Features 7 Dec 2023

Top 10: Performances of the ASBK season

Breaking down a mix of standout rider moments from 2023.

The 2023 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) was a hotly-contested campaign, with an assortment of standout results delivered across the seven rounds. With the series now complete and champions crowned, CycleOnline looks back at the Top 10 Performances throughout the season.

Image: Foremost Media.

1. Herfoss seals third ASBK title with a sweep at The Bend:
Capping off an amazing season for himself and Penrite Honda Racing, Troy Herfoss claimed his first Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship with a clean sweep of qualifying and two race wins at The Bend. ‘Herf’ was on a mission in South Australia, becoming the first-ever rider to notch a 1m49s lap around the venue on Saturday, then taking a victory in race one where he controlled the encounter from the front. He battled with Josh Waters throughout race two until the McMartin Racing rider crashed out from P2, and from there Herfoss was able to enjoy his last lap of an incredible season, and stint with Honda. With four round wins and eight race victories, 2023 was a memorable one for the number 17.

2. Phillip Island rebound sees Waters draw level: 
Waters was immensely impressive throughout the 2023 season, notching five from five straight wins to open the season. However, perhaps his most decisive performance of the season was Phillip Island, round six, where pushed through the effects of a wrist injury sustained at the Suzuka 8 Hours to take a pivotal round win. His results at the series’ second visit this year to ‘The Island’ were pivotal in ensuring he entered the last round level on points with Herfoss, shaping up a thrilling finale. While he concluded the championship in P2, Waters can hold his head high with three round victories and seven race wins this year.

3. History-making Dunker crowned Supersport champion in South Australia: 
Now 16-year-old Cameron Dunker (Yamaha) has been nothing short of impressive this year, becoming the youngest-ever winner of the Australian Supersport Championship last weekend in South Australia. After winning the Supersport 300 and R3 Cup titles last season, the New South Wales-based rider entered the 600 ranks this year as a highly-rated talent. While he secured the crown at The Bend, it’s hard to pinpoint a single performance this year that was standout for Dunker when his season as a whole was so solid. He mastered the tricky mixed conditions under the lights at Sydney to secure the overall at round two, and backed that up with a round win next time out at Queensland Raceway. A gutsy ride at Phillip Island for round six saw him take the weekend victory despite racing with an injured ankle, and from there he kept his composure at the season’s finals to bring home the gold.

4. Teamwork makes the dreamwork at YRT: 
A late race switch between Mike Jones and Cru Halliday in race two at The Bend was pivotal in ensuring that the latter stood on the overall series podium at The Bend. The effort was a prime example of team work, with both riders acknowledging the bigger picture for Yamaha Racing Team. However, that’s not taking anything away from Halliday’s season, or Jones for that matter, with Halliday showing immense pace at times as a race-winning threat. Pole in Sydney and his race one challenge to Waters – that was ultimately brought to a premature end due to red flags brought out – are prime examples of the number 65’s latent potential. Jones endured his share of misfortune with the number one plate, but was right in victory contention on a number of occasions. He will be determined to rebound in 2024 from fifth in the standings this year.

5. Lap records for Voight in select 600 appearances: 
While international talent Harrison Voight missed much of the ASBK Supersport season this year due to his European Moto2 Championship commitments, he did make a powerful impact in the Phillip Island and Tailem Bend rounds he contested. At round one, the R6 racer bested Bryan Staring’s longstanding Superport lap record of 13 years at the venue, with a new benchmark of a 1m34.979s set in race one. He would ultimately take two race wins that weekend. The number 29 returned for the season finals at The Bend, where a 1m54.762s saw him post a new qualifying record in the category on Saturday. He battled hard to a race one win on Sunday, before a commanding performance in race two saw him notch a new race lap record – 1m54.522s – in South Australia on his way to a 1-1 sweep at the final round.

Image: Foremost Media.

6. Pearson on pole at Phillip Island:
While 2023 was a mixed campaign for DesmoSport Ducati’s Broc Pearson, a highlight of his first full-season with the team was a stunning pole position at round six. The Queenslander positioned himself well in the session and fired in a 1m32.156s to take the top spot by 0.120s ahead of Waters. While the races perhaps didn’t play out as he would have hoped, that qualifying effort was a credible achievement for the former Supersport champion, who ultimately finished P6 in the championship standings.

7. Stauffer lands first Superbike top three at round six: 
The continued progress of Max Stauffer onboard a Superbike has been enjoyable to watch, and that was highlighted by his first premier class podium at the sixth round. The GTR MotoStars racer delivered speed and kept his nose clean in race one at Phillip Island to complete the podium, and secured a top three position for the event with a P5 finish in race two. Building on that momentum he qualified fourth at The Bend, and narrowly missed a top-five result in race one. He will certainly be one to watch next season.

8. GT Racing and Allerton underline early podium potential:
Considering that new team, GT Racing, was only formed at round two this year, the fact three-time Australian Superbike champion Glenn Allerton finished fourth in the championship standings, a single point behind P3, was a commendable effort to all involved. In the team’s third outing, it made the switch to Ohlins at Hidden Valley and the number 14 scored a solid third place result in races one and two. There were certainly flashes of potential for Allerton and outfit, showing strong pace in the build-up to round six at Phillip Island also. If all of the pieces come together next year then he is sure to be a formidable force.

9. Crafty Simpson scores first 600 overall from third row:
While he scored a Supersport race win at Queensland Raceway, an overall victory in the category eluded South Australian Olly Simpson until round five at Morgan Park. Starting from seventh on the grid, Simpson charged to a 2-1 scorecard, underling his position at the top of the standings as he entered the season-break with momentum. A technical issue in race two at the following round at Phillip Island proved detrimental to his title charge, but Simpson fought hard until the end and pushed Voight with a 2-2 scorecard in the final round.

10. Lynch masters mixed conditions to open Supersport on top:
Finishing second position in the 2022 Australian Supersport Championship, Ty Lynch entered the 2023 season as a key contender. A standout performance from his campaign was the opening round at Phillip Island, where he was the most consistent in the different conditions across the three races to take the overall win with a 8-1-5 scorecard. He ultimately finished the season third in the championship standings.