. The governing body has confirmed when contacted this afternoon that currently there have been no protests lodged in relation to the reinstatement of Falzon, but whether or not his riding will be deemed as reckless to cause the crash between he and Buckley could come into consideration within the extended investigation process.

The single protest still under review that MA has referred to in the statement released today in fact involves Jack Mahaffy, who was penalised two track positions by the clerk of the course in Supersport 300 race three for ‘incidents during the race’. He is appealing to have his initial race-winning result reinstated.

MA’s latest announcement on the matter released today in full is as follows:

Motorcycling Australia wishes to advise of investigations underway from the ASBK round four. Notice is given to competitors from the Australian Superbike Championship round four at Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin, that two further investigations and a protest hearing are now taking place to review the behaviour of riders involved in on-track incidents that occurred in Superbike race one and Supersport 300 race one and three.

Superbike race one incident under review, involves contact between riders Daniel Falzon (#25) and Kyle Buckely (#83) on Sunday, 9 July. The Supersport 300 investigation of the race one red flag incident at turn one involving riders Corey Briffa (#23) and Scott Nicolson (#39) on Saturday, 8 July.

The riding conduct of rider Jack Mahaffy (#37) during Supersport 300 race three on Sunday, 9 July is also under review. Both investigations and the protest hearing are currently in progress and the outcomes of each will be posted publicly as soon as possible.