Thrills and spills in ASBK Race One at Wakefield Park
Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK 2016 – Round Two – Wakefield Park
By Trevor Hedge
An overcast but pleasantly warm 20-degree day greeted competitors today at Wakefield Park as Superbike competitors readied for the second round of the six round 2016 Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship.
A reasonable size crowd had made their way to the 2.2km circuit, situated just 10km outside Goulburn. Australia’s first inland city boasts a population of 23,000 and local media always supports the event well, which helps get the locals out to the track to back Crankt Protein Honda’s Troy Herfoss. The 28-year-old is Goulburn born and bred, and through his many successes on both motorcycles and bicycles has become an almost household name.
Herfoss had started the weekend well, topping Friday practice and also taking Superpole ahead of the Yamaha triumvirate of Wayne Maxwell, Glenn Allerton and Cru Halliday.
Herfoss also had a tumble on Friday, giving his main rivals a sniff of hope that their were some chinks in the armour of Herfoss here this weekend. Maxwell and Allerton had pushed Herfoss hard in every session, the psychological warfare had also been very much apparent throughout the weekend.
Cru Halliday hasn’t been at quite the same level as Herfoss, Maxwell and Allerton this weekend. The Camden rider hadn’t looked to be in the right head space on Friday or Saturday, hopefully he could manage to turn that around and produce some of his best today.
A wilcard that could upset the apple cart was Anthony West. The 34-year-old drafted in to replace the injured Jamie Stauffer. Westy was only half-a-second off Herfoss and has been impressing Crankt Protein Honda boss Paul Free with his feedback. The team had an uphill battle on Friday with Westy never before sitting on the bike, thus the first couple of sessions were spent tailoring the ergonomics of the bike to the Queenslander before they could really start attacking the nitty gritty of machine set-up. They made significant strides forward but Westy had been running into turn one on the limiter during qualifying, one time too many and the Fireblade cried enough, stranding West out on the circuit and thus missing some of the latter stages of the qualifying session. Changes were made to the wet bike but a lack of time meant the machine was still some way off the mark and thus West’s Superpole pace is not representative of what he might be able to bring to the track here today.
Mike Jones had battled a few technical problems with the DesmoSport Ducati 1199 Panigale R and started from the second row. Jones had leapfrogged past West in the 10-minute Superpole session.
Heading the third row was Daniel Falzon ahead of Brayden Elliott. Both youngsters recovering from hefty tumbles yesterday to qualify seventh and eighth respectively. Ben Burke and Sloan Frost rounded out the top ten qualifiers.
When the lights went out though the hometown here suffered badly through the first turns and was swamped. Coming out the other side was Glenn Allerton ahead of Anthony West, Wayne Maxwell and Cru Halliday. On lap two however three riders went down which forced officials to red flag the race. The fallers were Jason Ivkovic, Kris Keen and Scott McGregor. Glenn Allerton would be ruing the interruption throwing away his amazing full-second lead in the early part of that race. One man thanking his lucky stars for the restart was Troy Herfoss, after that shocking beginning he had in the first attempt at running that race. This track is notoriously hard to pass on, and those passes generally have to be pretty hard if trying to get past someone running a similar pace. It would have been unlikely that anyone would have chased down and challenged Allerton if not for that red flag.
Herfoss made the best of that second chance to lead the field around Wakefield Park for the opening lap ahead of Maxwell and Allerton while Westy was alrady looking to challenge Maxwell while Falzon was tussling with Cru Halliday over fifth place. It was shaping up to be a ripper race but the red flag came out once again, putting an end to proceedings. Two riders had gone down heavily at turn ten, Peter Berry and Brendan McIntyre and riders returned to the grid and teams once again fitted tyre warmers as they waited for Racesafe to look after the injured riders. Officials reported that both riders were okay and not in any danger.
The race distance had been reduced from 16 laps to 14 laps for the second attempt, the distance was reduced again to 12 laps for third attempt at running the race.
Herfoss again got away well but in the turn one melee a couple of riders went down, producing another red flag. Anthony West and Cru Halliday were both involved but managed to eventually rejoin the track but Mike Jones was still down in the kitty litter, thus the red flag was brought up so Jones and his machine could be taken out of the danger zone.
It was all hands on deck in the DesmoSport Ducati pit garage to repair the 1199 Panigale R for the start of the race after lunch. Problems with the spare bike mean that the heavily damaged machine needed plenty of work to get ready for race two. However, after video of the incident was reviewed officials judged that Mike Jones caused the crash, thus as the cause of the red flag incident Jones was not permitted to start race one.
Over at Team Honda, with an engine problem ruling West’s spare machine out, they also had to repair the Fireblade SP West had been on when he was caught up in the incident and ran off the track. Much less damage to the Honda, but still plenty of work to do.
Yamaha Racing Team also had work to do in order to repair the machine of Cru Halliday, who also ended up tangled up, quite literally, in that incident. Like West, Halliday was able to remount his machine and return to the pits but still there was damage that needed repairing.
Race control also had work to do in trying to rejig the schedule to accommodate the significant time lost from the incidents. The lunch break still went ahead, as did the pillion rides for competition winners and local dignitaries, along with Lukey Luke’s stunt show. But it was 1400 by the time the next attempt at running a Superbike race got underway.
And away we go, finally…….
Troy Herfoss led Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell through turn one as Anthony West was close behind in fourth. In the mid-section of the track West took third place from Wayne Maxwell. Glenn Allerton got a great drive on to the main straight to take the lead down the chute from Herfoss.
As they started lap three it was Allerton, Herfoss, West. Allerton a 57.93 on his first flying lap and on a mission. West had started to close on Herfoss, who in turn had started to come back at Allerton around the back section of the circuit. Allerton though very strong on YZF-R1M on to the main straight and manages to gap the Honda men there before the Fireblades again close back up on his tail around the other parts of the circuit.
Wayne Maxwell had been passed by Cru Halliday but that seemed to stoke the fire of Maxwell as he responded by putting in a new fastest lap of the race, 57.767 with eight laps to run. A rider was allowed to exit pit lane only moments before the leading riders came down the straight, the rider responded to the blue flags but in the heat of battle for position Halliday came out the loser, running off trying to avoid that rider. A great shame as Halliday looked to have his mojo back today.
Lapping that rider had been completely most cleanly by the two leading riders, while West and Maxwell were tripped up a little, and thus lost touch with that leading duo. With five laps to run Herfoss decided it was time to turn the wick up, a 57.54 new lap record. Halfway through the next lap Allerton threw it away at turn five. Herfoss inheriting the lead and now with a 1.6-second advantage over Wayne Maxwell who had got the better of Anthony West on the previous lap.
On the next lap however Maxwell went down at the identical point that Allerton had crashed the lap earlier. Unbelievable! No points for Jones, no points for Allerton, no points for Maxwell… And a Honda 1-2! What a disastrous opening to the day for Yamaha Racing Team and DesmoSport Ducati. This will be so critical for the championship and there are some very long faces in some pit garages right now at Wakefield Park.
ASBK 2016 – Round Two – Wakefield Park – Race One Results
- Troy Herfoss
- Anthony West 1.79
- Cru Halliday 7.69
- Daniel Falzon 10.48
- Ben Burke 11.42
- Brayden Elliott 13.20
- Sloan Frost 14.72
- Ryan Hampton 39.42
- Adam Senior 44.16
- Nathan Spiteri 55.68
ASBK 2016 – Round Two – Wakefield Park – Race One Championship Points
- Troy Herfoss 78
- Glenn Allerton 75
- Ben Burke 57
- Mike Jones 57
- Daniel Falzon 56
- Wayne Maxwell 55
- Cru Halliday 52
- Michael Blair 45
- Robbie Bugden 35
- Matt Walters 32
- Sloan Frost 27
- Jamie Stauffer 27
- John Hunt 27
- Brayden Elliott 26
- Adam Christie 26