Features 28 Mar 2023

Debrief: 2023 ASBK Rd2 Sydney

Overall winners Waters and Dunker recall second round in New South Wales.

McMartin Racing Ducati rider Josh Waters continued his 100 percent strike-rate in terms of race victories to date in the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) and stormed to both wins at Sydney Motorsport Park, as 15-year-old Cameron Dunker (Yamaha) showed composure when it counted across the two races in Supersport to take the overall at round two. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

Josh, congratulations. Two-for-two now and another convincing round win.

Yeah, a really good round. Didn’t get pole but still made the front row. Both races were good, the dry race was good, Cru [Halliday] and I were running solid pace, then in the wet race it all clicked for me and I had a good feeling, I was able to ride like I did.

Were you surprised by the pace you guys ran across the weekend?

Yeah, although in FP3 the Yamaha guys really stepped it up. After that, we spent a lot of time before qualifying trying to work out what we needed to do. I felt like we made a huge step forward, but it wasn’t quite good enough for pole position. Then again this morning, we were here early and went through lots of stuff, our warm-up was really good, the pace was good, so going into the race I felt good but Cru [Halliday] stepped it up and was really quick.

What was your take on that first race? Obviously, you were leading when the race was declared.

Yeah, I was fortunate to be in the right position when the race got red flagged, it’s never good seeing one of your main competitors out like that.

There’s been a lot of variables throughout the first two rounds. But it all seems to be going your way, does it feel like that?

For sure. But when you’re confident also, in the wet and in the dry, there’s that feeling, I’m confident in the bike. I’m also a realist, I’ve been in the sport a fair while, so I need to keep my feet on the ground because it can all change quickly, so I’m not getting ahead of myself, the next round will be extremely tough.

What was your take on the night race in general? A really long day yesterday with the schedule and a different day today, do you think it was positive?

I think so, the crowd was quite good for the weather, you even look at the football and if the weather is not that great it affects them. So, with the forecast over the last two days being terrible, it’s easy for people to just watch it at home. So thanks to everyone that came out, I hope they can take an interest in it.

Finally, we look at Phillip Island as your track and we know you’re good here. Is it a bit of a personal challenge to show that with this package, you can be good anywhere?

A little bit, it was like when it rained, it was a good feeling to race good in those conditions. Every time you ride in the wet it’s different, so I never go think I’m going to go well cause it’s different every time.


Image: Foremost Media.

Cameron, a massive achievement in just your second national round on the 600. Talk us through what that feeling was like when you found out that you’d won the overall.

After the race, I was doing an interview with Tom Reynolds and they said they need me for the podium, that’s when I found out that I won the round, it was pretty cool, I didn’t really believe it at first.

That second race was great for you. What was it like after the warm-up lap? Were you confident in your decision to go with wet tyres or was it still a bit of an unknown?

Dad was on the phone with Jamie [Stauffer] when we were on the grid discussing what we should do if the track has dried out significantly, like what would happen when I’d come into the pits. I came down the straight and everyone in front of me that was on wets were still on wets, so I just followed them pretty much. I wasn’t too sure if I was going to lose time being on the wets, but in the end it worked out.

It looked like you followed Olly [Simpson] there for a lot of the race before he made the mistake. Was your plan all along to sit behind, let him test the conditions and then try and pounce in the closing stages?

Yeah, I looked back a few times to see if anyone was close, cause I knew I was fast in certain spots, but in the wet, it’s always easier to follow because you get to see what their bike is doing and understand what the track is doing. So, my plan was if there was no one behind was to sit behind him and make a move in the later part of the race, then with two laps to go he made a mistake and I just knew that was my chance. I passed him and then was just pushing hard so I could get a bit of a gap.

Not only in the wet, but in the dry in your first year, you’ve been right up there. Were you happy with P5 in the first race?

I didn’t get the greatest start, but I felt I had a pretty good pace. We were working pretty hard over the weekend and managed to get back up to fifth. I was a bit annoyed because I felt like I had the pace to run with the podium boys, but it was a pretty good race.

After the success you experienced in Sydney, does that shift the expectations for you? Or is it still a big learning year for you?

Well, from the beginning and the first tests I wanted to be higher in the overall times, I’m still going to push hard every round and try and win, but I’ll take what comes. If I can run with the front guys at the rest of the rounds and gain experience and time on the bike, that’ll be good.