News 17 Jul 2023

Highs and lows in Warwick for Supersport poleman Nelson

Damage from unlucky turn nine crash rules Yamaha rider out of race two.

Image: Foremost Media.

It was a weekend of highs and lows for Yamaha-mounted Hayden Nelson at Morgan Park, with the Australian Supersport rookie claiming his first pole position in the category before an unlucky race one fall ultimately ruled him out from the remainder of the weekend.

Nelson, 16, dropped the hammer in qualifying one on Saturday morning, posting a 1m15.143s which was enough for him secure P1 in the grid without spinning a single lap in the second session.

Despite being relegated back to sixth in the early stages of race one, Nelson was able to charge his way forward in the laps that followed and reached the front of the field in the final quarter of the bout, before unfortunately crashing out of second at turn nine due to oil on the track from another rider’s machine.

The red flags were brought out soon after, with Luca Durning (Yamaha) also falling victim to the spillage. Nelson, Durning and Tom Bramich – the number 44 bike dropping oil after remounting from a crash earlier in the race – were disqualified from the results as deemed causes of the stoppage.

“I sort of came into the corner, I actually spoke to the other guys battling and they all came over and had big moments and unfortunately I was the unlucky one to actually go down,” Nelson said to CycleOnline. “As I came into the corner, I just did everything normally, I was on my normal line and just no warning, the front just let go.

“It wasn’t like one of those crashes where the front tucked and went for a bit so you would wash off a lot of your speed, I went down at maximum speed. It was a very fast one, so I’m lucky to walk away.”

Nelson’s only bike sustained significant damage in the fall and despite a mega effort by his team, it was not ready in time for the second outing. On a positive note, he escaped major injury during the heavy race one crash and impressed many with maturity and composure beyond his years towards the circumstances.

“It was a massive effort, the team came together and not just my team, there were people from Superbike teams, 600 teams offering parts,” Nelson added. “It was really a nice showing from everyone in the paddock, and my team really appreciate it.

“In the end, there was a lot of damage, for anyone that had seen the crash the bike got smashed, lots of flips and cartwheels. The subframe was completely snapped and the airbox had a crack so dirt got sucked down and it had to get all blown out.

“Also I tore the master cylinder off the front brake and the reservoir and everything, that actually took a while because we had to get it bled up again. Tore the throttle cables out, sort of one of those things the more you looked the more there was.

“It was a massive effort but in the end, it actually wouldn’t start, and we think the engine copped a bit of a hit and the crank sensor wouldn’t let it turn over. An unfortunate one, it just needed more time than a couple of hours.”

Nelson delivered has impressive results in his transition to a 600 and has shown strong progress across the opening races of the 2023 season, notably landing on the overall podium under the lights at Sydney for round two.

The 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) has a break of just over three months before resuming at Phillip Island between 27-29 October for round six.