News 18 Jun 2023

McMartin Racing protest on Honda leads to tension in Darwin

Herfoss responds with pivotal second race victory of the round.

Image: Foremost Media.

Tension is in the air at Hidden Valley following a post-race protest made by McMartin Racing Ducati against the Penrite Honda Racing team of Troy Herfoss, which was dismissed by Motorcycling Australia (MA) on Saturday afternoon.

Waters won the first race in Darwin yesterday and following that, a protest was made against the linkage used on second-placed Herfoss’ bike, setting up a tense second bout this morning in the Top End.

“After receiving the technical protest from the entrant of bike number 21 (McMartin Racing Ducati), the MA steward conducted a hearing into an alleged unauthorised component on bike number 17 (Herfoss),” a statement from MA read.

“Upon reviewing the case and after completing a formal hearing of all parties, the MA steward dismissed the technical protest finding there was no case the answer. The protest fee was forfeited, with no further action to come.”

In a statement ride this morning, Herfoss banked a maximum of 25 points from race two, while Waters made a costly mistake running off the track from the lead at turn one, recovering to finish fifth and setting a new lap record in the process.

It was an important victory for Herfoss, who sits as Waters closest challenger in the championship standings and he was not shy to express his thoughts on the protest after the race.

“The McMartin team wanted a reaction by protesting me yesterday – they got the reaction, thanks for coming,” Herfoss beamed. “It’s possible we were not as fast as Josh then, but I am still standing here with the number one plate for this race.

“My team has done an amazing job to not get in a race with them, do our own thing and it has been taking a long time to get to this point. We are still not quite as good as them, but we are still fighting to win the championship because we are a better team.”

Earlier in the year at Phillip Island, Herfoss was not shy to state that the McMartin Racing V4 R  was ‘light years ahead of everyone’, making it ‘disappointing for the championship‘ at certain tracks.

“After Phillip Island, Honda and a couple of other teams were saying our bike is illegal, so we sort of thought maybe there’s was,” McMartin Racing Ducati owner Craig McMartin explained. “Instead of going behind everyone’s back and making up rumours, we decided we would do it the professional way and lodge a formal protest.

“That’s the way, if anyone has an issue, they need to put in a formal protest. We just wanted clarification of the rules, that’s more what it is… just clarification of the rules. Happy, that’s the way it needs to be instead of going behind people’s backs.”

Just race three remains at the fourth round of the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Hidden Valley, with this afternoon’s final encounter set to commence at 1:10pm.