-- Superbike showdown looms in Western
Riders and teams are gearing up for a strong showing in the West as the Viking Group Australian Superbike Championships head to Perth’s Barbagallo Raceway for the first time in six years.
The ASBK is on track with the V8 Supercars for the first of three 2+4 meetings this season – the Trading Post Perth Challenge.
Now on a factory Team Honda Superbike, Jamie Stauffer was the last rider to be crowned round victor here in 2006 after two consistent races on his championship-winning Yamaha Racing Team R1.
It’s been a long time between drinks for the experienced rider, who has not won a point-scoring race since July of 2008.
Promising pace in previous rounds has not yielded results for Stauffer who is eager to break the drought in Perth after a spate of mechanical problems.
"We've regrouped after Darwin and are going to Perth with high hopes," said Stauffer. "I've got every confidence that the bikes will be competitive this weekend and I'm really looking forward to scoring some good points.
"Apart from the local guys I'm probably the one who has ridden here most recently at last year's Kings of Wanneroo. It's a good little track with some undulating sections and is generally pretty tight.
"We can only improve from here and will be pushing hard to give Team Honda a win."
Glenn Allerton, now the pilot of the championship-leading Procon Maxima BMW, was the next best-placed current rider in 2006, finishing sixth.
Allerton rates the 2.42km circuit as a favourite and is looking forward to showing the strengths of the S 1000 RR in front of a crowd of two and four-wheel fans.
“I love the atmosphere that the events with the V8 Supercars create,” said Allerton. “It is an eye-opener for a lot of motorsport fans that might not have seen us race and can only be good for the championship.
“As a track I love Barbagallo. The national championship hasn’t been here for a few years but I raced the Kings of Wanneroo race here in 2008 and ended up winning against guys like John and Michael Laverty and Cam Donald which I rate as a career highlight.
“For me this weekend is all about bagging more points for the Procon Maxima BMW team. The program is shorter than normal but I’m pretty confident that the team will have me up to speed quickly.”
Allerton extended his championship lead after round 3 at Hidden Valley, finishing second by a single point.
The same margin separates Team Suzuki’s Troy Herfoss from iStyle The Natural Aprilia Racing Team’s Ben Attard, sitting second and third respectively on the standings.
Both riders are contesting their first full season of Superbike racing, though their years of combined international experience have them well-placed.
Herfoss heads to another track sight unseen and knows he will need to come to grips with the tight, twisty track quickly.
“I’m feeling positive about this round,” said Herfoss. “I went to Darwin not knowing what to expect and got up to speed quickly so I’m feeling a bit better about heading to Barbagallo without ever having seen the track.
“My focus is getting off to a good start and staying with the leaders. If I can get a few good laps in at the start then I’m pretty certain I can be up there.
“It’s time to stop the Glenn Allerton show at the front and I’m confident that the Suzuki has what it takes. Josh (Waters) showed us just how good it is last round and it’s my turn to pick up the reins and run with it.”
A big mover on the points table after back-to-back wins in Darwin, Josh Waters will be noticeably absent from the Superbike grid this weekend as he continues to pursue his World Superbike ambitions.
Waters heads to the US to complete a series of test sessions with the factory Suzuki Superbike outfit before preparing for his second WSBK race with Yoshimura Suzuki at the Miller round in late May.
Team Suzuki have drafted long-time GSX-R rider Scott Charlton to fill the vacant factory ride, an opportunity that the state-based rider is eager to make the most of.
“It was disappointing to miss out on a ride this year after a strong fourth place finish in 2010, so when Phil Tainton approached me with the opportunity I grabbed it with both hands,” said Charlton.
“I love the circuit and can’t wait to get back there. I’ll probably be a bit rusty early on as I haven’t ridden since late last year but it’s obviously an awesome bike and I’ve got no doubt the team will have me feeling comfortable on it.”
Another familiar face returns to the fold in Perth, with Daniel Stauffer and his DGS Ducati team confirming they will contest the rest of the ASBK season.
The Honda Prostock class will grid up alongside the Superbike field for both of the weekend’s races.
A variety of competitors will take part, with regular class runners and riders and selected from the Supersport ranks also entered.
A total of 27 riders will take to the grid for the weekend’s pair of 15-minute races.
This weekend’s races will be televised on Channel 7 from 2.00pm on Saturday and 1.00pm on Sunday (Check local guides for variations).
Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship Standings
1. Glenn ALLERTON (VIC) 138
2. Troy HERFOSS (VIC) 101
3. Ben ATTARD (QLD) 100
4. Craig COXHELL (VIC) 90
5. Joshua WATERS (VIC) 88
6. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW) 84
7. Cole ODENDAAL (NSW) 75
8. Wayne MAXWELL (VIC) 60
9. Ben HENRY (QLD) 58
10. Robert BUGDEN (QLD) 57
- Rnd 1 Summary
- Rnd 2 Summary
- Rnd 3 Summary
RND 1 - ALLERTON TAKES FIRST BLOOD
RND 2 -
ALLERTON EXTENDS SERIES LEAD
RND 3 - WATERS WINS IN DARWIN