Bugden dominates Swann Superbikes Round Four at SMP

Robbie Bugden virtually unchallenged in fourth round of Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship
Ipone Superbike Race One

Matt Walters streaked into turn one with the nose of the Kawasaki Connection ZX-10R in front of Friday victor Robbie Bugden and Ben Burke.  Michael Blair pushed his Yamaha YZF-R1 past Burke for third place as they started lap two but up front Walters and Bugden had already pulled the pin and by the start of lap two had 1.5-seconds over their pursuers. Beau Beaton relegated Burke to fifth place halfway around lap two to make it three different manufacturers in the top four.

Matt Walters, Robbie Bugden, Ben Burke, Michael Blair - Image by Keith Muir
Matt Walters, Robbie Bugden, Ben Burke, Michael Blair – Image by Keith Muir

On lap three Walters and Bugden really started dusting each other up, changing order three times in the first three turns.  Two-seconds behind that battle Beaton had worked his way past the YZF-R1 of Blair to put the Ducati into firm podium contention.

As the opening race passed the halfway mark Bugden dipped into the 1m31s to break Walters and pull a sizeable margin over his young challenger.

Matt Walters was not ready to give up the chase, but it all came to an end on the ground at turn eight, the 23-year-old going down and while he bounced up okay his ZX-10R failed to proceed out of the gravel trap.

Bugden had it all his own out front but the battle for second place was a ripper. Michael Blair doing everything he could to challenge Beaton for second place, he tried around the outside, up the inside but an out of the seat moment exiting turn 12 for Blair cost him any chance of trying to out-drag the Ducati to the line, Beaton taking that second place by less than a tenth of a second.

In Parc Ferme though things were not completely clear, as there was some talk that might have been a pass under yellow during that titanic tussle for second place. It took some time for the situation to become clear, a lot longer than it should have in fact, but eventually Beaton was deemed to have made two passed under yellow at turn six, and thus was relegated two positions in the final results. 

Bugden the clear victor and clearly the in-form rider here at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend. Would Walters be able to bounce back an regain some pride by getting one over the five-time NZ Superbike Champion later in the day….

Ipone Superbike Race One Results
  1. Bugden
  2. Blair 7.63
  3. Burke 10.33
  4. Beaton 7.54 (judged to have passed under a yellow flag and demoted)
  5. Wilkinson 13.59
  6. De Leon 31.46
  7. McIntyre 32.66
  8. Baker 33.42
  9. Purcell 51.54
  10. Breese 73.87
Ipone Superbike Race Two

Due to his tumble in race on Walters had to start from the rear grid for the second seven-lap Superbike out held under overcast conditions at Sydney Motorsports Park just after 1300 this afternoon.

Robbie Bugden, Ben Burke, Michael Blair - Image by Keith Muir
Robbie Bugden, Ben Burke, Michael Blair – Image by Keith Muir

Bugden took off at the front and was never headed.  Behind the 36-year-old Beau Beaton and Ben Burke were engaged in battle over second place, by lap two though Beaton proved the more determined of the two and put a great pass on Burke for second place and then pulled away from the #60 Kawasaki, who was in turn being chased by Michael Blair.

Ben Burke, Michael Blair - Image by Keith Muir
Ben Burke, Michael Blair – Image by Keith Muir

By half race distance Walters had progressed through the field to fifth place and was closing in on Michael Blair to challenge fourth place. But there was not enough laps left for Walters to get anywhere near close enough to mount a serious tilt at Blair.

Bugden unchallenged and just did the times he needed to in order to maintain a safe gap to Beau Beaton on the Ducati.  Bugden the victor by 3.7-seconds over Beaton, with Burke a further 1.3-seconds behind completing the rostrum.

Beau Beaton - Image by Keith Muir
Beau Beaton – Image by Keith Muir
Ipone Superbike Race Two Results
  1. Bugden
  2. Beaton 3.44
  3. Burke 4.96
  4. Blair 6.14
  5. Walters 10.48
  6. Wilkinson 11.65
  7. McIntyre 25.32
  8. De Leon 25.60
  9. Baker 27.64
  10. Purcell 41.53
Ipone Superbike Race Three

Robert Bugden again led the field through turn one and this time it was Beau Beaton immediately on his tail as Walters and Blair tussled over third place through the first few turns.

Beaton tried valiantly to stay with Bugden but after two laps the Kawasaki man had already started stretching away, the gap 1.7-seconds, and Walters a further second behind in third place after pulling away from Blair.

Walters steadily clawed back that ground on Beaton over the next few laps, making his move up to second place with three laps to go. Beaton was determined not to let the Kawasaki Connection man get away, and stayed glued to the rear of the ZX-10R over the final laps.

Likewise Ben Burke was all over the back of Michael Blair to try and steal fourth place in the closing stages of the race.

Robbie Bugden completed a totally dominant performance with a handsome eight-second victory and a 1m31.546 fastest lap of the race.

Matt Walters managed to keep Beaton at bay to claim second place while Blair managed to hold Ben Burke out to hang on that fourth place.

Robbie Bugden now enjoys a 30-point lead over Ben Burke in the race for the Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship. Things are still far from over though with two rounds still remaining.

Round five will be played out at Queensland Raceway on the final weekend in October while the championship finale will be staged as two-day twilight meeting on the weekend of December 16-17.

Ipone Superbike Race Three Results
  1. Bugden
  2. Walters 8.486
  3. Beaton 9.114
  4. Blair 9.847
  5. Burke 10.07
  6. Wilkinson 21.84
  7. Swallow 26.160
  8. McIntyre 26.624
  9. Baker 28.914
  10. De Leon 31.263
Ipone Superbike Championship Standings
  1. Bugden 275
  2. Burke 245
  3. Blair 219
  4. Walters 209
  5. Beaton 187
  6. Wilkinson 174
  7. Byrne 136
  8. Swallow 126