The opening Superbike bout was a three-man battle from the outset with Josh Waters, Wayne Maxwell and Troy Bayliss the protagonists up front and finishing in that order.
Newly minted 2018 ASBK Champion Troy Herfoss was a lowly sixth and never in the hunt for a podium in that opening stanza but the Penrite Honda squad were quietly confident that they would be back in the mix for this second and final 12-lap bout of ASBK season 2018.
As competitors gridded up in readiness for a race start the track temperature was registering 45-degrees, more than ten-degrees warmer than it was for their opening bout earlier in the day.
Wayne Maxwell led the field as they peeled into turn one for the first time ahead of Bryan Staring, Troy Bayliss, Daniel Falzon and Josh Waters. Troy Herfoss and Glenn Allerton both suffering from poor starts and languishing in eighth and ninth place early on.
Daniel Falzon went out of the race with a mechanical failure on lap one, ruining the South Australian’s perfect record of race finishes for season 2018.
Josh Waters moved up to fourth after Falzon rolled to a stop and going with Waters was his young Suzuki teammate Mark Chiodo. The Suzuki pair running fourth and fifth early on the second lap as Troy Herfoss stalked in sixth.
A few laps in it was still Maxwell, Staring and Bayliss but the Ducati man looked to have the wood on the Kawasaki and was just waiting for an opportune time to make his pass. Josh Waters then joined them to turn that battle up front into a four way affair after clocking a 1m32.533 then backed that up with a 1m32.252 to get right on their tails.
Bryan Staring and Troy Bayliss both then moved past Wayne Maxwell with nine laps to run. A lap later Waters pushed Maxwell further back to third place.
The best of the rest with eight laps to run was headed by Mark Chiodo in fifth, five-seconds behind the race leaders and trying to hold Glenn Allerton at bay. Troy Herfoss had started dropping back through the field, his aim to make amends for his average finish in race one out the window and a disappointing way for the 2018 ASBK Champion to finish his season as he rolled around well off the pace after he lost his right footpeg.
Glenn Allerton’s successful return from injury also took a blow. The NextGen BMW limping off the circuit and out of the race after an aftermarket bracket on the instrumentation broke away which saw the dash floating around in front of the steering head before the key finally turned off the ignition to add final insult.
Troy Bayliss got the better of Bryan Staring as they tipped into turn one and the second half of the race got underway.
Bayliss held sway at the front for the next couple of laps before the Ducati reared up on to one wheel as Bayliss straightened up for the run down the chute, losing the three-time World Superbike Champion some drive off the turn, allowing Staring to return the earlier favour at turn one and push the BCperformance ZX-10R to the front of the field once again.
Wayne Maxwell had been sitting behind that leading trio and watching on but with four laps to go he made his move on Waters and joined the fray once again, only for the Suzuki man to come right back at him.
Bryan Staring held on to that lead for the entire lap as behind him Josh Waters got the better of Bayliss to move back up to second place. Staring was so wide into turn one the next time around that he was out on the ripple strip before putting the ZX-10R on his knee and finally tipping in. Bayliss though got him at turn four and nothing separated that leading quartet with a lap and a half to go, Bayliss, Staring, Waters and Maxwell those protagonists.
At the last lap board it was Bayliss with his nose in front and strong enough in to turn one to hold sway, Waters was all over him though and challenged at turn one, challenged again at Southern Loop.
Turn four and Waters enters first but Bayliss takes a tight line and comes out momentarily ahead, but then it was Waters at the front again, he looked on course to perhaps hold on to lead for the race to the flag but the front end washed away from him at MG Hairpin and pitched him on his head.
That left Bayliss clear air ahead of him and he went on to win his second race win of the year to end his return to Superbike competition on a high note that will see the legend of World Superbike well pumped come the after party later tonight.
Bryan Staring and BCperformance also finish the season on a high note with second place, the first podium for the team since Darwin.
Wayne Maxwell’s third place good enough to secure him second outright in the 2018 ASBK Superbike Championship.
Ted Collins and NextGen BMW will be stoked with the youngsters fourth place, albeit 14-seconds behind the podium getters but he was still there and kept it together to claim that fourth position ahead of some well fancied company, and nobody can take that away from him.
Matt Walters took fifth ahead of Rookie’s Cup winner Arthur Sissis while Josh Waters managed to remount his Ecstar Suzuki to salvage a seventh place finish. Those points for Waters were not enough to prevent Troy Bayliss from claiming third overall in the championship.
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