With the dust of the opening round just settled, the 2021 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, will ascend to another level this weekend with the return to Wakefield Park Raceway.
The Alpinestars Superbike class at Winton, was effectively the “Troy Herfoss and Wayne Maxwell Show” as the multiple champions chased, sliced and diced each other all weekend, as they both had a win each. Whilst there were some other standout results including Desmosport Ducati’s Oli Bayliss keeping his nose clean and carding good results, while privateer Arthur Sissis showed big improvements in speed.
At the Winton season opener it was virtually an all Maxwell v Herfoss show as no other rider showed the speed to run with them at the tricky Victorian circuit. Maxwell claimed the top honours with a win and a second while Herfoss, who also had an emphatic win, may well rue that very small, yet costly mistake at the final corner of the first race of the year.
At Wakefield Park, Maxwell and Herfoss are both very strong, but the Goulburn-born Herfoss has the upper hand when it comes to race victories. He extended the tally with three wins at the same venue late last year at the Grand Finale of the ASBK Championship, on the Michelin-shod Penrite Honda, although a mechanical DNF thwarted his chances of taking the title chase right up to Maxwell and it was the Ducati man that took the championship.
However, this time around Maxwell, aboard the Boost Mobile with K-Tech Ducati, doesn’t have to worry about riding steady to protect a points lead at a series finale. The “Wayne Train” will be at full steam on his Pirelli-shod machine and out to show that he can run with Herfoss at this circuit.
Three-times ASBK Champion, Glenn Allerton aboard the Maxima Racing Oils BMW could also be a real threat this weekend.
After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Allerton has bounced back and is the current lap record holder at the track after a number of podium finishes at the final two rounds last year. Discount him at your peril.
Another with an impressive record at the track is Cru Halliday on the Yamaha Factory Racing machine. Both YRT and BC Performance Kawasaki did not have the grip to be competitive at Winton but will be hoping they have a tyre that can get them back in the game at Wakefield. Bryan Staring and Josh Waters will be hoping for a significant turn around that will allow them to be competitive. The Kawasaki crew are still trying to get on top of the electronics suite fitted to the latest ZX-10RR. YRT’s Aiden Wagner is out injured.
Then of course there is the DesmoSport Ducati Team of two-times ASBK Champion Mike Jones and impressive rookie Oli Bayliss. Jones was second overall at Winton, while Oli was very impressive on his Superbike debut and has been training hard in the lead up to this weekend. Jones was the only rider to even get close to the speed of Maxwell and Herfoss at Winton and will be aiming to get on equal terms with them this weekend.
South Australia’s Arthur Sissis, sitting 4th in the Championship also had a sensational run at Winton and will be hoping he can carry that form into Wakefield this weekend. We know he has phenomenal starts and its a pretty safe bet he will hit turn one first when the lights go out!
With all these ingredients, it is a very potent potpourri of pace and determination waiting to be unleashed. The extra pinch of hot spice in the mix this weekend will be the return of Anthony West to ASBK, on the MotoGO Yamaha R1. He will be out to prove that he is a championship threat.
The fire hasn’t quelled for West and he will be out to dent a few egos and demonstrate that he isn’t coming along to make up the numbers. For the majority of his career West has contested race distances double or even triple that of ASBK race lengths but with a long time off the bike his race fitness might be tested over the 20-lap journeys this weekend. As we saw here in 2016 though, he can’t be discounted and certainly knows how to ride a motorcycle fast!
The likes of Matt Walters, Jed Metcher, Aaron Morris and Mark Chiodo are also capable of fighting their way up front if a bit of luck goes their way and Lachlan Epis showed some new speed at Winton that he will be hoping transfers to Wakefield.
The Alpinestars Superbike category is chock full of talent, enthusiasm, and determination with any one of about seven riders capable of victory.
Who takes the laurels on Sunday could well go down to the final corner of race two on Sunday afternoon.
Strap in. The weekend guarantees to be memorable.
ASBK fans can purchase their tickets online at www.asbk.com.au for what will be a sensational weekend of racing.
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