Reformatted ASBK calendar, rules, fees, prize money; Essentially ASBK reinvented
By Trevor Hedge

To say the past few weeks in Australian Road Racing have been tumultuous would be an understatement.

All the major players in Australian racing pretty much now see ASBK as a sinking ship and many have jumped over to the rival Australasian Superbike Championship, promoted by Terry O’Neill. In the case of Team Suzuki, the confusion over the series saw them lose sponsors and pull the pin on any participation in Australian Road Racing this season.

In response there have been numerous meetings, calendars changed, tyre rules re-written and a seeming willingness by M.A. and IEG to do virtually anything to lure competitors back to ASBK.

A new three-round calendar has been introduced with the series opener schedule for April 5-6 at Queensland Raceway. The series will then head to Darwin alongside the V8 Supercar Series on June 20-22 before a Phillip Island final on the weekend of July 19-20.

Entry fees have been waived for all classes with competitors only asked to pay the ancillary service fees for MA, Medical/Raceafe, Timing levy which is $99, in addition to each circuits nominated garage fees.

We feel given the circumstances a concentrated three round championship is a better option,” Konsky explained.

IEG recognises that the last 12 months has been far from satisfactory and due to the ongoing economic pressures we feel that  this three round championship will make it more affordable for all participants.”

Motorcycling Australia President Stephen Foody said it was necessary to make changes based on unforeseen circumstances.

We did not endeavour to make changes so late in the championship, but feel that it is the only way to regain momentum and strength.

The more concentrated effort of fewer rounds is integral for the future of the sport and the longevity of participation. MA appreciate the initiatives of IEG for focusing on stimulating greater participation,” Foody continued.

IEG will transport privateer bikes to Darwin free of charge from QLD, NSW, VIC, WA and SA (*Tassie riders will required to get their bikes to VIC). IEG will provide each team that takes three or more riders a minimum $3000.  All other requests will need to put in writing.  The original $500 per rider if they choose to travel themselves will still apply. For rounds one and two riders travelling from WA and NZ will be given $500 travel allowance in addition to the above if they enter the entire championship.

As for television time at this stage only the Darwin round alongside V8 Supercars will gain TV live coverage but IEG have stated that rounds one and three will benefit from live streaming over the internet. IEG also hope to get those rounds on television at some point but at this stage but are making no guarantees.

IEG on tyres; “The entire championship will have an open tyre rule policy however, the number of sets per class will be restricted. Price per set will be capped and tyre companies who agree to homolgate with the championship will only be included.”

Have the changes brought some of the teams back into the ASBK fold?

Team Suzuki, Phil Tainton;We are still out I’m afraid Trev.

Team Honda, Paul Free; “What I have committed to Yarrive, is that if the Darwin event goes ahead, and it is live on television,  and there is a good field of competition, I will extend Team Honda to be there, but outside of that I am not going to participate in the other events.”

NextGen Motorsport BMW, Wayne Hepburn; “At this stage we will only be doing the ASC. If we could guarantee a good competitive field at the Darwin round we would consider doing it, but at this stage we are still only doing the ASC.”

Those comments from the previous major players in ASBK suggest that, at this stage at least, the field is going to be very thin indeed. In fact, as far as we have been able to ascertain, not one of the top ten finishers in the 2013 Australian Superbike Championship is likely to be on the grid for the opening round of the series on April 5-6 at Queensland Raceway. Ben Henry stated to MCNews.com.au that he might do the Darwin round, depending on sponsorship.

It should also be noted that Yamaha’s very strong presence in the Supersport ranks, the top eight riders in the 2013 Australian Supersport Championship were all on Yamaha YZF-R6, at this stage of the game these riders are also likely to be missing at ASBK rounds this season, thus the talent might be very thin on the ground in that category also.

There are some indications however that the changes IEG have made have some riders reconsidering their options and are now viewing ASBK in a more favourable light than they had with the previous calendar and control tyre rules. Time will tell if these changes have effectively stemmed the turning tide of teams towards the Terry O’Neill promoted Australasian Superbike Championship / AFX-SBK series. Perhaps it could be a matter of too little too late….?

IEG have indicated that entry forms and supplementary regulations will be released tomorrow.

AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSES PER EVENT: 

Round 1 – Queensland Raceway April 5-6

  • Superbike (Production Based Rules)
  • Supersport
  • Superlites
  • Production 250, 300, 400 and 500
  • EVO – Unlimited
  • Senior Competition – All bikes 600cc and above.
  • Junior National Cup
  • SuperMoto 
  • *Women’s Championship – This will be conducted over rounds 1 and 3
    Women who race in Superbike, Supersport and Production 250/300 will be competing for women’s championships in the following;
    Womens 600 Supersport Championship
    Womens Superbike Championship
    Women’s Production Championship.

 Round 2 Hidden Valley Raceway June 20-22 (alongside V8′s)

  • Superbike (Production Based Rules)
  • Supersport 

Round 3 Phillip Island International Raceway (July 19-20)

  • Superbike (Production Based Rules)
  • Supersport
  • Superlites
  • Production 250, 300, 400 and 500
  • EVO – Unlimited
  • Senior Competition  
  • Sidecars 
  • *Women’s Championship  

PRIZE MONEY PER ROUND (To be paid by Motorcycling Australia 7 days following each round). 

Superbikes – $2,850.00 

1st: $1,000.00

2nd: $700.00

3rd: $500.00

4th: $400.00

5th: $250.00

Supersport – $2,150.00 

1st: $750.00

2nd: $500.00

3rd: $400.00

4th: $300.00

5th: $200.00

Evo – $1,000.00

1st: $500.00

2nd: $300.00

3rd: $200.00

Superlites – $1,000.00

1st: $500.00

2nd: $300.00

3rd: $200.00

Production – $900

1st: $300.00 (Up to 500)

1st: $300.00 (300)

1st: $300.00 (250)

OVERALL

Superbike

1st: $5,000.00

Supersport

1st: $5,000.00

TOTAL = $30,800

ASBK_2014_Logo_960p

NB: In a press release footnote Motorcycling Australia recognised that changes need to be made; “MA wants to remind its license holders that it governs and permits more than 4,000 events and 18,000 licensed riders.  They support international rider grants, come and try days, Australian Institute of Sport opportunities and is committed to motorcycle racing , its foundation, past, present and future.  Its accepted that their needs to be improvements to communication and administration and fully supports the Australian Superbike Championship.”