Features 31 Oct 2023

Debrief: 2023 ASBK Rd6 Phillip Island

Overall winners Waters and Dunker recall sixth round in Victoria.

McMartin Racing’s Josh Waters scored an important overall victory at Phillip Island and is now level on points with Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing) after round six of the Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), while Cameron Dunker (Yamaha) showed speed and composure when it counted to take the Supersport win and championship lead with one round remaining. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

Very timely round win for you Josh, brings you back, level on points with Troy Herfoss for the championship lead! Must be a pretty good feeling? 

Yeah, awesome feeling. It’s been a tough last 10 weeks, not doing stuff for a long time and then when you could take off, the things I was allowed to do weren’t really to help ride a motorbike. Everyone has been injured, a lot of people have been injured but yeah, wish it wasn’t my right hand.

Yeah, lack of mobility hey, that must be a big one, but for you, it also must be big knowing you can get through and win a weekend with an injury like that? 

Yeah and also going into the weekend, because I have clicked with the bike and the bike is obviously really good around here, the expectation is extremely high. Of course, I need to act like I can get the job done, but I’m not allowed to do a push-up.

Not easy! Can you explain the two races from your perspective? Especially that last one, Cru really hard a charge on towards the end, but how do you manage that? 

I thought it was Mike [Jones] behind me at the end of the second race, but I had seen both of the Yamahas were there, and I was just waiting for one of them to have a go. My bike was quite strong out of 11 and 12, yeah then there were over areas I was struggling to stop, so they were making a lot of ground. The Yamaha is always really good at the back part of the circuit, up through The Hayshed, and I was just waiting for one of them to have a go into MG. But yeah in four weeks’ time we will get stronger.

Looking to The Bend in four weeks’ time, how does that preparation look for you? A bit more recovery perhaps and a bit more time on the bike? 

Yeah, a bit more recovery. Obviously, everyone is going to Tailem Bend next week for the ride days there, so have to do it, it’s the only opportunity to ride at that circuit. Go there, manage it properly with what I can do and then go to the final round. I spoke to Troy [Herfoss] when we were coming in off the track, it goes down [to the wire], you hate it like that but it’s great for the championship. They told us we are equal on points, so it’s like starting again.


Image: Foremost Media.

Congratulations on the Supersport round win and taking over the championship lead too! How does it feel? 

Yeah, it’s always a good feeling to come out of the round with the round win! I think we did a fairly good job today, especially how Friday started and ended. We were struggling quite a fair bit with the wrong set-up, having a crash, sore ankle. But we sort of just started from scratch on Saturday morning, managed to find something. The last race the track was a bit, I don’t know if it was greasy, but after watching Tom [Toparis] crash in front of me, definitely a lot scarier. I’m happy to come out of here with the round win, not exactly sure how many points I’m leading by. Happy to be going to The Bend as the championship leader. Yeah I think there are a few boys coming over from overseas, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how we compare against them.

Touching on a couple of things you said there, you made some pretty good steps forward during the weekend. Were there key things in the bike set up that you did change? Also with the injury, can you detail the full extent of that? 

With the bike, we didn’t really change too much, we had a pretty good set-up from Vic titles. We changed a few things but it didn’t work. Especially with the ankle, I fractured the bottom of my fibula and did some ligament damage. Just with that, the most important thing was to do as many laps as I could, just to see how my ankle felt and how would it be in the race, stuff like that. They were the two biggest things of our weekend. The bike, we sort of got it pretty good after race one, then the wind picked up which still changed things a bit but still managed to win so I’m pretty happy.

Looking to what’s next, The Bend, I remember you being very strong there last year on the R3. That must give you confidence going there on the 600, even though it is a completely different bike. 

Yeah, like you said it is a completely different bike, so we don’t know what to expect. I was strong there last year on the 300, and I’m getting even more comfortable on the 600, so I think we will be right heading there for that round and I am really looking forward to it.