Things are already hotting up this morning at Sydney Motorsports Park as the grand finale of what has been a scintillating 2015 Swann Australasian FX Superbike Championship approaches it’s climax in a unique two-day twilight affair. The evening schedule adds even more anticipation into what is a tense and pressure filled final race meeting of the year for the pinnacle of Australia’s road racing talent. There can be only one champion…
Promoter Terry O’Neill could not have scripted a better ending to the season than what presents before us.
Reigning champion Wayne Maxwell swapped from the championship winning Team Honda to campaign the 2016 season with Yamaha Racing Team and the all new YZF-R1. As expected, the R1 package has been gaining strength as the year has progressed. At the opening round here early in the year the R1 had great pace out of the box but could not make its rear tyre last race distance. Thus despite the Yamaha trio’s amazing qualifying pace come race day it turned out to be a weekend of Team Honda dominance.
Things have ebbed and flowed back and forward as the season has progressed from there, the Yamaha making strong leaps forward in tyre longevity and pace. Check out our extensive mid-season recap to revisit the first half of season 2015 and to see how we got to here.
The circuit breaker came late in October at Winton Motor Raceway. It was expected that Team Honda would be very strong on the tricky Winton circuit but Maxwell was completely dominant. Herfoss rode the wheels off the Fireblade but could not match Maxwell at Winton, the Goulburn rider’s frustration was palpable. Thus Herfoss’s series lead was whittled down to nothing at Winton, the ex teammates left the Victorian circuit equal on the championship ladder, 316 points apiece.
Another rider not out of the game though is Glenn Allerton. As the Sydneysider joked on social media recently, don’t forget about the ‘angry ranga’.Allerton has been coming on stronger as the season has progressed and is only 24-points adrift of the leading pair. There are 75 points up for grabs come Saturday, so Allerton is certainly not out of the running if misfortune befalls either, or both, of the two championship favourites.
Troy Herfoss was quick out of the box this morning with a 1m30.893 that set the cat among the pigeons. Herfoss was delighted with his time but said he started the session out tight, perhaps a little nervous even, but then got his head down and strung together a fantastic lap to stop the clocks on that 1m30.893 on the fourth of his eight laps.
Wayne Maxwell was second quickest with a 1m31.487 but seemed, outwardly at least, unperturbed by the pace displayed by Herfoss. Maxwell’s time, 0.594 of a second behind Herfoss, was set on the seventh of his eight laps. The defending champion split his morning session between two motorcycles, and commented afterwards that his time was set on a ‘practice bike that had very few trick bits on it’.
Cru Halliday was third quickest out of the blocks with a 1m31.603 ahead of Allerton’s 1m31.724 and Jamie Stauffer’s 1m31.780.
Mike Jones was sixth quickest with a 1m32.051 ahead of Matt Walters and Ben Burke.
The second Superbike practice session got underway around midday and it was again Herfoss that topped the timesheets, laying down a new 1m30.589 marker to Maxwell’s 1m3.841. Third quickest in the second session was Mike Jones who got the ZX-10R down to a 1m31.185 to push Glenn Allerton back to fourth place.
Today there is one Superbike race only, a 12-lap encounter that is scored at double points for the AFX-SBK Championship. That race will get underway around 1830-1900 this evening, or thereabouts. So time to get out here after work!
Tomorrow is the main day when the premier championship title is fought for over the final three 12-lap bouts. On track action gets underway with morning warm-ups from 0930 with racing scheduled to start around 1030 and continuing on until around 1945.
Fox Sports channel 501 will show the Superbike action from Sydney Motorsport Park live from 5pm – 8pm, on Saturday 5th December, and live streaming of all Saturday’s races throughout the day can be viewed right here at www.MCNews.com.au.
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