Swann Superbike Series War run and won – The victor is ???

First let’s revisit how we got to here in the first place…

By Trevor Hedge

After seven rounds across four states it came down to a single balmy Saturday evening at Sydney Motorsports Park to decide ultimate outright honours in the 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Championships.

The twilight Friday-Saturday schedule added an extra degree of intrigue to the series finale, while the late race times meant there was also some uncertain ground to tread in regards to track temperatures, and thus tyre management, across the three 12-lap races around the traditional 3.93km Eastern Creek circuit.

Cru Halliday had taken pole position with a stunning 1m30.44 on the new YZF-R1 on Friday afternoon ahead of teammate Wayne Maxwell and the Team Honda duo of Troy Herfoss and Jamie Stauffer.

When the lights went out to signal the start of Friday evening’s AFX-SBK race it was the Team Honda duo that scored perfect holeshots and led the two Yamaha men through turn one for the first time. Maxwell lost more ground throughout the opening lap and by lap two was battling over seventh place with Matt Walters, before the defending champion then went down at turn nine. It was a soft fall, Maxwell managing to rejoin the race and salvage an eighth place finish, earning him eighth place on the grid for today’s three 12-lap bouts.

For Team Honda things could have not gone more perfectly. Troy Herfoss went on to completely dominate that Friday twilight race, claiming the win ahead of Honda teammate Jamie Stauffer and a fast finishing Mike Jones, who piloted his Cube Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R onto the podium after claiming the scalps of Yamaha’s Cru Halliday and Glenn Allerton on the final laps.

Team Honda personnel were jubilant, although, they were also a little restrained. The first battle had been won, but the final three battles in what been a very long season 2015 war were still to be played out.

Over at YRT there were deeply furrowed brows and glum faces. The start to the series finale could have hardly been worse for Wayne Maxwell, who, perhaps, was the favourite to take out the title here this weekend. Especially now the YRT squad seemed to have got the set-up on Yamaha’s new high-tech Superbike to a level that allowed them to manage rear tyre life over a full race distance. Tyre life was the achilles heel of the then fresh out of the box YZF-R1 when the series visited here back in late March for the season opener.

Crucially, that win earned Herfoss pole position for all three of today’s races and starting alongside him would be Jamie Stauffer while Mike Jones and Cru Halliday rounded out the front row.

AFX-SBK 2015 – Round Seven – Sydney Motorsports Park – Friday AFX-SBK Race Results
Friday Race Results also served as the grid for Saturday’s three 12-lap Superbike races
  1. Troy Herfoss
  2. Jamie Stauffer
  3. Mike Jones
  4. Cru Halliday
  5. Glenn Allerton
  6. Matt Walters
  7. Ben Burke
  8. Wayne Maxwell
  9. William Davidson
  10. Evan Byles

That Friday night race win also secured Herfoss the 2015 AFX-SBK Championship win ahead of Wayne Maxwell and Glenn Allerton.

The Friday night race results, shown above, also served as the grid positions for Sunday. And Herfoss’ point for pole put him one point ahead of Wayne Maxwell in the premier Swann Australasian Superbike Championship Points Standings heading into today’s grand finale.

2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship Points Standings after six of seven rounds
  1. Troy Herfoss 317
  2. Wayne Maxwell 316
  3. Glenn Allerton 292
  4. Cru Halliday 236
  5. Mike Jones 228
  6. Jamie Stauffer 222
  7. Matt Walters 200
  8. Sean Condon 160
  9. Evan Byles 156
  10. Ben Burke 146
Saturday Race Day – Game on!

A bright sunny morning greeted the 130 competitors as they filed through the gates at Sydney Motorsports Park this morning for the final deciding battles that would decide not only the premier Superbike class champions, but also the supporting Supersport, FX600, Pro-Twin, Nakedbike, Formula Oz, FX 300, FX C&D and the electric bike eFXC support category winners for 2015.

Superbike Race One

Friday’s fastest qualifier Cru Halliday scorched off the line in the opening 12-lap Superbike encounter up the inside of both the Honda men to take the race lead at turn one.

Jamie Stauffer quickly exerted his influence though by slipping past Halliday to take the race lead while Mike Jones had slipped up to third and was tussling with series leader Troy Herfoss, as Wayne Maxwell watched on from behind.

Maxwell took fourth place from Herfoss across the line to start lap three to move up into fourth place. The two series prime combatants swapping positions on track, and in the tentative championship standings.

Up front it was still Stauffer leading Halliday, that pair had a small buffer over third placed Mike Jones, who was keeping Maxwell and Herfoss at bay. Only 9-tenths of a second covered that top five after three laps.  Matt Walters was a further second behind in sixth place ahead of Glenn Allerton.

Things continued to tighten at the front of the field, very little separated the top five as they approached half race distance.

Mike Jones slipped past Halliday for second place and started to attack Jamie Stauffer for the race lead.  Herfoss then took Maxwell, then also took Halliday for third place shortly thereafter to move up to third position.

Mike Jones then took the race lead from Jamie Stauffer as the race entered its second half. Herfoss had closed right up on his teammate also and nothing separated the leading trio, as they appeared to start breaking away from Halliday and Maxwell.

A lap later Stauffer took the lead back from Jones into turn two, Herfoss, the man with the championship on the line could not afford to make any brash moves but was looking for a way past Jones to join his teammate at the front of the field.

The tussles up front allowed Halliday to sneak a little closer to the back of Herfoss, and Maxwell was certainly not out of the picture. 1.3-second covered the top five with four laps to run.

With three laps to run the leading trio appeared to have broken away from Wayne Maxwell, who had got the better of Halliday for fourth position. Halliday opened the door for his teammate to help him try and close the gap to the leading trio, as you would expect, and allow Maxwell the extra couple of points for that position.

Herfoss then made a mistake with two laps to run and lost touch with the leading duo. This had given Maxwell the sniff and the defending champion tried valiantly to try and chase down the Honda.

At the front of the field Stauffer and Jones were having a titanic battle for the race lead. A t the last lap board it was Stauffer and Jones side by side. Stauffer and Jones touched out of turn two, Stauffer the inside line, this slowed proceedings a little and Herfoss was right there. Herfoss tried on the change of direction at turn five but did not take that risk. Nothing separated the leading trio around the back of the circuit for the final time.

Stauffer held sway through turn nine, Jones on his tail, Herfoss right there also. The order remained the same on to the main straight, Jamie Stauffer the race winner ahead of Jones, Herfoss third and Maxwell a further 1.8-seconds behind in fourth place.

That race one result extended Herfoss’ series lead by a further two-points, 337 points to the Honda man played Maxwell’s 334. With 50-points still to play for the tension remained as high as ever.

Superbike Race One Results
  1. Jamie Stauffer
  2. Mike Jones 0.126
  3. Troy Herfoss 0.496
  4. Wayne Maxwell 2.341
  5. Cru Halliday 3.156
  6. Glenn Allerton 5.558
  7. Matt Walters 7.715
  8. William Davidson 50.172
  9. Evan Byles 47.778
  10. Ben Burke DNF
Superbike Race Two

Heading into the penultimate race the scales were still ever so slightly tipped in Herfoss’ favour, the buffer a slender three-points.

Troy Herfoss swept across in front of the field to take the lead into turn one as the second bout got underway as Jamie Stauffer and a fast starting Glenn Allerton and Matt Walters started tussling over third place as Mike Jones, Ben Burke, Wayne Maxwell and Cru Halliday gave chase.

The race start had gone Honda’s way, Herfoss up front and Stauffer playing rearguard for the opening lap but Stauffer was swamped by Allerton, Walters and Jones as they started lap two. Stauffer held off the two Kawasaki men but Allerton was through and out to chase down Herfoss.

The top speed of the new YZF-R1 was telling at the end of the chute to start lap three as Allerton was all over Herfoss in turn one. Walters took third place from Stauffer and immediately started clawing at the back of Allerton’s YZF-R1. Walters got Allerton at turn five, Allerton got him back at turn six, that little tussle benefitting Herfoss who eked out a couple of bike lengths while that pair tussled.

Walters got Allerton at turn one the next time around, Mike Jones the did Allerton a couple of turns later to push the Yamaha man back to fourth place, but with a couple of bike lengths over race one victor Jamie Stauffer who was holding down fifth place, four-tenths ahead of the now sixth placed Wayne Maxwell.

Mike Jones then took Walters at turn one with eight laps to go, next target race leader Troy Herfoss. Jones was all over the back of the Honda almost immediately, while Walters started to lose touch with that leading duo.

Jones took the race lead halfway down the main straight, setting a new fastest lap of the race in the process. Jones got untidy on the run to turn six which allowed Herfoss back through to the race lead and the Honda men kept the Kawasaki at bay for the remainder of the lap but the massive Kawasaki horsepower advantage was telling once they got down the chute, Jones back through to the race lead with a ridiculous looking ease.

Troy Herfoss then made a huge mistake heading towards turn one the next time around. Herfoss dropped into a false neutral as he entered turn one and was lucky to stay on the track, he lost a number of positions in the process, shuffled all the way back to fifth place. The series leader immediately got back to race pace and pushed his way back past Allerton for fourth place, then set his targets on defending champion Wayne Maxwell.  Herfoss had four laps to get ahead of Maxwell, and perhaps also steal that second place from Walters but his chance for the race victory was well and truly gone, unless Jones was to make some sort of unforced error in the closing laps.

Herfoss got Maxwell with three laps to run and was then all over the back of Walters around the back of the circuit. But next time at the end of the chute Herfoss once again lost out to a machine with superior horsepower, Maxwell easily blowing past Herfoss into turn one to reclaim third place. Both riders then got past Walters, Maxwell up to second and Herfoss up to third.

Herfoss followed Maxwell on to the main straight the next time around, the slipstream from the Yamaha allowing him to stay in front of Walters as they headed down towards turn one.  Herfoss all over the back of Maxwell around the back of the circuit while Allerton redoubled his efforts to slip past Walters to take fourth place. A couple of corners later Herfoss took second place from Maxwell and then led the Yamaha duo for the rest of the lap but again Maxwell sucked the fairing off the Fireblade as he slipped back through to second place. Herfoss tried to get him at turn two but ran wide, Herfoss then did it again at turn three with an aggressive move on Maxwell. Herfoss retained that position through the back of the circuit, and managed to pull enough of a buffer over Maxwell to easily maintain station at the line to take second place. Extending his lead over Maxwell by a crucially important further two points, the margin five points with 12-laps remaining in the 2015 series.

Mike Jones the clear and dominant victor. The margin an impressive 2.76-seconds over Herfoss while Maxwell rounded out the podium 3.33-seconds behind the Kawasaki mounted race victor.

Superbike Race Two Results
  1. Mike Jones
  2. Troy Herfoss 2.76
  3. Wayne Maxwell 3.33
  4. Glenn Allerton 3.76
  5. Jamie Stauffer 4.20
  6. Matt Walters 5.51
  7. Ben Burke 5.59
  8. Cru Halliday 12.16
  9. William Davidson 56.80
  10. Evan Byles 64.69
Superbike Race Three

Troy Herfoss took a five point advantage over Wayne Maxwell into the final race of the 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Championship. After 18 races, over seven rounds staged in four states, it would all come down to a final 47-km race distance around Sydney Motorsports Park. The tension was palpable.

Some riders had already used their one new tyre, others had saved their new tyre for this final bout… We believe… Cru Halliday and Glenn Allerton were two of the fast men still with a new rear hoop for this last stanza, while Wayne Maxwell headed out on his barely used qualifying tyre. Mike Jones had used his new tyres and while the Kawasaki man had shown scintillating pace earlier today, traditionally, the Kawasaki riders have struggled for speed on used rubber. Over at Team Honda Troy Herfoss was heading out on well used rubber, while Jamie Stauffer still had his qualifying tyre to use in this one. That situation is how we understood it, I wouldn’t bet my house on it, but that’s pretty close to how the tyre affair was set to play out in this final bout.

Thus, theoretically at least, it would seem that the Yamaha men would have a distinct advantage. If they could finish 1-2-3, and presumably, and logically, Halliday and Allerton allowed Maxwell through to take line honours, and Herfoss would finish fourth, it would then put the two men on equal points. Thus the champion would be decided by a count-back on race wins. And heading into this final round, both men had four race wins under their belt. That was the mathematics of the situation heading into the final 47-kilometres of this 18-race season. A more thrilling finale one would be hard to imagine, and all aired live on Foxtel and played out under a balmy Sydney summer evening.

When the lights went out to signal the start of this final battle it was the two Honda men that led the field through turn one with Stauffer heading Herfoss through the first turns as Glenn Allerton, Cru Halliday and Matt Walters gave chase. Walters was then eclipsed by Jones and pushed back to fifth place ahead of Ben Burke while championship contender Wayne Maxwell was way down in seventh place.

Down the chute for the first flying time Allerton got the better of Herfoss for second place and then took Stauffer for the race lead. Halliday then pushed Herfoss back to fourth place. Then at turn five Stauffer got Allerton, but Allerton then took the lead back into turn six as this leading quartet started to break away from fifth placed Mike Jones.

At the end of the main straight next time it became a Yamaha 1-2 as Halliday blew past Stauffer to take second place, Allerton still the race leader and Herfoss looked to be starting to lose touch with that leading trio.  The fastest man on the track though on that lap was none other than Wayne Maxwell… The defending champion was now all over the back of Mike Jones, and that pair had closed right up onto the tail of Herfoss.

Stauffer got the better of Halliday on the next lap to move back up to second place behind Allerton. A little over a second further behind Herfoss was now starting to see the looming shadow of Mike Jones’ ZX-10R out of the corner of his eye, and coming with that Kawasaki was his prime championship foe, Wayne Maxwell.

With eight laps to run both Jones and Maxwell sneaked past Troy Herfoss, pushing the Honda man back to sixth position. Herfoss could play it safe from here and know that if he finishes within a couple of positions of Maxwell, the championship would be his. Was that what was running through his mind at this point…? We will never know.

Maxwell took Halliday with no shortage of aggression into turn two, nearly taking both of them out in the process, but claiming that fourth place as Mike Jones closed in on Allerton and Stauffer, who had taken the race lead back from the Yamaha man as the race broached the halfway mark.

Jones took Allerton into turn one on the next lap, the Kawasaki even faster than the YZF-R1 down the chute, Jones’ slender frame perhaps also telling in that top speed war against the Yamaha.  Stauffer maintained the race lead throughout that lap but Jones slipped through to the lead into turn one, Stauffer tried to get him back at turn two but was not quite close enough. Wayne Maxwell was in third place, and with Herfoss in sixth place the points were effectively tied if they were to finish in that order….

Jamie Stauffer again took the lead from Mike Jones with four laps to run and led Jones, Maxwell, Halliday and Allerton on to the chute which marked it as three laps to run. Stauffer went up the inside of Mike Jones at turn two in a brilliant move, to again push the Kawasaki man back to second place. Herfoss had lost touch with that leading five but had upped his pace again by putting in his fastest lap of the race to start closing towards the rear of Allerton. For Herfoss to claim the title, he would have to get past Allerton before the chequered flag, and he had three laps to do it.

Mike Jones again took the lead down the chute, and again Stauffer took the Kawasaki man up the inside at turn two. Herfoss was now all over the back of Allerton in his quest to claim that fifth place and that all important extra point.  Herfoss took Allerton at turn six with 2.5 laps to run. Maxwell was in third place, but still within striking distance of second place, which would again upset the mathematical equation for the championship win.

Like a record on repeat, Mike Jones again blew past Stauffer at the end of the chute but this time around the Queenslander maintained that lead into turn two but Stauffer got him at turn three to again take the lead. That tussle allowed Maxwell to get right with that leading duo, and Halliday was also coming along for the ride!

As they got the last lap board Stauffer led Jones, Maxwell, Halliday, Herfoss and Allerton in sixth. Jones again took the lead at turn one, Stauffer went up the inside at turn two but ran wide, he got Jones at turn three though after somehow gathering it up. Jones got him at turn four, Stauffer got the lead back at turn five, Jones back into the lead at turn six. Maxwell tried to get Stauffer at turn six but had to pull out of the move. Jones sideways into turn nine, Maxwell’s challenge for second place looked done after having to pull out of that move.

Mike jones led Jamie Stauffer down the chute to claim the race win in a great display of riding to make a liar out of me in regards to his and the Kawasaki’s form on used rubber. Well done Mike.

Wayne Maxwell a fighting third place, Cru Halliday and Troy Herfoss took fifth, and with it the 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship by a single point. The single point he got for pole position yesterday decided the championship.

Troy Herfoss - 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Champion
Troy Herfoss – 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Champion

An amazing climax to the best domestic racing this country has seen this century. And Troy Herfoss a deserving champion.

Superbike Race Three Results
  1. Mike Jones
  2. Jamie Stauffer
  3. Wayne Maxwell
  4. Cru Halliday
  5. Troy Herfoss
  6. Glenn Allerton
Troy Herfoss with Team Honda mechanics Shaun Clarke and Glenn Granger
Troy Herfoss with Team Honda mechanics Shaun Clarke and Glenn Granger
2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Championship Final Points Standings
  1. Troy Herfoss 375
  2. Wayne Maxwell 374
  3. Glenn Allerton 340
  4. Mike Jones 300
  5. Jamie Stauffer 285
Troy Herfoss - 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Champion
Troy Herfoss – 2015 Swann Australasian Superbike Champion

With season 2015 run and won, it is time to start planning for season 2016. Check out the 2016 Swann Australasian Superbike Championship calendar.

2016 Australasian Superbike Championship Calendar
  • Rnd 1 … 11th – 12th March Sydney Motorsport Park (Fri-Sat day / night)
  • Rnd 2 … 22nd – 24th April Wakefield Park Raceway NSW
  • Rnd 3 … 27th – 29th May Mallala Raceway SA
  • Rnd 4 … 8th – 10th July Queensland Raceway Qld
  • Rnd 5 … 9th – 11th September Winton Raceway Vic
  • Rnd 6 …16th – 17th Dec Sydney Motorsport Park (Fri–Sat day / night)