A look back at the biggest and best Kings of Wanneroo ever in 2008 – By Trevor Hedge
The Motorcycle Racing Club of WA hosted the largest contingent of international riders ever to visit the undulating 2.41km ribbon of tarmac that is Wanneroo Raceway in a star studded Kings of Wanneroo event staged in the pre GFC year of 2008.
The occasion was the annual contest for the title ‘King of Wanneroo’ and this year the event had an international flavour that helped to make for arguably the highest profile domestic road race event of the year.
The class may have been called ‘Superbike’ but essentially the machinery would have been more aptly titled ‘Superstock’. The machines were all locally sourced and prepared 1000cc sportsbikes with very limited modifications and all shod with Pirelli slicks to make the field as even as possible.
Superstock specification did not prevent Allerton and Staring recording 56 second lap-times in qualifying. Karl Harris and John Laverty joined them on the front row, the duo hot to trot and well pedigreed with five British Supersport Championships between them. The second row was headed by 2008 British Superbike Cup Champion Michael Laverty from Ian Lowry, Ben Henry and IOM TT winner Cameron Donald. AMA regular Damon Buckmaster qualified on the third row while ex British GP Champion Adrian Coates and IOM TT supremo Ryan Farquhar managed the fourth row of the grid. Irish legend Mike Swann piloted a stock KTM RC8 to the fifth row.
While things had gone smoothly enough for most in qualifying a melee at turn one in the opening race sent Bryan Staring off to hospital with a broken collarbone and Karl Harris was ruled unable to continue by medical staff after destroying his Shoei and taking a decent knock to the head.
After a very short delay the riders were again sent out for a warm-up lap with the front row reduced from four to two, only Allerton and John Laverty taking their positions ahead of row two starters Michael Laverty, Lowry, Henry and Donald. A great tussle developed between Allerton and John Laverty with Allerton narrowly besting the affable visitor.
Laverty got his own back in the next bout with a forceful pass at the final turn, evening the score to set up a brilliant decider.
Karl Harris suited up for the final contest after shrugging off the effects of the first race tumble. The Briton powered his Yamaha off the line to lead the field through turn one and sprinted off into the distance. Harris also enjoyed a full second lead over Allerton at the end of lap one after the Aussie Champ forged his way past Michael Laverty for second place. John Laverty was a strong fourth place and the trio of chasers quickly started to eat into Harris’s lead on lap two as the newly signed Hydrex Honda pilot started to struggle with the pain from his race one injuries. Allerton took the lead as they crossed the stripe to start lap three and went on to win his second King of Wanneroo crown.
As the host and organisational lynchpin for the international delegation, Irish Racer Magazine’s Paul Lindsay was perhaps the best person to sum up the feedback from the British Isles. “These guys have raced everywhere and they are telling me that they have never been treated like they have been here in Western Australia.
“It really was quite a risk and somewhat a leap of faith to bring such a well known field to what was essentially to us an unknown event but I have to say the professionalism of the club is simply mind blowing. The event ran like clockwork and the whole atmosphere was simply fantastic.”
Backing up the headline acts at the 2008 Kings of Wanneroo were classes for C&D Clubman 600, C&D Clubman 1000, Supersport and Superstock.
The Clubman 1000 category had plenty of excellent racing and was somewhat of a watershed event for road racing at Wanneroo. In a 20 strong field local girl Elizabeth Haren took a third, a second and two wins to win the even overall from Matthew Gould and Jarrad Church. Perhaps it is time for a Queen of Wanneroo Title?
The Supersport category saw some exciting tussles between Adam Senior and Cameron Keevers with Josh Trigwell and Queenslander Des Darby also getting in on the action up front from time to time.
A DNF in the second race cost Keevers dearly while Senior took three second places and a win to claim the overall Supersport win. The pair the only Supersport riders to dip into the 58 second bracket.
Sebastian Montague claimed the Superstock trophy with four wins. Lubomir Safrenak took second overall over the retiring Andrew Skinner.
In the 600 Clubman class newcomer to senior road racing ranks 16 year old Jack Coyle took top honours.
The most exciting supporting act to the Kings of Wanneroo solo meeting was the third and final round of the Australian Sidecar Championship.
Few people expected anyone to match the predictably blistering pace of ex World Championship competitor Shane Soutar and passenger Jeff Rowe. Local hotshots Dean and Darren Walker soon threw that prediction out the window as the two Suzuki powered outfits bashed fairings repeatedly throughout the opening laps of the first bout.
Soutar eventually managed to break away in the closing stages of the eight lap encounter, their fastest lap though being only 2-tenths quicker than the Walker brothers best with both getting into the 60 second bracket. This was a first for the Walker boys as the new level of competition helped them step their game up that little higher in order to meet the challenge.
The Walker brothers scorched off the line in the second bout and this time around it was Soutar’s turn to give chase. There was no way Soutar was going to be able to pass the home-grown heroes in the corners as the Walker boys virtually took up the whole track, their outfit completely sideways through the turns. Eventually Soutar managed to make a pass stick and without a broadsided sidecar in front of them at every turn, managed to break away from the Walker brothers to take the win.
Victory in the second race brought enough points for Soutar and Rowe to claim the 2008 Australian Sidecar Championship. While the Walker brothers took second at Wanneroo their overall season results placed them third in the Nationals. At 20 and 23 years of age the pair is injecting some much needed young blood into the sidecar scene. Their sister Alix and father Rodney also getting in on the act and taking out the Australian Championship in the poorly subscribed F2 category.
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