Tied with Herfoss on points entering the final round of 2023 season.
A timely round win for McMartin Racing’s Josh Waters at Phillip Island sees him level with Troy Herfoss for the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship lead, with just one round remaining.
Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday delivered speed and composure when it counted to take his first race win of the season in the opening encounter.
Josh Waters (McMartin Racing) made a fast start and swiftly found his way to the lead, ahead of Max Stauffer (GTR MotoStars Yamaha) and Halliday, while pole-setter Broc Pearson (DesmoSport Ducati) dropped to P6.
Defending champion Mike Jones (Yamaha Racing Team) made his way to second on lap two, taking Stauffer into The Hayshed. Waters opened up just over half a second advantage by the time Jones was second, but the R1 rider was back within striking distance at the end of lap four, and made his move for the lead into turn 10 turn two laps later.
Waters ran wide into Miller Corner next time round, allowing Halliday through who was sixth-tenths behind Jones at this point. With five laps to go, Halliday had the gap to Jones under two-tenths, and then took the lead into turn one as Waters was one second back in P3.
Jones returned the favour the next time round, and sliced past the number 65 into turn one, before disaster struck at turn four and he crashed out of the race.
Halliday withstood the late charge of Waters to win by .077s, with Stauffer securing a solid P3 result. Fourth was Glenn Allerton (GT Racing BMW), leading the group of Bryan Staring (MotoGO Yamaha) and Pearson across the line.
Championship leader Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing) ran wide into turn one while running P6, with nine laps to go. He was able to recover and finish P7, his championship lead now eight points, as Ted Collins (Livson Racing), Anthony West and Arthur Sissis completed the top 10.
A timely race two win for Waters saw him secure the round victory, and draw level with the championship lead. Waters launched to the lead once more in race two, with Stauffer making another quick start to slot into second behind Stauffer, with Pearson ahead of Allerton, Jones and Halliday.
Jones was second by lap three with the gap to Waters 0.8s at this point. As the race approached its halfway point, Jones had closed the gap to Waters to under four tenths, while race one winner Halliday had moved into third, making progress towards the leading two. Roughly a second back from Halliday, Stauffer, Pearson and Herfoss were engaged in a battle for fourth. On lap eight, Halliday took Jones into turn one for the lead, with a three-rider battle emerging for the lead, as Herfoss took Pearson for fifth into turn one.
Despite pressure from Halliday and Jones, Waters held on to take a pivotal race win, with Halliday and Jones completing the podium. Herfoss was fourth, with Stauffer and Pearson in positions five and six, as Staring, Allerton, West and Collins featured in positions 7-10.
Waters won the overall on countback ahead of Halliday, with Stauffer third for the round. Critically, Waters is now equal on points with Herfoss entering the final round at The Bend, with Allerton now P3 in the standings.