Features 20 Mar 2024

Q&A: Sydney ASBK storylines to watch

Detailing key talking points ahead of the second round of Australian Superbikes.

As the 2024 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) descends on Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend, CycleOnline.com.au visits the key storylines and answers burning questions ahead of round two in this edition of Q&A.

Image: Foremost Media.

Q: Are Troy Herfoss and Harrison Voight entered for Sydney?

A: In what is a massive coup for race fans, both defending champion Troy Herfoss (DesmoSport Ducati) and Superbike rookie Harrison Voight (McMartin Racing) will be on the grid in Sydney. The pair are locked into international deals for 2024, which has created uncertainty on when and where we might see them in ASBK again. After making up two-thirds of the podium at Phillip Island’s opener, confirmation of their inclusion this weekend is welcoming news as they’ll no doubt be contending for podiums.

Q: Phillip Island was dominated by Ducati riders, will it be a repeat this weekend?

A: The high-speed characteristics of Phillip Island will always play into the favour of Ducati-mounted riders, although that’s not quite the case at Sydney Motorsport Park. While the Eastern Creek venue serves as a popular testing ground for many riders and teams, it doesn’t particularly favour the attributes of specific manufacturers – as seen last year, with four different brands within the top five overall results. We’re expecting the likes of Yamaha Racing Team duo Cru Halliday and Mike Jones to be challenging for race wins, along with multi-time champion and SMSP local Glenn Allerton (GT Racing Team), although it’s going to take a lot to halt the form and momentum of championship leader Josh Waters (McMartin Racing).

Image: Foremost Media.

Q: Why is the Sydney round only a two-day schedule?

A: One of the most unique things about the Sydney stop on the ASBK calendar is that it takes place under lights across a Friday and Saturday schedule, as opposed to a three-day schedule at other rounds. Racing under lights is an absolute spectacle for fans and there’s just a greater atmosphere that comes with it. It also presents different challenges for racers, with varying levels of visibility along with track temperatures all playing a part. It just adds to the intrigue of what could be a couple of unpredictable nights.

Q: What happened to Tom Toparis racing in the Superbike class this year?

A: The two-time Supersport champion was slated to contest the premier class full-time with Stop & Seal Racing this season, although that has now been further delayed. Toparis gave up his ASBK commitments at Phillip Island in favour of a WorldSSP wildcard before he jetted off to America to contest the Daytona 200. Back in Australia, it’s understood he’s yet to ride the Yamaha R1 this year, prompting the decision to enter Supersport this weekend aboard Stop & Seal Racing Yamaha R6. It’s just another interesting storyline ahead of the weekend as his entry could shake up the standings.