Aiden Wagner stuns FX-ASC Superbike regulars by winning on debut
By Trevor Hedge – Images by Robert Parker
Troy Herfoss was the early leader as Swann Australasian FX Superbike Championship season 2015 got underway beneath clear skies at Sydney Motorsports Park this morning.
Polesitter Cru Halliday hounded Herfoss throughout lap one before nudging ahead and leading Herfoss across the line as they started lap two. Kawasaki riders Matt Walters and Sean Condon were running third and fourth, marginally ahead of Superbike debutant Aiden Wagner on a Team Honda Fireblade SP.
Halliday maintained his advantage over lap two but was not getting away from Herfoss, the Team Honda rider maintaining station a couple of bike lengths behind Halliday throughout lap two. Halliday however had his head down to try and break away with a new FX-ASC lap record on his first flying lap, 1m30.85 the new benchmark.
The new Yamaha YZF-R1M certainly demonstrated a top end power advantage over the Honda as from midway down the Eastern Creek straight it really did start to pull away from the Fireblade. On the flip side, the well sorted chassis of the Fireblade SP enabled Herfoss to pull some ground back in other parts of the circuit.
Aiden Wagner then left everyone up and down pitlane gobsmacked. The youngster cracking out a 1m30.66 to lower the Sydney Motorsports Park benchmark in his first ever appearance on a Superbike. What a way to announce your arrival in the Superbike category!
Herfoss and Wagner then both got the better of Halliday with a little over 10 laps to run in the 15-lap first season 2015 encounter. Wayne Maxwell had forced his way past Walters to move into fifth position as he started to stalk Sean Condon in fourth.
Herfoss continued to lead Wagner and Halliday, the Team Honda pairing holding sway up front while Halliday followed close astern. Rear grip was already becoming a significant issue for all riders, but with the all-new Yamaha arriving in Australia so late YZF-R1M riders were perhaps suffering more than most. Matt Walters clutch had started slipping so he retired from the race rather than risk engine damage at this early point of the race weekend.
Aiden Wagner took the lead with nine laps to run and managed to pull a couple of tenths on Herfoss, who immediately then started to come under attack from Halliday, the #3 and #6 machines side-by-side through turn one with eight laps to go.
Halliday took second place from Herfoss down the main straight with seven laps to run. Wagner’s buffer up front was a slim two-tenths of a second and Halliday set about trying to reduce that gap. Frustrating his progress however was both a lack of rear grip and a determined Troy Herfoss, who was not willing to give up second place without an ongoing fight. This was working to Wagner’s advantage as the next time he crossed the stripe he had pulled another tenth away from Halliday, the buffer three-tenths of a second with six laps to run. The race pace had backed off to mid 1m31s now as the heat of battle took its toll on the rear Dunlops.
Halliday halved that gap on the next lap, trying to set up a challenge for the lead but Wagner responded.
While the top three had slowed their pace somewhat through the middle stages of the race, Sean Condon still had his head down and by two-thirds race distance the Kawasaki rider was now less than a second behind the leading trio.
Troy Herfoss took Halliday for second with five laps to run but Halliday used the 11km/h advantage of the R1 to slip back past the Goulburn based rider and claim second once again down the chute.
Mike Jones had got the better of Glenn Allerton for sixth place but four laps from the end the Kawasaki rider went down at turn four, his race over.
With three laps to run Herfoss picked up his pace to pull away from Halliday around the back of the circuit and was climbing all over the back of Wagner. If his foe was not in the same Team Honda colouring it is perhaps fair to say Herfoss might have made a more desperate move to get the better of his new teammate, but with a long seven-round season ahead the Goulburn based 28-year-old thought better of it. Herfoss has also been having a few brake issues this weekend which is perhaps also keeping his aggression in check a little.
Then in a surprise rearguard action Sean Condon slipped past Halliday and Herfoss to move up to second place with two laps to run! Something neither rider was expecting!
By the last lap board Wagner had extended his lead over Sean Condon out to seven-tenths of a second. Troy Herfoss was still battling with Condon but Halliday was now suffering a dramatic loss of grip and looked out of contention for a podium.
Herfoss slipped past Condon around the back of the circuit to move back up to second but Condon got him back through the last section to claim second place, a position he kept until the chequered flag while Herfoss had to settle for third.
Wayne Maxwell got the better of Cru Halliday on the last lap to take fourth place. The top five was covered by only three-seconds after the 67.5km race distance. Glenn Allerton was a further nine seconds adrift in sixth and clearly disappointed with that result.
Ben Burke was a further 15-seconds back, claiming seventh place by a nose over Linden Magee. Beau Beaton brought the sole Ducati Panigale in the field home in ninth place while Ben Henry rounded out the top ten.
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