News 3 Nov 2022

ASBK calendar in the works for 2023 season

Championship reliant on other series to confirm dates for next year.

Image: Foremost Media.

The 2023 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) calendar remains in the works, with Motorcycling Australia (MA) outlining a mixture of factors that could determine the final schedule prior to any formal announcement.

ASBK initially was to be contested across eight rounds for 2022, however, the championship was reduced to seven when Symmons Plains was cancelled.

While certain venues still appear to be up in the air, a major consideration when planning the scope of the championship is a clash of dates with other major events. According to CEO Peter Doyle, MA is waiting on Supercars dates – namely the round at Bathurst – and also the Phillip Island Superbike World Championship round which has often been the opening round of ASBK.

“The reality right now is I don’t even think World Superbike dates have been officially announced,” Doyle explained to CycleOnline. “I actually don’t think Bathurst Supercars events have been announced, so they are all toying around with ideas, and until Phillip Island confirms the WorldSBK date and Bathurst Supercars confirm, we can’t confirm a calendar.

“The calendar is that full at the moment, somebody moving one week or two weeks can upset the whole calendar. Through all of the Supercars events, through our grand prix and World Superbike events, even through the World Supercross Championship (WSX), the ASBK and ProMX and everything else you’ve got around motorsport, it’s a very, very crowded calendar.”

The seven rounds on the 2022 ASBK calendar span from late February to November and next year’s season is expected to be across similar months. Doyle did confirm that the series won’t be any longer than it traditionally has been.

“I think very similar to this year, with the understanding of Phillip Island [WorldSBK] is moving back to the start of the year,” Doyle added. “We ran almost around that date anyway [for the first round of the 2022 ASBK season at Phillip Island], so I would think it is going to be very, very similar to this year, with just slight things in the dates. One thing I can tell you is there will be no additional rounds, it will be either the same or one less.”

As to the circuits for next year, Phillip Island, the recently upgraded Queensland Raceway and another round at Hidden Valley in line with the Supercars Championship all appear to be viable options.

Despite Wakefield Park – a cornerstone venue of the ASBK series in recent years – facing ongoing legal troubles amid its current closure, the notion of the championship visiting the Goulburn circuit in 2023 has not been completely ruled out.

“We are still going through the motions with Wakefield,” Doyle added. “Wakefield still are open to hosting the event, but right now it’s one of those situations where we are sitting in the middle – we want to help Wakefield, they want to run the event, but their issue could be too large for us to put it on the calendar.

“Making commitments and then the situation going south and then the whole calendar has to change and we have to drop a round. We are actually in discussions with that and we are not yet at a point of making a decision, but we are very close.”

In addition, it has been heavily rumoured that Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) will return to the ASBK calendar for next year, the venue previously known as Eastern Creek being absent from the series for the last three years.

“Sydney is a realistic option,” he continued. “Everybody has got opinions on what it is – they’ve all got an opinion – but the fact of the matter is making sure that there is a date that can be achieved that fits into the calendar. People think we will go and run a race, but when you are dealing with a live TV program there’s a lot more than goes into it.

“For example, if you get the same weekend as Bathurst, who wants to invest in a motorsport event to run against Bathurst Supercars? There’s a lot more to it than what people may have opinions or make assumptions about. Is it realistic? Absolutely.”

Following the fifth round of the 2022 ASBK championship at Morgan Park, Motorcycling Australia outlined that the future of the Southern Downs venue hosting a round of the series hangs in the balance of a long-term plan to continue improving the facility. It is understood a proposal for improvement to the venue is to be put forward to MA.

“It is sitting with them up there,” Doyle commented. “The track has indicated that they want the event to stay there, and the council have come back and said that they want it to stay there. I think councils and governing departments move slowly, so it is not set in stone. I would expect that by The Bend, we would be in a position to announce the calendar – it’s all going to fall into place really quickly.”

Two rounds remain in this year’s ASBK series, with Mike Jones (Yamaha Racing Team) leading defending champion Wayne Maxwell (Boost Mobile with K-Tech Ducati) by 29 points ahead of Phillip Island on 18-20 November.