Features 13 Jul 2023

Rewind: 2023 ASBK support classes

Reflecting on first three rounds of 600, 300 and OJC this year.

With the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) support classes absent from the fourth round of the series at Hidden Valley, CycleOnline reflects in this Rewind feature on the 2023 season to date in the Supersport, Supersport 300, R3 Cup and Oceania Junior Cup (OJC) categories ahead of their return to action at Morgan Park this weekend.

Ty Lynch (Yamaha) stood tall in terms of the Australian Supersport overall at Phillip Island’s opening round, with consistent points across a variety of conditions in the three outings seeing him take the early championship lead.

Pole-setter Harrison Voight (Yamaha) converted to take a dominant 13.356s victory in what was ultimately a red flag-shortened season-opening encounter due to rainfall.

Prior to the red flag at the lap nine mark nine, the number 29 delivered blistering pace and posted a 1m34.979s lap time in the early stages, breaking the Australian Supersport lap record of 1m35.200s that Bryan Staring set back in 2009. His immense speed saw him quickly stretch out his advantage while Olly Simpson (Yamaha), Tom Bramich (Yamaha) and Jack Passfield (Yamaha) battled for P2.

Ultimately it was Bramich that was able to pull away, finishing in the runner-up position ahead of Passfield in third, and Simpson in fourth. A multi-rider battle for P5 ensued for much of the race behind the leading four, with Scott Nicholson (Yamaha) ultimately coming out best ahead of impressive Supersport rookie Cameron Dunker (Yamaha).

South Australian Dallas Skeer was seventh, ahead of Ty Lynch (Yamaha), Jake Farnsworth (Yamaha) and Sean Condon (Yamaha) completing the top 10.

Race two of Supersport was a race of attrition in wet conditions for a number of key contenders, with Lynch delivering a composed ride to victory, 12.916s ahead of Luke Sanders (Yamaha).

Defending champion John Lytras (Yamaha) scored a crucial P3 finish, as Farnsworth and Mitch Simpson (Yamaha) completed the top five. Former double Supersport 300 and R3 Cup champion Ben Baker (Yamaha) finished sixth ahead of Passfield, Jake Senior (Yamaha), Declan Carberry (Suzuki) and Reece Oughtred (Yamaha).

Notable fallers were race one winner Voight who crashed out of the lead with a commanding advantage at roughly the halfway point, Simpson coming victim to turn two on the opening lap, Bramich at the Hayshed and Condon at turn four. Dunker fell on the warm-up lap at turn 10 and was unable to complete the outing and Nicholson limped home with a front brake issue to finish P16.

Making amends for his mistake in race two, Voight delivered a controlled ride to the win in Supersport race three, the race starting in wet conditions with track drying as the bout progressed.

Voight led each lap to take a 3.589s win ahead of Simpson, the South Australian rebounding to secure important points. After a slow start, reigning champion Lytras produced a spirited charge to reach P3, edging race-two winner and title rival from last season Lynch who finished fifth, with Hayden Nelson also finding his way past the number 85 in the closing stages to split the pair.

Image: Foremost Media.

Passfield crossed the line P6, with Suzuki-mounted Declan Carberry, Simpson, Bramich (Yamaha) and Glenn Nelson (Yamaha) completing the top 10. Notably, Farnsworth crashed on the opening lap at the Hayshed while running P2 behind Voight.

In terms of the overall, consistency prevailed for Lynch who took the overall win on 54 points, ahead of Voight (51) and Passfield (47).

In the opening Supersport 300 race of the season at Phillip Island, it was Jai Russo (Yamaha) who took a slim 0.39s victory ahead of Brandon Demmery (Yamaha) and Casey Middleton (Kawasaki).

In the second Supersport 300 encounter, seasoned contender Demmery stood tall ahead of Henry Snell (Yamaha) and race one winner Russo  – the top three separated by 0.193s at the conclusion of the bout. The lead group consisted of nine riders in the end, separated by just over half a second.

Pole-setter Cameron Swain (Yamaha) delivered a dominant performance in race three, riding solo off the front to a convincing 7.944s win ahead of Brodie Gawith (Yamaha) and Luke Jhonston (Yamaha).

In terms of the overall, race-winner Jai Russo took the honours and championship lead after round one by a single point ahead of race-two winner Demmery, with Snell third and a further four points adrift.

Round two took place at Sydney Motorsport Park between 24-25 March, and in just his second Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) round on a 600, Dunker secured the Supersport overall in Sydney thanks to a clinical race two victory in mixed conditions.

Yamaha-mounted Condon did exactly what he needed to get his championship back on track in race one, converting pole position to take the win in the overcast, but dry weather and track.

Despite getting shuffled back in the early stages, Condon maintained his composure in the opening laps and took the lead from Farnsworth through turn two on lap four.

The number 26 dropped the hammer to post a 1m32.9s and stretch his advantage out to nine-tenths. The gap remained around the one-second mark for the laps that followed, with Farnsworth riding to an unchallenged second position while keeping pressure on the lead.

A clean ride from the fast-starting Bramich saw him finish third, ahead of Simpson in P4 who recovered from running wide at turn four on lap three, while battling for the lead. Dunker emerged in fifth, in front of round one winner Lynch who overcame reigning champion Lytras.

Just two-tenths from Lytras, Hayden Nelson finished P8, as Tarbon Walker (Yamaha) and Jack Favelle (Honda) completed the top 10.

Image: Foremost Media.

Dual Supersport 300 and R3 Cup champion Dunker mastered the tricky mixed conditions under lights to take his first victory onboard the 600 in national Supersport.

Drying track conditions left competitors torn on tyre choice, with Lynch, Simpson and Dunker all opting for wets and breaking away in the early stages.

Three soon became two as Simpson and Dunker cleared the number 85, the pair opening up a sizeable advantage in the laps that followed. Simpson led Dunker until two laps to go, when the GTR MotoStars rider capitalised on a mistake from the South Australian to take the lead and ride to a 1.040s victory.

Simpson finished a clear second, 18 seconds ahead of Scott Nicholson who charged to third on slicks. Jonathan Nahlous (Yamaha) and Hayden Nelson were fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Skeer, Passfield, Lynch – who suffered in the closing stages, Lytras and Luca Durning (Yamaha).

Notably, race one winner Condon – who was riding on slicks – crashed at turn six with five laps to go, and Farnsworth was pulled off the grid prior to the race start.

Dunker’s race two victory elevated him to the round victory on 41 points, ahead of Simpson with 37 and Hayden Nelson on 29.

A race three victory at Sydney Motorsport Park secured Brandon Demmery the overall in both the Supersport 300 class and R3 Cup, the race one winner drafting Swain – who stood tall in race two – to the line in the final bout. Swain was second overall for the round in both categories, as Gawith completed the top three.

Sydney marked the first round of the 2023 Oceania Junior Cup (OJC), as race one and two winner Haydn Fordyce prevailed when it came to the overall, leading the series in its early stages on 64 points ahead of Valentino Knezovic (57) and Riley Nauta (50). Race-three winner Bodie Paige recovered from a fall earlier in the round to leave Sydney fifth in the standings.

The 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) then moved to Queensland Raceway between 28-30 April for round three, with teenage talent Dunker making it back-to-back Supersport overall wins at the Queensland-based venue.

Dunker converted his pole position to take a thrilling victory in Supersport race one. At the start, Simpson launched from the second row to take the early lead, quickly stretching out an advantage out the front.

Image: Foremost Media.

Farnsworth worked his way up to second, but he high-sided on the exit of turn five which forced Lynch and pole-setter Dunker to sit up and lose time to avoid him. With nine laps to go Simpson’s advantage was 2.5 seconds, but a mistake three laps later saw him run wide and relinquish the lead to Dunker.

The South Australian retook the lead into turn six, with Lynch right behind the leading duo and in contention at that point. The fight certainly wasn’t over there as Dunker responded on the brakes into turn five to retake the lead with three laps to go.

He led until the last corner on the last lap when he ran wide and Simpson tried to capitalise on the inside. The pair made contact on the final straight but ultimately it was Dunker who was able to hold on and take a slim 0.011s victory ahead of the number 45.

Lynch completed the podium, 0.952s from the lead, as Nicholson charged to fourth. Condon completed the top five, as Skeer, Nelson, Passfield, Oughtred and Bramich featured inside the top 10. Lytras suffered a crash on lap two at turn five and was unable to finish the race.

A commanding race-two victory from Simpson saw him deliver a strong performance to withstand the charge of Dunker to secure the win. Simpson again made his way swiftly to the front from the second row and slowly edged an advantage ahead of Bramich as the pair broke away from the field.

Simpson’s margin of victory was ultimately 0.232s ahead of Dunker, the race one winner shuffled back in the early stages but able to work his way back to P2 and a near victory, capitalising on a mistake from Bramich in the closing stages then chasing after Simpson. Bramich recovered to finish third, as Nicholson and Lynch completed the top five.

Hayden Nelson charged to sixth, as Skeer, Condon, Lytras and Passfield rounded out the top 10. Dunker secured the round win by a single point ahead of Simpson, with Nicholson third for the round.

Three rounds in the 2023 Australian Supersport Championship, Simpson leads with 119 points ahead of Lynch with 116 and Dunker with 109. Notably, Sydney race one winner Condon will not compete at Morgan Park following injuries sustained in a crash while testing at the venue.

In the Supersport 300 class, Marcus Hamod (Yamaha) won two from three races to take the overall, with race three an immensely close encounter that saw the number 13 awarded victory after a video review ahead of Snell.

Snell finished 11th overall for the round after a DNF in race two, as championship leader Demmery and race two winner Gawith completed the round three podium. Demmery still leads the Supersport 300 championship, now on 187 points as Gawith is second on 162 and Hamod third with 154.

It was Cameron Swain (Yamaha) who took the R3 Cup honours, securing the round with a commanding race-three victory. Hamod and Demmery completed the top three for the category at Queensland Raceway as Demmery currently leads the championship by two points ahead of Swain.

In the Oceania Junior Cup (OJC), Paige secured the overall win with three wins, leading Valentino Knezovic and Fordyce for the round. Paige leads the series by 10 points ahead of Knezovic ahead of Morgan Park, as free practice commences on Friday for all classes at the fifth round of the 2023 season.