Jamie Stauffer tops Sweltering Sydney Motorsports Park – Images by Deus
Team Honda Racing riders Jamie Stauffer, Wayne Maxwell and Tory Herfoss proved that the weather is no barrier to performance at the final round of the 2014 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship at Eastern Creek. The trio recorded the fastest lap times in Superbike class qualifying at Sydney Motorsport Park at Eastern Creek on Friday.
A full day of practice and qualifying took place in hot conditions in Sydney, as riders and officials prepared themselves for the Grand Finale of the series – beginning with racing in the YMF-Loan Australian Superbike Championship on Saturday.
Riders and officials will be scurrying back to their rooms tonight for some cool relief – with temperatures at the venue reaching 39-plus degrees and a track temperature north of the 60-degree mark.
Riders were keen to conserve energy, tyres and machinery for the weekend, with half the field putting in five laps or less over the course of the late afternoon qualifying session.
The top-five riders all posted their fastest times in the second lap of qualifying, with Stauffer coming close to the circuit lap record (1:31.578) by posting a 1:31.706 on lap two of his five laps.
Maxwell was not far off the mark, also completing five laps – with his fastest time of 1:31.810 coming on lap two.
Herfoss, Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team) and Glenn Allerton (NextGen Motorsports) all put in three laps each in the session, and finished qualifying in third, fourth and fifth places respectively.
Stauffer – “It sure was a hot day today. It was trying conditions for sure. Today we had a new tyre to try and we probably need to set up the bike a bit better more to suit those tyres, as they are not lasting that long at the moment, so we will try and get a bit more consistency out of them.”
Maxwell – “It was a trying day with this weather and this new tyre” explained Maxwell. “Whether it’s the tyre or the settings, it is a bit of an experimental weekend. In saying that, it’s great to have three Honda’s on the front row and hopefully we can all battle for the podium.”
Herfoss – “The second flyer was good enough to pop me into third on the grid. The first lap I thought, gee we have a lot of grip! Then the second lap I came through turn one and it was like riding a dirt bike, it was just sideways! It was good fun!” Herfoss also joked by saying, “as long as no one else has no grip, I’m happy with that because it’s good fun with no grip.”
The 18-minute qualifying session for Supersport was also an exercise in conservation with riders again opting to put in minimal laps due to the conditions.
Only nine-points separate Aaron Morris (Maxima Yamaha) and Aiden Wagner (Wagner Soil Testing) in this category with a brand new R1 the prize for whoever comes out on top at the end of the weekend.
It was series challenger Wagner who posted the fastest time of the session with a 1:34.258 ahead of Morris, who clocked his fastest time of 1:34.603 on his third lap of three completed.
Callum Spriggs (Allsite Concrete Cutting) posted the third fastest time in the session.
Pro Twins / Nakedbikes
In the opening qualifying session of the day it was comeback king Kevin Curtain (Trinder Aprilia Racing) who had tongues wagging finishing the Pro-Twins class in second position.
He posted a fastest lap time of 1:35.952 on the second of his three qualifying laps, to finish just behind Ducati pilot Craig McMartin (Racers Edge Performance) who clocked a best lap time of 1:33.781.
McMartin posted five laps in the 18-minute qualifying session, and registered the fastest time on his opening lap.
In the Nakedbike class, KTM Racing rider Angus Reekie posted the fastest qualifying time with a 1:36.886 to finish ahead of Luke Follacchio (Lukey Luke Stuntrider) and Rennie Scaysbrook (LTR).
After a horrendous fifth round of the championship at Wakefield park a month ago, Reekie will be out seeking redemption and will do whatever it takes to come home with the round and series win.
Ninja FX 300 / Ninja FX 250 / eFXC
The combined qualifying for the Ninja classes and Electric Bikes threw up some surprising times, as Danny Pottage (O’Hanlon Electric Motorsports) clocked the fastest lap time of the session with a 1:47.423.
Jason Morris (Varley Electric Vehicles) recorded the third fastest time for the session abord his electric bike with a 1:50.657, while Daniel Ripperton (Ripperton Racing) rounded out the top-three in the eFXC class.
In the Ninja 300 category, it was Brandon Demmery (Noise Guard Racing) who will start from up front posting a 1:49.945 lap time on his fifth lap.
Demmery made his intentions clear for the weekend by completing nine laps in the session – the most of any rider out on the track.
Kyle Buckley (Bcperformance Motogo) and Bailie Perriton rounded out the top three for the class, posting times of 1:50.945 and 1:50.999 respectively.
The top-three times posted in the Ninja 250 category were by Grant Jordan, Stuart Smith and Stuart Green.
Mathew Harding was the quickest out in the Formula Oz qualifying session clocking the fastest time of 1:33.548 on the second of his four completed laps.
Harding currently sits second in the championship – 12 points adrift of Ben Nicolson (NextGen Motorsports) but will have the ideal start on Saturday at the front of the grid.
Nicolson nabbed the second fastest time of the session with a lap time of 1:33.654 – just two hundredths of a second faster than Chris Trounson (Gas Honda Racing).