Features 23 Mar 2023

Input: Sydney ASBK format

Select contenders share thoughts on racing under lights in two-day event.

With a unique two-day format and racing under the lights for the first time in Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) history, it’s fair to say anticipation levels are high ahead of the ASBK’s return to Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP). On the eve of round two of the 2023 season, CycleOnline gets Input from a range of premier-class contenders on the Sydney format, and going into battle at night.

Image: Foremost Media.

Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing): 
It’s exciting, I have always thought ASBK could be run as a two-day format. I think Saturday is always pretty light-on, so I think as a series, it will make life a bit easier for everyone, it’s probably something Australian Superbikes could look at doing in the future, really. Personally, I love it, a shorter weekend rewards the guys that are willing to get stuck in nice and early, and as we always see by Friday afternoon or Saturday afternoon, most guys that might be struggling a little bit get a lot of time to get there head around it, sleep on it and make their bikes a bit better. I think that one less day could reward the guys who are willing to sort of get stuck in and get to it early. I’ve noticed there is a pattern, from late last year through to now, I seem to be quick out of the box. So that’s where the shorter weekend might suit me a little bit. But as far as this weekend, I’ve just got to do what I know I am capable of and that’s racing aggressively and consistently, it’s always been a strong point for me. So yeah, just doing the best laps I can and where Josh ends up after that, that’s out of my power really. He had it going at the first round, so it’s not a matter of saying I’m going to beat him here or he’s going to beat me. If I do my best and put my best weekend together, I know there is potential to be competitive.

Glenn Allerton (GT Racing Team BMW):
I’m excited, it’s been hot in Sydney so it makes sense to run in the afternoon and evening, and obviously, it’s going to be a great spectacle for the crowd. I’ve done quite a lot of racing under the lights, so I’m excited for it, and it also gives us an opportunity to potentially get more people to come to the track, being that it’s of an evening. Some people sometimes have to work and kids have football on Saturdays and Sundays, but being in the evening it’s probably going to free up a lot of people’s time to come out and see the event. I’m excited, it’s my home round, I’ve done a lot of laps around the track and I am confident that I can get us up on the podium, basically, that is what I am aiming to do. I really want to try and get my GT Racing Team BMW up on the podium and give some of the sponsors who stuck behind us a thank you for that, and also put on a good show for our new sponsor Macarthur BMW Motorrad.

Image: Foremost Media.

Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team): 
We all still get our fair share of riding in and I don’t think the Superbike class misses a normal session from what it looks like. I think the only thing I would have to disagree on is just the time of the first race of the Superbike class – I thought that the premier class would have had two races under lights, but I guess it’s sharing the time with every other class so everyone gets a race under lights. Other than that, I think it is going to be a good event. I’ve been racing these club day races and they have been drawing some decent crowds. When they get a chance to see Australia’s best and they know it’s an Australian title round, then surely it is going to grab even more people. Just from my side, friends and family, I know that many people going, it is going to be crazy. To be honest, I expect to go out there and go pole and two race wins, I think every other rider has probably got that in their mind. I do know this track very well, they do have a new resurfacing on the track and we tested there probably a month, month and a half ago. That track, everyone knows, gets a lot of use. There could be new bumps, there could be all sorts of different characteristics of the track since we have been there last. It has been very hot, and I know that track gets used by cars a lot. We might go as fast as we did at the test, we might not. This weather is going to be crazy too, I’ve been looking at it all week, it says it’s going to rain, it’s not going to rain, so that all plays a major key in it. I’m very confident in the set-up that we have got, obviously from the times at the test and the good thing about us or Yamaha is, it’s not going to be super hot, like it was at the test. I’m pretty sure it stood out that the Ducatis shine above everyone in very hot conditions, but when the conditions were cooler, it was a lot closer. It is going to be interesting and I’m looking forward to it.

Josh Waters (McMartin Racing Ducati): 
Of course, day one is going to be a big day, but it’s cool changing it up. It will be a lot different to normal, so yeah, I’m looking forward to it and racing under lights will be pretty cool also. The work that we did at the test on day one, and at the start of day two when the conditions were really hot and it was difficult to go fast, we were able to go still quite fast. I would like to see what I could do when it’s cooler, the speed I could do. Also, little things we improved at Phillip Island, I think could help at that circuit, so I’m looking forward to it. All of the guys on the grid I think are going to be fast, Cru is really quick there, Troy, Mike [Jones], Glenn… I just need to bring my best game and hopefully it is good enough.