Glenn Allerton wins ASBK season opener at Phillip Island
Images by Cameron White
It was anticipated to be a race full of action, and the first race for the 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli did not disappoint, with fans treated to a season opener full of thrills and spills at Phillip Island this morning in front of a healthy World Superbike crowd.
Team Yamaha’s Wayne Maxwell who was first off the line from pole position when the lights went out but it was young DesmoSport Ducati’s Mike Jones who led the pack into the first corner as they negotiated the opening lap of what would be a ten-lap journey.
Coming off the first lap and onto the straight, the pack began to separate, but it was Yamaha’s Allerton who held sway as they streamed into turn one for the second time. With a clear track ahead, Allerton began to focus on stretching out his lead as Jones gave chase while keeping Crankt Protein Honda Racing’s Troy Herfoss behind in third. Jamie Stauffer (Crankt Protein Honda Racing), and Jon Daniels Racing’s Daniel Falzon followed closely behind in fourth and fifth respectively.
Just as riders began to settle in to their positions, spectators were left gobsmacked when Stauffer clipped the rear wheel of team-mate Herfoss, seeing Stauffer go down in a spectacular crash, and slide in front of the crowd down Gardner Straight, marking the end of race one for the Honda rider.
Despite the crash, Stauffer got to his feet, and spectator focus returned to the epic Australian Superbike race which was unfolding in front of them. The WorldSBK event has not been kind to Stauffer, last season he also had a massive crash, but that time he was not so lucky to walk away, thankfully it was a much kinder outcome this time around.
The crash happened when Herfoss was right on the tail of Jones coming onto the main straight when the young Ducati rider got a little out of shape, and as a result had to get out of the throttle, thus Herfoss had to also back off not to run up the back of Jones, and in a chain reaction then Stauffer collected the back of Herfoss. Jamie suffered some quite bad friction burns that may eventually require a skin graft but the Kurri Kurri hard man will be back in action tomorrow and out to make amends.
With Allerton and Jones building a slight gap on the rest of the field the attention shifted to the battle for third, where Herfoss, Falzon and Yamaha’s Cru Halliday were locked into a three-way battle.
Despite Herfoss appearing unscathed by the earlier incident with his teammate, the Honda rider dropped back to fourth behind Allerton, Jones and Falzon who continued to lead the way. The reason became apparent after the race where the damage from the early impact with Stauffer was clear to see, a huge 40cm long chunk of rubber out of Herfoss’ rear tyre as a result of the impact, which also had twisted the subframe of the Fireblade. Herfoss’ lucky to bring the machine home in one piece, earning important championship points with a brave fifth place finish.
It wasn’t long before all eyes became fixed on Yamaha’s Maxwell who was clearly on a charge, passing Halliday for fifth and eyeing off the front of the pack.
All it took was Falzon to run a little wide through a turn, and in the blink of an eye Maxwell breezed past both the Jon Daniels rider and Honda’s Herfoss, to position his Yamaha in third by lap five.
With only a few laps remaining of the ten-lap race, Allerton was maintaining his lead from Jones in second as Maxwell joined that fray and throw his challenge in for the win.
It was Glenn Allerton though that collected the first Yamaha Motorcycle Insurance Superbike race win, ahead of Jones while Allerton’s teammate Maxwell took third place after chasing that aforementioned duo down in the closing laps.
Allerton was clearly elated after taking first blood for ASBK 2016, mentioning that the big screens at the Island made managing the gap that tiny bit easier.
“Two weeks ago we weren’t even coming here so to take out the win and be leading the championship straight off the bat is pretty amazing.
“This is a result of a lot of hard work from a good group of people. “I would like to thank the race team for their efforts and my family for supporting me. I knew how to look after the tyre to get it to the end and it all just came into play to get us to this point.
“Hearing the bike behind me (Mike Jones on the DesmoSport Ducati) actually inspired me to try and go faster, I don’t clam up or get nervous. With the help of the big screen TV, I was watching the gap and was able to tell where I could pull away which made me feel quite comfortable with where we were.”
Australian Superbike 2016 – Round One – Phillip Island – Superbike Race One Results
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