Reid Battye wins 300 Supersport opener after hectic battle with Tom Edwards
Reid Battye started the maiden newly named Supersport 300 Championship race of 2017 from pole position alongisde fellow youngsters Tom Edwards and Zac Levy.
Battye made good on his pole position to lead the field through turn one as Zac Levy moved past Tom Edwards to take second place and young Billy Van Eerde on the KTM RC390 shot from ninth on the grid in to fourth position by halfway around the first lap.
As the 42-rider field streamed across the start-finish line for the first flying time only half-a-second covered the top five but it was Jack Mahaffy making huge strides forwards, the Yamaha R3 rider was in the lead by halfway around lap two but then had an unceremonious exit and was out of the race, from hero to zero in one foul swoop. Both Mahaffy and Levy going down.
14-year-old dirt track star Billy Van Eerde then hit the lead with six laps to run but was then ran down by Battye and Edwards again and shuffled back to third place.
Scott Nicholson was the fastest man on the track, for two consecutive laps the Kawasaki rider put in 1m51s to work his way forward to seventh place, where he was engaged in battle with Drew Sells, who was the only other rider to record a 1m51 by the halfway stage of the eight-lap race.
As the second half of the race started it was a clear battle out front between Reid Battye and Tom Edwards, the pair were also now down to the 1m51s and had pulled out over a second on their pursuers.
Brandom Demmery and Billy Van Eerde responded also though, and joined that leading duo in the 1m51s.
Laura Brown then upped the ante further with a 1m50.5 to draw alongside Battye and Edwards, coming with here was Van Eerde, Demmery, Ford, Sells and Nicholson. Things had tightened up markedly, with two laps to run only 2-seconds covered that entire top eight.
At the last lap board Reid Battye and Tom Edwards crossed the line side-by-side, while Billy Van Eerde, Laura Brown, Scott Nicholson and Hunter Ford gave chase.Brandom Demmery and Drew Sells had lost touch with that leading group, but out of the top six, it was still anyone’s…
For the final run around the back of the circuit two riders pulled away to stand out from the rest, Battye and Edwards went bar to bar around the final 4.445km circuit of Phillip Island, the pair separated by only 8-hundredths of a second at the line, but the young man with his nose in front at that vital juncture was 15-year-old Reid Battye, our race one winner for 2017.Tom Edwards an achingly close second place.
“It was a good race, but a tough race. The strategy was to get into the slip stream if I was trailing, but it was hard to manage because I was only just out front. I can’t believe how close that was! I’m looking forward to being faster in the next one!”
Rounding out the podium was Billy Van Eerde on the KTM RC390 ahead of the first Yamaha man home, Hunter Ford.
Australian Supersport 300 Championship 2017 – Round One – Phillip Island – Race One
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