Troy Herfoss tops first day of ASBK practice at Wakefield Park
ASBK 2016 – Round Two – Wakefield Park – Friday Preliminary Report
By Trevor Hedge
Competitors were greeted by a very damp Wakefield Park circuit this morning as they prepared to ride the opening practice sessions at the tricky 2.2km circuit ahead of the second round of the YMF Loan 2016 Australian Superbike Championship.
Many riders were experiencing the Goulburn (NSW) circuit for the first time, and one of the most notable debutees was three-time World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss. The Taree road racing legend is part owner of the new DesmoSport Ducati Team, who is fielding defending ASBK Champion Mike Jones in the seat of a delectable Ducati 1199 Panigale R. The riding duties for Bayliss this weekend are limited to piloting two-seater rides for competition winners and local dignitaries who are game enough to get in the hot seat behind the affable 46-year-old champ.
“I’d never ridden at Wakefield Park before, so we wanted to get on track, get a feel for it and prepare to take fans on pillion rides around the track this weekend,” Bayliss beamed following a brief trial run on Friday.
“It was actually a really good feeling pulling my gear on and then getting on the Ducati, it’d been a full year since I last rode a Superbike in the Thailand WorldSBK round during 2015.
“This weekend is another exciting one for DesmoSport Ducati, we feel well-prepared and confident of strong results with Mike Jones, plus it’s always nice to showcase the sport to more fans through the two-up experience program.”
As for the Superbike competitors it was local Crank Protein Honda star Troy Herfoss that dominated every session. The 28-year-old pushed a little too hard in the closing stages of the last session however and fell on the penultimate turn, illustrating just how hard the reigning Swann Australasian Superbike Champion was pushing at his home circuit to achieve that 57.594 today. Herfoss was lucky to escape injury in the accident.
Second on the charts was Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell ahead of his two fellow YRT teammates. A 57.647 ran Herfoss oh so close while Allerton suggested if he had used a different tyre strategy he would have matched Maxwell’s pace. Halliday has taken a little longer to get comfortable today but made good progress and by the end of the day managed a 58.317.
Daniel Falzon qualified fifth and was happy with his progress.
Mike Jones had some teething problems with the DesmoSport Ducati 1199R Panigale but managed to get down to 58.460, good enough for sixth on the timesheets ahead of Team Honda guest rider Anthony West.
Westy is unfamiliar with Wakefield Park and also completely alien to the Crankt Protein Honda, with no seat time whatsoever ahead of the round today was spent on adapting the ergonomics of the machine to suit him, and also familiarising himself with the Wakefield Park layout.
Ben Burke was the quickest Kawasaki rider in eighth place ahead of Brayden Elliott (Suzuki) and New Zealand’s Sloan Frost (Suzuki) rounded out the top ten.
A full report with quotes and images will follow later this evening.