Herfoss recovers from woeful start to fighting podium
Herfoss leads series by nine-points
2018 ASBK – Round Three – The Bend
Superbike Race One
History in Australian motorsport was made today at 1250 as the first of what no doubt will be many ASBK Superbike races got underway beneath a blazing South Australian sun at The Bend Motorsport Complex.
There was certainly no reliable prediction that could be made heading in to this first of three 10-lap races that make up this third round of the 2018 YMI Australian Superbike Championship.
Wayne Maxwell had pole, but both Troy Bayliss and Troy Herfoss did not get an opportunity to really show their hand in Q2 this morning. Indications are that both Bayliss and Herfoss have the pace to run with Maxwell, a great start would be crucial.
The quiet achiever of course is always Josh Waters. The Suzuki man is defending his 2017 championship and can never be counted out once the scrapping starts proper.
Local star Daniel Falzon had perhaps been playing his cards close to his chest, or so his supporters would at least be hoping, after he had somewhat failed to fire to his potential in the qualifying sessions. Still perhaps not quite nailing the set-up on the YRT machine ahead of this opening stanza.
Jamie Stauffer made a massive step forward in this morning’s session, catapulting his Racer’s Edge Ducati from way back on the grid right up to the second row ahead of Bryan Staring.
Tyres… Staring the quickest Dunlop runner and while the track temperature was nudging towards 40-degrees celsius, it is fair to say that the Dunlop riders would be hoping for things to hot up much further if they were to try and take the battle up to the front running Pirelli pilots. And for those front runners, it was going to be a very strategic battle in regards to trying to make their tyres last until the end of the 49.5km race distance.
Wayne Maxwell got a brilliant launch off the line, virtually flawless, and led the field into turn one for the first time ahead of Troy Bayliss. Josh Waters was in third but Herfoss quickly recovered from an average start to move past the Suzuki man and up into third.
Then the red flag came out to interrupt proceedings after a crash at turn six between Sam Lambert and Lucas Vitale. The machines and riders were in a dangerous position thus officials stopped the race and allowed for them to be attended to. The riders did not return to pit-lane and re-formed on the grid as teams rushed to put tyre warmers on and ready for a re-start.
Race distance was reduced by a lap to allow for the delay in proceedings.
We’re Away Again!
While sitting on the grid for more than 15-minutes a lot of things would have been going through the riders heads.. How will my tyres cope with this heat cycle…? They were put in warmers but still, heat cycles on new rubber are something desperately avoided… It was also very hot out there, the ambient reading only about 30-degrees celsius but the sun here has an intense bite today.
The race was about to get underway again at 1307 but Bayliss momentarily put his hand up, which caused some confusion and led to a very small delay.
When the lights finally did go out Herfoss crawled off the line like he was on a 50cc step-through… No such problems for Troy Bayliss, despite that moment of tension on the grid TB was away like a shot. Maxwell had failed to repeat his ultra slick start but was away well enough.
The real big winner at the re-start was Arthur Sissis. Showing his speedway roots, the South Australian fired forward from the fourth row of the grid to be right with Bayliss through the first half of the opening lap and actually led the field into turn one!
Bayliss quickly swept past Sissis while it took Wayne Maxwell a few more turns to work his way forward past Sissis. Waters then pushed Sissis further back to fourth.
Maxwell went to make a move on Bayliss but had to pull out. The #47 Yamaha then laid a lurid black line on The Bend tarmac as he gave chase again, that would have been enough to remind Maxwell that there was still a long way to go…
Herfoss had been shuffled back to almost 20th at the start but by lap two had worked his way forward to fifth place. The Penrite Honda man leaving himself plenty of work to do after that shocking start. He was fired up now though, a 1m52.972 making him the fastest man on lap two despite the traffic. He had more than two-seconds to make up though if he was to get in the battle for the podium.
Daniel Falzon was running fourth and the next target for a charging Herfoss. That was not to say Falzon was out of the picture, he was actually closing on the leading trio now, and that leading group was set to grow in numbers to five when Herfoss arrived.
Wayne Maxwell then took the lead and left Bayliss and Waters to give chase. Herfoss squeezed past Falzon but the South Australian quickly got him back and was going to make the Honda man work much harder if he was going to dispense with him.
The body language of Herfoss now started to look a little different on the bike… It looked as though the Penrite Honda man was perhaps starting to struggle with tyre wear, and perhaps not at the rear, but the front… I found out after the race that it was instead another issue that saw him looking uncharacteristically awkward on the Fireblade.
With four laps to go it was still Maxwell up front and Bayliss was almost looking ragged in his quest to stay with Maxwell. TB used to look like that when he was breaking lap records back in his World Superbike days, that’s how he rolls…
Herfoss managed to eclipse Falzon and then started to attack Josh Waters for third place. But that group of three were now in a different battle to the pair up front. Surely none of them could broach the now 2.2-second gap to second placed Bayliss in the final couple of laps in this race..?
Maxwell crossed the stripe to finish lap seven after looking to have broke Bayliss.. The Ducati man was now a full-second behind Maxwell’s Yamaha and had run out of grip.
Herfoss had now passed Waters and I am unsure of what happened between the two, but the Suzuki man was then also behind Falzon. Waters was struggling to match the pace of that pair as the race wore on.
At the last lap board Maxwell had 1.3-seconds over Bayliss. A little further behind Falzon was attacking Herfoss to try and steal that final step on the rostrum.
Falzon shadowed Herfoss the whole way around the final lap. But the Honda man did hang on to the line and claimed that podium position in what was an amazing comeback from such a fumbled start. Those points though keep Herfoss in the championship lead.
That lead though has been narrowed by race winner Wayne Maxwell who moved past Josh Waters into second place and is now nine-points adrift of Herfoss.
Troy Bayliss had little choice but to settle for that second place. In the opening few laps he was throwing everything he had at staying with Maxwell, before deciding that is was going to involve too much risk for him to try and challenge the YRT man all the way to the flag with the grip he had available to him. The handy swag of points for second place moved Bayliss past Falzon in the championship standings. TB is now fourth on the ladder with 102-points.
There will be two more 10-lap bouts tomorrow to decide who will be crowned the inaugural two-wheel King of The Bend.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.