-- Casella predicts Supersport battle
to intensify in the Top End
QBE Australian Supersport Championship points leader Christian Casella has predicted a ‘bar-bashing’ battle for class honours to continue at Darwin’s Hidden Valley this weekend.
The Ballarat-based rider has made a strong start to 2011 aboard his Triumph Daytona 675, standing atop the podium at the most recent round.
Casella enters the weekend brimming with confidence following a series of successful tests aboard the new 675 R, and is hoping to improve on his third-place finish at the series' inaugural visit to the Top End in 2010.
“The new bike is feeling fantastic, and I can honestly say I am entering this round as confident as I have ever felt,” said Casella.
“That said I am not getting too far ahead of myself. The Supersport class is very competitive this year and any number of riders are capable of winning.
“The racing was intense at Symmons Plains and I don’t see anything changing up here – the bar-bashing is definitely going to continue.”
Casella said the heat wouldn’t be a factor in his quest for back-to-back round wins this weekend.
“I train at 100% intensity and love the conditions in Darwin. It’s sure to be a great event, wet or dry.”
Seasoned Supersport campaigner Kevin Curtain is the only current racer to have competed at Hidden Valley prior to last year’s successful standalone event.
The Yamaha Racing Team rider was also mounted aboard a blue bike when he last raced in the Superbike Production series in 1998, and said he was looking forward to getting back on track.
“I don’t think Hidden Valley has changed much since 1998 so I’m really keen to get back out there and get up to speed,” said Curtain. “This is the team’s first look at the track as we didn’t race here last year, but I don’t think we’ll have too many problems finding a good setup.
“I was on for a good finish in the last race at Symmons Plains but that came undone,” said Curtain, referring to the controversial final-corner pass put on him by Suzuki young gun Nick Waters.
“We’ll see how it goes this weekend, my plan is to get clear of those kinds of battles and really challenge for the win.”
He is currently placed fifth in the closely-contested class, with the top 5 riders separated by just 17 points.
Team Suzuki’s Brodie Waters sits a point shy of Christian Casella in second, with Yamaha’s Aaron Gobert a further 5 points back. Triumph rider Mitchell Carr is also in the mix, sitting in fourth place.
The QBE Supersport class will contest two 17-lap races on Sunday following initial sessions for practice and qualifying.
The top 4 riders at the conclusion of qualifying will progress to the newly-introduced Superpole session – a no-holds-barred flying lap to decide the front row of the grid.
A host of Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship support categories will make for a packed and entertaining race meeting.
Yamaha rider Cru Halliday holds a commanding lead in the Honda Australian Prostock class, and will be tough to beat after a clean-sweep of round 1.
20 riders will contest the Prostock class’ three 11-lap races this weekend.
Continuing Yamaha’s domination of the ‘Stock’ classes, Mike Jones carries the mantle of the one to beat in the Superstock class, bolstered by 24 entries for round 3.
Jones left rival riders in his wake in rounds 1 and 2, taking pole at both Phillip Island and Symmons Plains and winning everything on offer.
He leads Kawasaki rider Mark Wilkinson by 34 points, with fellow ZX6R pilot Zack Thackeray a further 2 points in arrears.
Three 10-lap races are on the cards for the Suzuki Superstock class this weekend.
The Motul Superlites standings are headed by three Aprilia RS’; Joshua Hook is in first, 16 points ahead of Nicky Diles and a further 6 points clear of Alex Phillis.
The field will also contest three 10-lap races.
Newly-introduced class Superside will add even more action to the schedule.
The skilled sidecar pilots will muscle their machines around the Hidden Valley circuit in three 8-lap races.
- Rnd 1 Summary
- Rnd 2 Summary
Friday: $20 ($10)
Saturday: $30 ($15)
Sunday: $40 ($25)
*Concession prices are available at the Gates only ($)
Corporate Tickets are available as a one or two day package:
One day: $375
Two days: $675
2010 Hidden Valley winners and record-holders
Superbike – Josh Waters (Suzuki)
Supersport - Troy Herfoss (Suzuki)
Prostock* – Ben Attard (Ducati)
Superstock** – Matthew Walters (Kawasaki)
Superlites*** - Jordan Zamora (Honda)
Superbike – Josh Waters, 1:07.772 (Suzuki)
Supersport – Christan Casella, 1:10.47 (Triumph)
Prostock* – Ben Attard, 1:09.446 (Ducati)
Superstock** – Aaron Morris, 1:12.597 (Yamaha)
Superlites*** - Jordan Zamora, 1:17.439 (Honda)
* Previously known as Superstock 1000
** Previously known as Superstock 600
*** Previously known as 125GP/250Mono
QBE Australian Supersport Championship Overall
1. Christan CASELLA (VIC), 77
2. Brodie WATERS (VIC), 76
3. Aaron GOBERT (NSW), 71
4. Mitchell CARR (NSW), 67
5. Kevin CURTAIN (VIC), 60
6. Rick OLSON (VIC), 51
7. Andy LAWSON (QLD), 46
8. Glenn SCOTT (NSW), 44
9. Chris QUINN (NSW), 44
10. Ryan TAYLOR (VIC), 40
- Rnd 1 Summary
- Rnd 2 Summary