WSBK Wildcards hit the track at Phillip Island
Australia’s wild card entries for the opening round of Superbike and Supersport World Championships at Phillip Island’s Swann round in just three weeks (Feb 20-22) , have hit the seaside circuit this week to continue their preparations.
Superbike rider, Melbourne’s Jed Metcher aboard the Kawasaki, was joined on the 4.445 km track by supersport pair Sam Lambert (Triumph) and Aiden Wagner (Yamaha).
The other supersport wildcard, Tim Boujos (Yamaha), didn’t make the trek from his Perth base but will join his compatriots during an official test session back at Phillip Island on February 16-17.
Lambert may be absent from that test – and the opening round itself – after he crashed at the high-speed turn 12 on Wednesday morning, and was taken to the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne with concussion and a broken collarbone.
In contrast Wagner, the reigning Australasian supersport champion, was delighted with the progress he made, although conditions were difficult with a stiff 30km/h head wind on Gardner Straight keeping times down for all the riders on track.
“We found a really good direction, and I’m confident I’ve settled on a chassis package to get the job done,” said Wagner, who also competed in the 2014 Moto2 race at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. “At the test, I used a higher-spec engine than we use in Australia, but I’ll be saving for world supersport-spec one for the actual race weekend.
“The head wind was really strong, and I was only managing about 240km/h down the main straight compared to 260km/h normally.”
Wagner is shaping as Australia’s top supersport wildcard, and in the superbike ranks it’s Metcher, who has just come off a stellar individual performance for Australia in last weekend’s International Challenge at the Island Classic historic meeting.
Metcher spent time reacclimatising to his ZX-10R at Phillip Island after riding a Katana last weekend at the Island Classic Historic Motorcycle Race meeting.
“We’ve tested lots of options. Our tyre life was good, particularly with the new swing arm,” said Metcher.
“We still have to get a good base setting with the new components, and that will be our focus at the final pre-season test. We’re still hoping for top ten, but we have a lot of work to do first.”
Despite being named as a wild card, Cessnock’s Matthew Walters, has pulled out of the international race.
“We tested at the island this week, but we can’t get the parts we need to do the right job. If we race, we want to be competitive, so we are going to focus our efforts on the local category and aim for a good placing in the Phillip Island Championship,” said Matt.
The 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship, Phillip Island Swann round, February 20-22, kicks off Friday with qualifying and continues Saturday and Sunday with a packed race programme of World Superbike and World Supersport and national support classes including Superbike, Supersport, Juniors and Moto3/ 125GP. Also on the schedule is Troy Bayliss, Chris Vermeulen and other well-known Aussies in the Baylisstic flat-track Scramble.
Book early for a super superbike deal with a three day pass at $110*; or Sunday only just $75*. Cart along the kids, because 15’s and under are free. Bring your bike as ticketholders can ride around the circuit grounds and park up at a favourite viewing mound to watch the action. For a great accommodation option, try camping trackside at just $90* per adult for up to four nights. Children 15 and under are free.
Corporate ticket options are also available from $599 for three days, with corporate guests also gaining exclusive access to the final pre-season test on February 16 and 17.