News 5 Dec 2023

YRT tactics pivotal in series P3 result for Halliday

End result sees Allerton bumped to fourth at The Bend ASBK finals.

Image: Foremost Media.

A late shuffle between Yamaha Racing Team (YRT) duo Cru Halliday and Mike Jones resulted in a third-place finish in the 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) standings for Halliday, with Jones conceding position in race two.

Halliday went on to finish second in the race and overall, which elevated him to third in the series, marginally ahead of Glenn Allerton (GT Racing BMW) and outgoing champion Jones.

Allerton entered the round third in the championship on 226 points, with Halliday fourth on 220 and Jones P5, a further two back. Following race one at The Bend, where the trio occupied positions three to five, Allerton’s gap to Halliday was cut to two points, with Jones then five points in arrears.

In the closing stages of race two the defending ASBK champion held a comfortable P2 on track, over three seconds clear of Halliday in third. However, on the last lap, Jones dropped to third behind his teammate, the result ensuring Halliday stood on the ASBK podium for the season.

“I mean, we are Yamaha Racing Team, we are a two-rider team and we have got to put our best rider forward,” Jones told CycleOnline. “I put myself in a position where I wasn’t the best rider coming into this weekend, so I raced at my best up until the point the championship points were on the line.

“That’s a tricky situation, but we got the job done there. Cru finished the championship third and Yamaha Racing Team third overall in the championship, so it’s a great result for the team. You know, we had some really stiff competition, so for the team to finish in third is a really good result.

Halliday added: “We had a talk before race two with upper-management, Scott Bishop, John Redding and Kev Marshall, we all discussed if Mike can go out and win the race, fair game – he can go out and take third in the championship if he won the race, or even if he placed a certain position and I got fourth or lower back.

“The whole thing was that if we were together, we knew that we had to put a bike in between me and Glenn, at the time obviously Mike was the rider in front. When you are in a factory team and you have a teammate that is either… we end up on basically the same points, but Glenn would have jumped us in the championship by one point.

“It was more a ‘do we want a Yamaha on the podium for the championship or do we want self-pride for the weekend?’. Me and Mike both agreed it was more important to get Yamaha up there for the championship and the decision was made.

“If there was another rider, just say you had a Bryan Staring that was there and I passed him, that probably would have worked out better, but that’s not just how it worked out. We just found ourselves in that situation. I also rolled out of it for Mike last year when he was going for his championship.

“That’s probably the good thing about being in a factory team with two riders, stuff like that can happen. In other situations, that can also work against you as well, because if me and Mike were fighting for the title, we are going to clash heads and be in the same team. It benefited in our favour and I think everyone made the right choice.”

Meanwhile, Allerton finished P5 once more in the final race, missing out on the bronze championship position by a single point. Despite stating he didn’t visibly see the YRT riders trade places, it was evidently a frustrating outcome for the triple champion.

“We built this tiny little team up from nothing,” Allerton said. “Next year we might have a second rider so he can ride out on the track and get in front of some people and move over for me on the last lap, so that I can secure third as well… I’m really looking forward to having my new teammate next year.

Questioned if he was serious about the possibility of expansion, he added: “The possibility of expanding is real, but we have just got to see what happens in the off-season. It’s all about whether we can get enough personnel and the right rider. We will see what happens.”