Features 2 May 2023

Debrief: 2023 ASBK Rd3 Queensland Raceway

Overall winners Herfoss and Dunker recall third round in Queensland.

Penrite Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss made a welcome return to the top step at Queensland Raceway after delivering a commanding weekend to lead practice, qualifying and later winning both races. Meanwhile, Supersport standout Cameron Dunker continued to impress in his rookie 600 campaign, making it back-to-back round wins at the third stop on the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) calendar. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

What a weekend in Queensland, fastest in practice, qualifying then taking two race wins! How does it feel?

It feels amazing, honestly. To take a perfect weekend, qualifying record and outright fastest laps, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I didn’t think I was at this stage yet, and I have been doing a lot of work and different training. I’ve been searching a lot, talking with the guys. Even looking at the data on my own and trying to work out what kind of things make me fast and slow. It has been a lot of work to try and change what I’m doing and to make the bike work for me a little bit better. It sort of all came together, the bike feels like a Honda, easy to ride, it turns, it does everything I want it to do. In race one there I was super nervous, I get the feeling that Mike [Jones] was a little bit tight as well and we both rode a similar race. But in race two, man it was just like, on. The lap time wasn’t as fast, for me anyway, but it just felt like we were keen to go, and he stormed underneath me, we hit, and then I had an issue with Michael Edwards as I came past him into turn one, and then Mike passed me again. It was just like old school, hard racing, just what I thrive on really. The main thing I’m most amazed about is 35 points coming into this round seemed like a… it’s hard to come here motivated from a championship, but I think we’ve halved the gap almost, somewhere around there, and that’s in one round, so anything can happen. I know that those guys didn’t have a round that they are super happy with, but they still got two fourth places, it wasn’t a bad round for them I guess. It just goes to show you’ve got to win races in the championship and Josh [Waters] capitalised on his good rounds and I’m really happy that I can capitalise on my good round. I think we are moving to a track now where he probably thinks he can beat me and I think I can beat him. We have both had success in Darwin, and also Mike [Jones] has as well. So we are going to a track next where there is probably no one really that is going to have an advantage, and I’m just so excited that physically, mentally and the team, we are all working so well going into that. Like the championship is wide open in my mind.

It’s the first time since that accident at Hidden Valley in 2021 that we have seen this kind of dominance from you. You had that victory in race one at The Bend last year, but what does a perfect weekend like this do for you for your confidence and being in this championship fight? 

It’s very important for the whole team, because although we do put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do well, we haven’t been in this situation where we know for sure, we can win the weekend, the qualifying session, the race. So you are going out on the track every session knowing that you are the guy to beat, and it is just different. It’s a different pressure I haven’t experienced for a few years, and that’s why at Tailem Bend, it was really nice to win from row three and against those guys, and it was an epic victory, but there was a championship on the line. It wasn’t like I was the guy that was expected to win, I had no pressure on me at all. No one expected me to win that race. Whereas this weekend, I had the pressure, and that’s something I needed to get through. I’m just glad we got through it with a perfect scorecard, and I feel like I can look towards the championship now. Rather than just talking about wanting to win a championship, I feel like I’m on that target and trajectory now.

Finally, a little bit off the ASBK topic, but we have seen you doing some training on the motocross bike. We’ve heard bits and pieces about a potential Penrite ProMX entry at Queensland Moto Park (QMP), is there anything that you can share on that? 

[Laughs] Look mate, I idolise the guys that can ride motocross at that level and I’ve always wanted to race at a high level in motocross. I would love to do it, I know where I’m at and I know I am a reasonably good motocross rider, but those guys are on another level. I’ve been at the track a little bit… Nathan Crawford actually was there the other day, he’s a road race fan and I’m a motocross fan. I’ve chased him around and I’ve been on the same track as him, but I’m not on the same track as him if you know what I mean. He’s a long way ahead of me. I would love to race with those guys, I’m going to keep riding motocross and if I can dabble in a bit of motocross racing I would love to before I get too old.


Image: Foremost Media.

Congratulations, two overall wins in a row now in the Supersport 600 category. Your rookie season in the class has been going really well for you! 

Yeah, it’s been pretty good so far, two round wins, back-to-back, I’m just working every round and getting faster and stuff like that, so can’t be happier.

Entering this season, did you have the mindset that three rounds in you would have two overall wins already? 

Nah I didn’t. Coming into this season I was just working race by race. I mean I am still doing that, but two overall round wins, it’s pretty good, and it’s a big confidence booster heading into the next round.

Can you talk us through your weekend at Queensland Raceway? Pole position with that new qualifying record, then you really had to charge and fight for it in race one and you put a pretty big charge in during race two as well. How was that for you?

Friday started off with a fair few struggles, just didn’t really find the right set-up or anything, but qualifying I found a fair bit of time and ended up qualifying on pole. Race one, I didn’t get too bad of a start, but just got pushed around a fair bit in the first few laps. I put in a good fight and ended up winning that race. Race two I had to make a lot of time up off a very bad start, which cost me in the end, but I was faster all weekend. Yeah, I put in a big fight in race two and I just came short. Maybe one or two laps it might have changed.

Getting that overall win in Sydney, you rode well especially in race two to get the victory in the mixed conditions. How important was it to be able to show you can win a Supersport race in the dry and really establish yourself as a championship threat here in Queensland? 

It feels good. I came into this weekend wanting to win in the dry, just to prove it wasn’t a one-off thing, which I think I have done pretty well at doing that with a pole position, first in race one and a second in race two. Now, we still take it race by race but if it comes to the end of the year and I am in the championship fight, then we will dig deep and see what we can do.