The third and final eight-lap 600 Supersport race of the third round of the 2018 YMF Australian Superbike Championship got underway at 1215 this afternoon in perfect conditions at the new Bend Motorsport Complex.
Max Croker again stole the holeshot from pole-sitter Cru Halliday to lead the Supersport field through the opening turns ahead of local rider John Hunt. The South Australian certainly showing a few of the ASBK Supersport regulars up here this weekend with his turn of speed.
Croker managed to keep the GSX-R600 at the front of the field before Toparis managed to sneak past him late on the opening lap. Croker tried to come back at him but Toparis held on and the Kawasaki man led across the stripe to start lap two with Croker and Halliday right behind as John Hunt tried to stay with him.
Croker tried valiantly to maintain the pace of Halliday and Toparis but he could only do it for so long before the Suzuki started to look a little untidy and eventually he had to decide discretion was the better part of valour and allow that leading pair to start slowly pulling away from him.
Halliday managed to move past Toparis with a little over five laps to run. The YRT man then immediately started walking away from his pursuers and again proving that on a clear track nobody had a chance of running with him here this weekend.
Giuseppe Scarcella was fired up for this bout and as the race approached half distance he squeezed past Croker and the two battled down the main straight only for Scarcella to come off second best as they hit the brakes for turn one and lose a couple of positions as a result. Zac Johnson then took his turn to attack Croker over that third position.
Up front Halliday had been stringing 1m56s together and he was the only man to get in that time bracket all race.
The action on track was still unfolding over that battle for third place. Scarcella had recovered the ground he lost at turn one a couple of laps earlier to close up on Croker again but Johnson looked perhaps too strong for him and held sway on that third position with two laps to run.
At the last lap board Halliday maintained a four-second lead over Toparis, who was now starting to come under surprise attack from Zac Johnson. Toparis had Johnson alongside him under brakes at some points on the final lap but the Goulburn youngster held on to take that second place while Johnson scored his first ever ASBK Supersport podium. With fourth place though it was Max Croker that scored the overall podium for the round.
Cru Halliday takes a perfect haul of 76-points to now lead the championship by 12-points over Toparis.
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