Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK 2018
Round Four – Hidden Valley, Darwin
A stiff breeze and very warm conditions welcomed ASBK competitors as they commenced preparations for this weekend’s fourth round of the Yamaha Motor Finance sponsored Australian Superbike Championships at Darwin’s Hidden Valley today.
Well very warm for those of us coming from a southern winter, but it’s just tepid to regular Territorians. The low-mid 30-degree maximums and low 20s minimums combine with the relatively low humidity of the NT dry season to make things cool and pleasant for them, and bearable for us. Well bearable enough that is unless you need to be standing around a racetrack in leathers! Still, there is no better time to be in Darwin than in the middle of the dry season and thankfully for us that is right now.
Wind gusts up to 40 km/h were blowing across the Hidden Valley circuit when riders ventured out on track this afternoon where each class had a single 55-minute practice session.
Of course while the more seasoned racers of ASBK know the Northern Territory circuit well, for many today was their first time to explore the 14-turns and initiate themselves with the 2.87km of tarmac that is Hidden Valley Raceway.
Josh Waters is the current race lap record holder at 65.986 while Maxwell holds the qualifying record at 66.040. Both those benchmarks were set when ASBK visited here last July as were the Supersport and Supersport 300 lap reords.
The Supersport marker is held by Ted Collins at 69.153 while the qualifying record belongs to Mark Chiodo on 68.715. Both of those young men are in Superbike this year, it will be interesting to see how long it takes them to best their Supersport times while astride a Superbike.
Tom Bramich holds the 300 Supersport record at 78.663 while Oli Bayliss was the fastest qualifier here last year on 78.672. That was the first visit for Supersport 300 to Hidden Valley.
Today though there was no official timing conducted thus we will have to wait until tomorrow to see what sort of pace the ASBK racers can muster here this year. I could ask some of the racers what times they recorded today, but they would only tell lies… It looks like another warm and pleasant today tomorrow with a little less wind, while the breeze will get back up again come Sunday as we head for a top of around 35-degrees.