Callum Spriggs 2015 YRD Supersport Champion

The FX Supersport points had been shaken up heading in to the Sydney Motorsports Park Swann Insurance Australasian YRD Supersport Championship under the ‘drop your worst’ round rule introduced for season 2015.

The drop your worst round rule promoted Queensland based Yamaha rider Callum Spriggs to an 11-point buffer over Elliott heading in the season finale. 

Swann Australasian FX Superbike Championship 2015 - Round Six - Winton Motor Raceway - Supersport
Swann Australasian FX Superbike Championship 2015 – Round Six – Winton Motor Raceway – Supersport

Brayden Elliott expressed his displeasure at the rule regimen in the lead up to the round – “The change in championship lead was certainly disappointing, I’m sure its not a rule that a lot of riders agree with but that’s the way it is. Over the first six rounds I have finished on the overall podium five times with a worst finish of fourth although I have been well aware of the rule to drop a round.

“Personally I think when we have a seven round championship then it should go on each round and be a seven round championship, with consistency playing a huge part, not being able to drop a round from a mistake or other issues. I feel we have been consistently fast all year, winning round one and maintaining the lead up until now shows the effort put in from the whole team,” Elliott said.

Obviously there was always going to be riders that win under the rule, and riders that lose some of their advantage.

Two strong races in the AFX-SBK Supersport races on Friday saw Elliott rider take out the overall Friday round victory but it was championship rival Callum Spriggs that took out the 2015 AFX-SBK Supersport Championship by 18-points over Michael Blair. 

Callum Spriggs that took out the 2015 AFX-SBK Supersport Championship by 18-points over Michael Blair - Image by Steve Thibou
Callum Spriggs that took out the 2015 AFX-SBK Supersport Championship by 18-points over Michael Blair – Image by Steve Thibou

Aaron Morris had put in the fastest race lap and thus earned pole for Saturday but unfortunately damaged his engine and would take no further part in proceedings during the weekend.  

Aaron Morris leads Brayden Elliott - 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship
Aaron Morris leads Brayden Elliott – 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship

Starting from the front row, Elliott engaged in a tight battle in race one, coming away with second place behind Michael Blair with a gap of just 0.056 seconds back to prime championship rival Callum Spriggs who rounded out the race one podium.

A stern development in race two saw Elliott dominate the race and step up to take the win by two-seconds ahead of Michael Blair and Troy Guenther while Spriggs placed fourth. 

Elliott had brought the eleven point gap back down to a slim two points, meaning the Championship would come down to the final race of the year.

A close start in the final eight-lap dash saw Brayden in second after turn one, giving it his all he fought into the lead on multiple occasions although could not make the pass stick remaining in second place to cross the line. Brayden managed to set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:34.060, his quickest time of the weekend but it was not enough to beat young Queenslander Troy Guenther to the line, Elliott second, Spriggs third. 

Troy Guenther, Brayden Elliott - 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship
Troy Guenther, Brayden Elliott – 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship

This result put the points tally tied at 373. An incredible result, especially as the Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship was also decided at Sydney Motorsports Park by only a single point

The count back for the number of wins Spriggs and Elliott had claimed saw Spriggs crowned YRD Supersport Champion for 2015 and Elliott placed second for the year, a strong result for Elliott on the back of his victory in the Australian Supersport Championship in October.

Spriggs earned the Swann Australasian Championship win thanks to winning five races this season, compared to Elliott’s four. This added more success to the AFX Supersport Championship win he earned on the Friday night, making it two championships in the one weekend for the 21-year-old Yamaha rider.

Michael Blair sprays 2015 Supersport Champion Callum Spriggs with the champagne - 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship - Image by YRD
Michael Blair sprays 2015 Supersport Champion Callum Spriggs with the champagne – 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship – Image by YRD

2015 has been somewhat of a rollercoaster for the shy young Queenslander. A chance to compete in the Asia Road Racing Series resulted in serious injuries during testing at Sepang after a high-side crash left Cal with a fractured vertebrae and an uncertain future. After also suffering injuries the previous season, it was a disheartening start to season 2015.

Spriggs bounced back but his injuries and the resulting subsequent lack of race fitness certainly held him back a little during rounds two and three of the Australasian Championship. The vertebrae injury also at play in the back of his mind and thus reigning in his aggression on the machine until he was 100 per cent fit.  Things started to come together again from round four onwards and Spriggs enjoyed a strong run home to earn the championship victories.

Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 - Sydney Motorsports Park Final - Callum Spriggs
Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 – Sydney Motorsports Park Final – Callum Spriggs

Callum Spriggs – “Coming into the final round I was 11-points ahead of Brayden (Elliott) but I was starting from the second row, P5 for all three races so I knew anything could happen. By race three Brayden had closed the gap down to two-points, so the final race down to whoever crossed the line first out of the two of us. I got probably the worst start I have ever had and ended up being pushed back to sixth. I saw Brayden was in second place and thought it was going to be tough and that perhaps the title was probably out of my reach.

“I eventually got through the pack and up to third place and that’s how we crossed the line…Brayden second, myself third, and I believed that Brayden had the Championship win. However, it turned out we were both on 373-points, and after a race win count back of the Series I was told during my interview I had actually won the championship thanks to earning one more race victory during the season.

Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 - Sydney Motorsports Park Final - Callum Spriggs - Troy Guenther - Michael Blair
Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 – Sydney Motorsports Park Final – Callum Spriggs – Troy Guenther – Michael Blair

“I want to congratulate Brayden especially, he has been a champion rival all year and along with Michael Blair, the battles have been close but clean. Also a special congrats to Troy Gunther for his first win.”

“Ive worn the #2 plate for two seasons now and I really wanted the#1 this year. I am very happy and proud of my achievement especially after such a tough year. The support of my family and for believing in me, even when I doubted myself, my crew Mat Graham and Frank Pons and my awesome supporters.”

2015 Supersport Champion Callum Spriggs with the champagne - 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship - Image by YRD
2015 Supersport Champion Callum Spriggs with the champagne – 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship – Image by YRD

“My plans for 2016 will be announced in the coming weeks.” concluded the likeable young Queenslander.

Callum Spriggs, Michael Blair - 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship
Callum Spriggs, Michael Blair – 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship

Brayden Elliott’s crew were obviously disappointed to lose out on the title in such agonisingly close circumstances.

Brayden Elliott: “First of all I want to say thank you to my family, Phil Tainton and Shawn Giles for making this year possible. They have all put in huge amounts of effort and I sincerely owe our improvements and achievements to everyone that has helped out behind the scenes. Also congratulations to Callum (Spriggs) and Michael (Blair), it’s been great battling all year with riders you can have confidence with out on track.

“Looking back on the Championship, I think we have far exceeded all expectations. Entering round one starting my second year road racing, I don’t think many people considered me a serious Championship contender and also disregarded the Suzuki as being competitive as it hadn’t been on the podium for a few years. To win round one and maintain that Championship lead all year, being the only Suzuki rider was very satisfying and also rewarding to get results that showed the effort and determination put in.

Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 - Sydney Motorsports Park Final - Brayden Elliott
Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 – Sydney Motorsports Park Final – Brayden Elliott

“As we all know, the rule to drop a round worked heavily against me but at the end of the day we knew the situation and it could have gone either way. I knew entering the final round eleven points down was a big ask but surrounded by a supportive family backed team we all had nothing but belief it could be done.

“I certainly have no regrets as I know I gave it 100% and to gain back all eleven points over three races is something to be proud of. When I finished the final race knowing I had come equal first for the Championship, I thought I had won expecting the points to go back to the seven rounds we had raced, meaning a victory by eleven points. Unfortunately for myself that wasn’t the way it ended up and I was awarded with second position by count back.”

“Winning the final round was a good way to finish 2015 with our heads held high knowing we never gave up and continued to fight back. Taking away the positives, I know these are the situations that will only make me a better and stronger rider in the future.”

Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 - Sydney Motorsports Park Final - Brayden Elliott - Supersport - GSX-R600
Swann Australasian Superbike Championship 2015 – Sydney Motorsports Park Final – Brayden Elliott – Supersport – GSX-R600

Finishing in second place for the round was Michael Blair on the Finson Yamaha YZF-R6. The 21-year-old got the ball rolling when he took out race one by .305 seconds before finishing with a second and fourth place in the remaining two races. In the final race, Blair was really struggling with grip and had a few moments during the course of the race, so decided to settle for eighteen championship points. Blair openly admitted that he had a few tyre grip and setup issues over the weekend.

“It’s nice to finish on a high,” said Blair. “We had a few ups and downs during the course of the year. We can leave Sydney Motorsport Park with our heads high and go into the off-season and train real hard, then back firing for 2016.” 

Michael Blair, Callum Spriggs, Brayden Elliott - 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship
Michael Blair, Callum Spriggs, Brayden Elliott – 2015 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship

Blair took out third place overall in the ASC championship with 345-points on the board.

YRD Supersport 2015 Final Championship Standings
  1. Callum Spriggs – 373
  2. Brayden Elliott – 373
  3. Michael Blair – 345
  4. Troy Guenther – 315
  5. Kyle Buckley – 259
  6. Brad Swallow – 228
  7. Jay Presepio – 220
  8. Luke Mitchell – 213.5
  9. Cambridge Olivier – 205
  10. Paul Young – 204
Round Seven Results – Sydney Motorsport Park
  1. Brayden Elliott – 69
  2. Michael Blair  – 65
  3. Troy Guenther – 59
  4. Callum Spriggs – 58
  5. Kyle Buckley – 49
  6. Mitch Levy – 43
  7. Brad Swallow – 42
  8. Luke Mitchell – 41
  9. Ben Blyth – 39
  10. Cambridge Olivier – 31