Wayne Maxwell wins final battle but Josh Waters wins the war
Yamaha Motor Finance ASBK 2017 – Round Seven – Phillip Island
The race for the ASBK Championship had been significantly shaken up in race one with Josh Waters taking a dominant victory over Wayne Maxwell, while the headline story was that series leader and defending champion Troy Herfoss scored no points in that opening bout. Herfoss had a troublesome gasket leak some oil into his bellypan during the race which eventually forced the Honda man to retire to pitlane after struggling to maintain a decent points scoring position throughout the race.
Wayne Maxwell had to come from behind in the opening race, getting dusted up somewhat in the first turns, despite starting from pole position, while Josh Waters enjoyed clear air right from the off and was never headed, or even really seriously threatened at any point over the 12-lap duration of that opening race.
A stiff wind was blowing down the main straight as riders slingshotted off the line to commence the final ASBK Championship race of season 2017.
Daniel Falzon led the field through Southern Loop for the first time while Bryan Staring had also started extremely strongly, challenging Josh Waters for position.
Josh Waters swept around the outside of Falzon through the Hayshed, then adding further insult Bryan Staring swept underneath Falzon at MG Hairpin to push the South Australian back to third, where he immediately started to come under attack from Wayne Maxwell.
Maxwell pushed Falzon back to fourth place early on lap two. Alex Phillis was also becoming a factor in this melee, tussling over fifth place with Herfoss and Allerton.
Bryan Staring took the lead from Waters around the back of the circuit, Maxwell then pounced to push the Suzuki man back another place. Maxwell then went through to the race lead and immediately started inching away from second placed Staring with ten laps still to run in the 12-lap contest.
Josh Waters got the better of Staring for second place next time around but there was no lack of pressure from behind for the Suzuki man. Not only Staring still right on his hammer, but also Falzon, Troy Herfoss and Glenn Allerton forming a conga line behind the Mildura man. Waters needed to finish in the top five to secure the 2017 ASBK Championship title, even if Maxwell won this final contest, and that fact would be reverberating around the skull of Waters throughout this entire contest.
The order was switched up a little with seven laps to run, as Herfoss worked his way past Falzon, with Allerton then pushing the JD Racing man further back to sixth place.
Alex Phillis had now lost touch with that group, now in seventh place ahead of Matt Walters, Cru Halliday and Michael Blair.
Troy Herfoss stepped things up another notch as the race entered its second half. First dispensing with teammate Staring, then clambering all over the tailpipe of Waters’ GSX-R1000. Herfoss then made his move at MG Hairpin and put the bit between his teeth to try and chase down Maxwell.
The championship chase then got shaken up some more, Staring and Allerton pushing Waters back to fifth place. Still good enough to give the Suzuki man the Championship, even if Maxwell wins this race, but certainly tightening things up markedly and adding more pressure… Waters had some breathing space over sixth placed Falzon, two-seconds in fact, so was still looking relatviely safe…
With two laps to go the race for the win become drastically closer. The two Honda men were all over the back of Maxwell, Allerton still close enough also, and what had perhaps looked like a certain win for Maxwell, was now looking far from certain.
At the last lap board it was Maxwell by four-tenths over Herfoss, who still had Staring and Allerton in close company.
Maxwell perhaps saved his best for this last lap, dropping the hammer once again to pull away from his pursuers, gaining a couple of tenths at every split to stretch away. Herfoss though was very strong through the Hayshed and across Lukey Heights, closing right back up on the tail of Maxwell through turn ten, but it was Maxwell who got to the chequered flag first, finishing his season with a win.
Troy Herfoss finished the race in second place and the podium was rounded out by his teammate Bryan Staring.
Glenn Allerton narrowly missing out on a rostrum place but declaring with his results this weekend that he is still a top fight contender, and that if not for that awful arm injury at Wakefield Park early in the season, the #14 Yamaha would have been a much bigger factor in this championship.
In fifth place, perhaps the happiest person to ever finish a race in fifth, was Josh Waters, your 2017 Australian Superbike Champion.
The third ASBK Superbike Championship for Waters, all three of which have come onboard GSX-R1000 machinery. The first of which came in 2009, the second in 2012. Those highs were then followed by some troublesome years overseas, but he has now proved beyond any doubt that he has the speed, the spirit and the balls to once again prove fast enough to win an Australian Superbike Championship.
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