-- Olson Takes Maiden FX Round Win
Yamaha Racing Team’s young FX Superbike Pilot Rick Olson has claimed his first round win in the premier 1000cc division during the opening round of the 2012 Formula Xtreme Superbike series, at Sydney’s Eastern Creek Raceway.
The young New South Welshman completing his rise through the ranks of road racing in Australia, looking like he truly belonged on track with the likes of multi Australian Champion and Yamaha Team mate Kevin Curtain, and reigning Australian Superbike champion Glenn Allerton on his BMW S1000RR in the FX Superbike class.
These three riders were the fastest of the field, and engaged in some astounding racing, with several passes per lap for many laps in a row – while lap records tumbled! One or two touches between them, and a crash for Allerton in the 2nd of 3 heats showed how hard they were all pushing.
In the first race Curtain jumped off the front row on his R1 and into an early lead, however the determined Allerton used the superior straight line speed of his BMW to pass him. Curtain re-passed around the twisty rear part of the circuit, and again had to relinquish the lead down the straight. This pattern continued right to the chequered flag, with Allerton claiming the win by less than 2 tenths of a second.
Behind them Rick Olson and Matthew Walters on his Kawasaki ZX10R were engaged in a huge scrap for the final podium position. Olson won that fight by a similarly small margin, 0.22 seconds. Then a few seconds gap back to Nick Waters on his Honda CBR1000RR in 5th. This race proved to be the stage for the final FX Superbike lap record of the weekend to be set, a 1:32.4 second lap by Glenn Allerton on lap two.
In the second encounter, Curtain again pulled the holeshot, while Allerton struggled to get the BMW off the line. This only slightly delayed his appearance at the head of the pack, the old turn 9 hairpin where he passed Curtain and took the lead on the second lap. However on the fifth lap he overcooked the final corner onto the straight and crashed the German machine. He was able to remount and finish, but 23rd position and no points were not what he had in mind.
This left the duelling Yamaha teammates to decide victory amongst themselves. Olson took the lead early on the last lap and rode like a man possessed, drifting the R1 on the exit of the fast Corporate Hill corner, and held off Curtain to win. Behind them was Matthew Walters, Nick Waters and Kawasaki mounted Dustin Goldsmith, who had to overcome a tyre warmer issue to grab 5th.
The third and final race was a great spectacle, with Glenn Allerton coming from the rear of the grid, and with some “red mist” pumping him up for a big result. That result was a race win. He passed 22 riders in less than 3 laps, then held off the Team Yamaha challenge to cross the line 0.155 seconds in front after the 7 lap journey.
Olson was second, and that was enough to secure the round victory, Curtain only a tenth further back secured 2nd for the meeting. Walters was again the “best of the rest”, and Waters again grabbed fifth, the only rider who could keep the leading quartet within sight.
Allerton admitted post race his mistake in the previous encounter had fired him up for a big result in the last heat, and the ability of the bike to look after the one set of Dunlop control tyres over the days racing combined to make him unstoppable. He also hinted that this “one off” appearance in the FX Superbike series will need to be reassessed after this initial success.
Rick Olson was slightly disappointed not to have been first to the flag, but admitted the race was “great fun”, and was over the moon about the overall victory, and one-two finish for Team Yamaha.
The veteran Curtain said “I’ve never seen young Rick ride so hard, he is really stepping up”. He was happy with his overall result, but would have liked a little more grip at the end of the day to challenge more successfully for victory.
Overall the FX Superbike class produced racing of the highest standard, with some quality riders and quality bikes struggling to even break into the top 10, and lap times across the board quicker than have been seen in a number of years at Eastern Creek.
The much anticipated return of Anthony “Ant” West to Australian racing on board the Aluma-lite BMW S1000RR was unfortunately not the spectacle it promised to be. The weekend started with some promising laptimes, however after troubles during the FX Nationals meeting held Saturday, Ant and the team elected not to compete in Sunday’s racing. This left the team to focus on their Ducati entered in the Pro Thunder class, and leaves West to focus on his upcoming assault on the British Superbike Championship.
The fast, close racing and depth of talent on display does bode well for another great year of FX Superbike racing in 2012.
In the FX600 class the action was just as fierce, and it was Team Yamaha again at the front of the field. Curtain was doing double-duty, backing up all his FX Superbike success with an outright win on the smaller R6.
His closest competitors in this case were younger teammate Mike Jones, riding here for the first time with the factory team, and Sean Condon on his similar Yamaha R6. This trio featured at the front of all three heats, and entertained with incredibly close but clean racing.
The first race was typical of how the day would unfold; Curtain, Jones, Condon got away at the front, all running under or near lap record pace. Jones and Curtain took turns at drafting one another down the long front straight, and making the pass into the fast turn 1, with Condon able to sit behind, but not able to complete a pass.
At the flag the tall Jones took the win and the new lap record, 1:33.8. Curtain was second, just 0.05 seconds behind, Condon less than a second behind in 3rd. Adrian Di Giandomenico brought his Yamaha home in 4th, and Michael Lockart (Kawasaki ZX6R) was 5th.
During the second encounter the racing was similar, the top 3 pulling a gap on the field, and the two Yamaha Race Team R6’s swapping places at regular intervals. Condon showed his ability by setting the fastest lap of the race, only 2 tenths off the new lap record, but was again unable move up from 3rd. This time though Curtain beat Jones to the flag, by a whole six tenths of a second – this was one of the biggest gaps of the race! Again Di Giandomenico was 4th, getting ever closer to challenging for a podium, and Reece Bancell Scholarship winner Lockart was 5th.
The final encounter started under grey skies, and mid race some light rain did fall. This closed the top 4 right up for a few minutes, however the shower passed as quickly as it arrived, and the regular race pattern for the day resumed.
Aside from the slight weather induced interruption, the leading pair had most of the race to themselves, with a gap forming back to Condon, who had to fight hard for his podium spot. Di Giandomenico pulled off a text book pass and held third for a lap, but eventually had to settle for another 4th place. And Michael Lockart secured another 5th position.
With two wins from three starts, Curtain took the honours for the day, from Mike Jones – who has shown he will be a real force to be reckoned with this season – then Condon, Di Giandomenico and Lockart.
Curtain admitted having to draw on all of his Australian and international experience and push very hard to win, saying “The boys have worked really hard, the bike is great, but I might have met my match this year with Mike riding so well”. Condon was “stoked” with his 3rd outright, adding he needs just a touch more rear grip to challenge the Team Yamaha boys.
In the fastest – and biggest - of the support classes, Formula OZ, it was
once again the Yamaha Race Team at the front of the 49 bike pack. For this
season they have recruited Cru Halliday to spearhead a campaign on a modified
R1, and he made the most of it!
In the first race Chas Hern did lead off the start line on his Suzuki GSXR1000, however Halliday quickly grabbed the lead, and was in front on lap 3 when a scary crash stopped the race.
Veteran Marco Bortolussi made contact with another rider approaching turn 1, fell off his R1, and tumbled violently to a stop. Meanwhile his bike made it all the way to the tyre wall before hitting it, flipping into the air and landing over the wall. At last check Bortolussi had broken a few bones and had been badly shaken, but was otherwise OK.
When the race was restarted Halliday battled Dan Stauffer on the Trinder Brothers Aprilia RSV4, eventually winning by less than a tenth of a second. Then the two parts of the race are combined to determine the finishing positions; Halliday, Stauffer, Hern, Mitchell Carr on the AARK Racing Triumph Daytona 675 Supersport bike, and Phil Lovett on his Kawasaki ZX10R.
In leg two Halliday got to the front on lap one and was never headed, winning the 5 lap battle by over 5 seconds, and setting a new lap record of 1:31.769. Behind him Dan Stauffer rode to another second spot – just beating Carr on the smaller Supersport machine – who was slower down the straight but actually lapping the circuit quicker on occasion. Hern was 4th and Lovett 5th.
Then in the final encounter Halliday pushed even harder and lowered the lap record to a 1:31.564. Stauffer was also pushing hard, and produced a very respectable 1:32.229 second lap, but still finished over 5 seconds behind. The same riders rounded out the top 5, Carr, Hern and Lovett. This is the same order in which the top 5 finished on points for the day.
In the combined Pro Thunder/Nakedbike class it was veteran John Allen on the Aluma-lite Ducati 1198 who was fastest all weekend. In the first race he just held on to beat a slow starting defending champion Angus Reekie on the KTM Race Team RC8R, who stormed through the field, then came within a tenth of a second of setting a new lap record. Next came Phil Lovett and Simon Galloway – both riding KTM RC8R’s, and Mario Gonzalez on his Aprilia RSV4. Adrian Pierpoint (Aprilia Tuono) was first Nakedbike home, ahead of Fergus Gibson on a Triumph Street Triple and Robert Eacott on a KTM 990 Superduke.
In race two Reekie had dramas and could only manage a 9th place finish, this left Allen out in front, to win by an incredible 12 seconds after 5 laps! Lovett was second, then Nathan Mahboub on his Aprilia RSV4, then Galloway and Gonzalez.
Race 3 and Allen was the only man to dip into the 1:33 second bracket, he won again, this time by 4.4 seconds. Second was Lovett, then Mahboub, Reekie and Pierpoint getting amongst the outright positions on his unfaired machine. Allen won the day, Lovett was second, Mahboub rounded out the podium positions. Pierpoint, Gibson and Eacott all rode consistently to finish on the Nakedbike podium.
The fifth class racing was Formula Xtreme Ultra Lites, where 125GP/Moto3, 400cc 4 cyl/650cc 2 cyl production bikes and sueprmotards competed together. This lead to fascinating racing, as riders used the strong points of their particular machine to their advantage.
On this occasion is was the 125cc two stroke machines which lead the charge, Aprilia RSW Racing’s Nicky Diles winning the first two races, and finishing second in a rain interrupted third race. Behind him was long time GP campaigner Peter Galvin, on his Honda RS125, finishing with two second and one third places. Lincoln Gilding on his Moto3 spec Honda NSF250 was just behind the leading pair in the opening two races, but zero points in the last left him out of outright contention. Zac Levy was there to pick up the pieces and finish third of the GP bikes on his Moriwaki MD250H.
Grant Hay (Yamaha YZ450F) was the quickest of the Supermoto bikes, winning his class in all 3 encounters. Second was young dirt track champ Brody Nowlan on his Honda CRF450, and third was Frank Ryan on another Yamaha.
Honda’s filled the top 3 spots in the production ranks, with Dave Abbott first in class in all 3 legs on his CBR400. Second was long time 400cc competitor Harley Borkowski on his RVF400, and third was Phillip Burke on another CBR400.
The FX Superbike series next heads to Goulburn’s tight and twisty Wakefield Park Raceway in one month’s time, April 20-22. This being the first round for 2012 the round points and positions are the current championship standings.
Australian FX Superbike Championships
FX 600 – Overall
- Yamaha Report
The Yamaha Racing with Ipone team featuring Kevin Curtain and Rick Olson started off their 2012 racing campaigns in impressive fashion each taking a class win each at the opening round of the of Australian FX Superbike Championship at Eastern Creek over the weekend.
Strong fields and good numbers lined the starting grids for all classes, with Curtain contesting both the FX 600cc as well as the premier FX – Superbike classes, while Olson fronted up on his Yamaha R1 for the FX Superbike class also.
Curtain produced his typical polished performance taking a hard fought win in the FX600cc class with 1-2-1 results in the three races conducted. Curtain enjoyed a spirited battled with Yamaha stable-mate Mike Jones and the pair traded wins in the opening races and it came down to a thrilling final leg to separate them.
Curtain jumped to an early but slender lead over Jones. Jones watched Curtain, picked up some lines and managed to squeeze by just past the half way point. But Curtain wasn’t done with yet and on the final lap put another pass on Jones and then hung on for the win and the overall for the round.
The FX Superbike class was just as close with three riders going for it in the opening leg. Allerton, Curtain and Olson all traded paint but finished in that same order. Race two was shaping up the same before drama unfolded. Allerton fell in race two and was unable to finish which left Curtain with his hands full trying to fend off Olson. Olson moved into the lead with just over a lap to run and managed to hold on for the narrowest of wins.
It was all hands on deck in the final race as the top five competitors duked it out and in the finish 1.3 seconds separated first through to fifth. Rick Olson took a second in the final leg and his 3-1-2 results were good enough for the round victory. Kevin Curtain was second due to his 2-2-3 finishes and made it a Yamaha 1-2 atop of the podium for the second time at the round.
John Redding was a relieved team director at the completion of racing after watching his riders’ race within millimeters of one another at speeds well over 250kilometrs per hour.
“There was some great racing out there today and a lot of it involved our guys. It’s a great sight to see both team riders at the front of the pack and battling for the lead but also quite stressful as if something goes wrong, then both of them could come down.”
“Fortunately, that wasn’t the case today and both Rick and Kevin raced hard and fair. Both deserved their success today as did the entire YRT crew for the long hours spent during the off season preparing bikes.”
“It was a great start to the 2012 season for us,” he finishes.
The Yamaha Racing with Yamalube racing team had a near perfect race debut at round one of the Australian FX Superbike Championship as the series got under way at Eastern Creek Raceway over the weekend.
Newly signed riders, Cru Halliday and Mike Jones, got the team off to a great start with Halliday dominating proceedings in the Formula OZ class on board his Yamaha R1, while Jones went tyre to tyre with Kevin Curtain in the 600cc category taking second place after three race long duals all the way to the checkered flag.
It was a methodical and relentless showing from Cru Halliday in the Formula OZ class taking three race wins from three starts in another strong performance. Halliday had things under control from the get go of each race and simply out rode his rivals on route to another victory on the factory R1.
Mike Jones had Kevin Curtain to contend with in the 600cc class and the wily veteran is never easy to beat. Jones managed to snare the opening leg win, just a few tenths clear of Curtain, but that result was reversed in race two and the pair were headed for a show down in the third and final leg. Curtain just got the better of Jones in an enthralling race and won the round ahead of Jones. The racing between the pair was spirited and it appears a formality the duo will lock bars for the remainder of the 2012 season.
“We formed this team with a view to assisting more riders and guiding them further in their racing careers,” says team director John Redding. “Both riders did a tremendous job today and from a managers point of view the team gelled well and had good chemistry which is a vital ingredient in racing.”
“It was a credit to all involved with YRT for our success this weekend and we hope this kick starts another strong season for the teams and the riders.”
- Procon Maxima BMW Report
Allerton sizzles, smashing Eastern Creek Lap Record
Race wins, lap records and a gutsy run from last on the grid to victory lane capped off an exciting weekend of racing at Eastern Creek for Glenn Allerton and the Procon Maxima BMW team.
Allerton and his team used the weekend’s round 1 of the Formula Xtreme Championship as a test before April’s round 2 of the ASBK Championship in Darwin. Highlighting just how fast the BMW is, the RR was Dynoed twice and thoroughly examined by race officials, with various bits pulled down, measured and checked.
The Procon Maxima S 1000 RR is the only ASBK front runner that, in ASBK trim, is eligible to compete in the more production-oriented Formula Xtreme FX Championship. The rules of FX-Superbikes are different to those of ASBK and race officials needed to ensure the RR’s engine was indeed stock.
Overall, the team was happy with the weekend’s results, despite the outing being focussed on testing rather than garnering points.
Race 1 on Saturday saw Allerton qualify 7th in the wet. But a shocking start meant he slipped back through the pack to about 14th before charging back to the front, setting a lap record on his way to 3rd.
Unfortunately, the chase through the pack took its toll on the front tyre, so in Race 2 the team chose to change the tyre and wear the 30 second penalty, rather than risk a potential problem with the worn tyre. Allerton showed superior pace and crossed the line first, but the penalty pushed his actual result back down the list.
Saturday’s great racing pumped the crowd, teams and racers for more of the same on Sunday and they weren’t disappointed.
Allerton only completed 3 laps of qualifying in order to save the front tyre, yet still managed to qualify in second position. Race 1 was frantic, with Allerton’s Procon Maxima BMW and Yamaha riders, Kev Curtain and Rick Olson swapping places every lap. Allerton was determined to cross the line first and took a well deserved victory.
Race 2 was shaping up to be very similar, but a mistake by Allerton on lap 5,while leading, saw him tuck the front on the last turn and slide into the grass, finishing in 23rd place.
With red mist pooling inside his KBC helmet, Allerton lined up for Race 3 in 23rd position, but incredibly, he was dicing with the leaders by the second lap. Allerton pushed himself, his RR and his front tyre to the edge and took a satisfying victory in front of his home crowd to top off a great weekend for the whole team.
Procon Maxima Team Principal, Wayne Hepburn was pleased with the weekend.
“It could have been perfect, but Glen made a small error in Race 2. That’s racing. The final race was amazing. It was stunning to watch Glenn and the BMW S 1000 RR at full throttle. It shows that we are on the right path in developing the 2012 race bike,” said Wayne.
Along with Glenn, BMW S 1000 RR riders Brayden Carr and Matt Thornton also had good weekends. Carr, riding the Carr Bros. Motorsport/City Coast Motorcycles RR, finished sixth in all three races and 6th overall for the Round. Matt Thornton, on the Auto Passion RR, took out the B Grade prize for Round 1.
General Manager BMW Motorrad Australia and New Zealand, Tony Sesto, was excited by the results, saying, “it was a pity Glenn had the incident in Race 2, but the sizzling performance in the final race augurs well for the next round of the ASBK in Darwin.”.
- Sportsbike DucatiOnly Report
The Championship reverted back Pro-Twins Name for 2012 and boasted a field of 28 riders using 2 sets of 'Dunlop Control' tyres for Qualifying and Racing for Saturdays National Championship and Sunday's Australian Championship races. The unusually short 5 lap races further penalised Martin for poor starts and after Round 1, Martin sits 14th overall and 7th in Formula 1 in the National Pro-Twins Championship and without points in the Australian Pro-Twins Championship where points are allocated down to 20th position.
RIDER COMMENTS: PETER MARTIN – Australian Pro-Twins Championship #6
“Saturday's Qualifying was shortened (without notice to riders) and I did not get in a Qualifying lap, I started race 1 from near the back of the Grid. By the Flag there were still seven riders ahead whom were doing slower Lap times, I agree that I need to get better starts and 5 Laps (19.7Km) does not allow even some of the best riders to recover from a bad start or back row start. I am not the only one who agrees that 2 longer, 35Km races (9 laps) would be better for riders and more fair for both fast and slow starters. It would make for better, more enjoyable racing as riders can get into rhythm.
“I have established that is not possible to contest the BEARS Championship this Year. For a long time Whites Racing Products have helped me with Bridgestone Tyres and with BEARS changing to Pirelli Control Tyres the increase in cost for me is substantial, that added cost together with the first two rounds being back to back weekends and the proximity to round one of Pro-Twins make it impossible for me to defend my 3rd from last Years Championship, even if I do not race in further Pro-Twins rounds, as it stands, it is beyond my Budget. I will assess the options over the next few weeks.
“My thanks to Terry, Gloria, the Officials, Scrutineers and Flaggies for their effort and a good race meeting. Thanks also to Judy for help on Sunday and to Aluma-Lite, Nathan & Richard for help with Tyres over the weekend.”
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