Features 26 Mar 2024

Debrief: 2024 ASBK Rd2 Sydney

Overall winners Waters and Toparis recall round two in New South Wales.

McMartin Racing’s Josh Waters continued his winning ways at Sydney Motorsport Park’s second round of the 2024 Mi-Bike Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), while Tom Toparis (Stop & Seal Racing) was victorious in his return to Supersport. CycleOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

Two from two to start the season – we had a pretty similar conversation last year – it seems like momentum is on your side…

Yeah it is – the round went well. Cru [Halliday] rode really well in that first race, when it got tough, he was really strong. For the second race, we tried to improve the bike to make it better, but then the weather came down. I was so nervous because I wanted it to be one or the other – it was fortunate we didn’t have to race when the 300s did because it didn’t look fun. Unfortunately, it bucketed down just before [our race]. My feeling was – like everyone else’s I’m sure – wasn’t wonderful, but I was able to go alright.

Is it more of a relief when you are able to win in those conditions considering that the championship is the goal?

The championship is the goal, so I need to learn from the mistakes I made last year. That’s the aim – to try and be a champion – that’s what I want to do.

Was it just a positive feeling you had in the wet? Obviously we saw Troy [Herfoss] go down, Allerton went down later as well – what was the feeling like in those conditions?

It was really ‘skatey’, so the feeling wasn’t wonderful. It was the first time I’d ridden the 2023 bike in the wet, so it was different. Like everyone, if went back out, I’m sure we’d all go quicker, trim the bike up and make it better in a lot of areas. When I saw Troy and Broc [Pearson] take off at the start of the race, I was like ‘far out’ – I was fortunate enough to have a decent feeling, and then Broc and myself had a little tussle.

They called the first part of that race pretty quickly – were you happy to start when it did?

Nah, because it was leaving lines at the back part of the circuit, and then when we were sitting on the grid, it was coming down harder. It was only a matter of time before it went wet because it had misted for like an hour. At least the officials all listened to us and red-flagged it – it was the safest thing to do.


Image: Foremost Media.

It was a really solid way for you to return to ASBK Supersport, how did you find the weekend and did it all run as smoothly as it looked like in terms of the results?

Yeah it was, obviously we’ve had really good prep – we’ve done four rounds together now, so everyone knows what their job is. It wasn’t easy – we won with comfortable margins, but I think that’s down to the bike setup. After FP1, we made a few changes and instantly the bike was into the ’31s. I wouldn’t say it all went to plan – there were a few little problems that we had with the bike, and I had a crash in Q1 which was a bit of a pain. It was a satisfying weekend – I knew we would be quick.

I guess it was fortunate you were able to race under lights but also in better conditions than the Superbike guys…

We were just lucky with Supersport! It felt like it was going to rain as our race started to begin, so we were lucky it didn’t. Racing at night – there’s not many places in the world that you can do that, so I think it’s so good that we’re utilising Sydney Motorsport Park for starters, but also under lights.

We’ve seen you win multiple championships in the past and then you spent some time out with injuries and getting your body right, plus last year we saw you race overseas. How would you compare where you’re at with your riding right now versus before you took some time out?

It’s funny you ask that – I would actually say that I’m riding as best I ever have. Every track I’ve been to recently, I’ve gone faster than I ever have by a long way. After the injury, it took me a while to get my arm right – I couldn’t hold on and stuff, my arm was so tight. BSB is quite a hectic calendar and we were racing every second or third weekend, so mid-way through last year I started getting my bike fitness back. I’m feeling really good throughout the races.

We saw the announcement in the pre-season that you were going to step up to the Superbike full-time outside of any international opportunities, so is it still the plan to get on an R1 or are you solely focusing on Supersport and seeing where you can take your career?

I really want to ride the Superbike – if I go overseas at any point, it will be to ride the 600 because there are so many more opportunities. In Australia, I feel like I’ve ridden 600s for enough years, and I want to keep growing – I just want to try something new. The reason I didn’t ride the Superbike this weekend is because the bike wasn’t ready and I just got back from America, so to go to Sydney with a new bike and new electronics, it would just be a nightmare.