Superbike stars look to bridge points gap at Queensland Raceway
Ipswich’s Queensland Raceway will host the next two rounds of the QBE Australian Superbike Championship and could prove make or break in the hunt for overall spoils in 2011.
Rival riders must step up and challenge the charging Glenn Allerton this weekend if they are to remain in the hunt, with the 2008 champion racking up 3 round wins from 4 starts in the first-half of the season.
Despite his solid lead, Allerton said the last thing he could afford to do is drop his guard given the calibre of the riders trailing him.
“The pressure is definitely still on and I can’t give an inch to these guys,” said Allerton. “They’re hungry for wins and will jump at any chance, especially at Queensland Raceway which is a circuit everyone knows well.”
The Procon Maxima BMW pilot has kept his eye in between rounds by travelling to Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit to compete in the opening round of a domestic championship.
Allerton took the overall victory, surviving a heart-stopping moment in slippery conditions where he feared he would be high-sided from his bike.
“It was a bit of fun to race at Sepang and I’ll take any extra time I can get on the bike to prepare myself.”
While Allerton was in Malaysia, his closest championship rival Troy Herfoss was trying his hand at racing in the IDM Superbike League, Germany’s domestic series.
It was a chance call-up for the Team Suzuki pilot, currently placed second, and he relished the opportunity to race in a notoriously-competitive league.
“The weekend in Germany was a great experience,” said Herfoss. “The way the team runs and the championship in general is quite different from Australia but there is no better way to prepare for an ASBK round than actually being on track and racing.
“Getting used to the bike and different tyres meant that my results weren’t great on paper but I’m confident that I could make a big improvement if I was to go back again.
“I’m now focused on this weekend and am really looking forward to getting some good results at Queensland Raceway.
“It looks basic but it’s anything but. It’s a challenge to get a good lap around here – it’s not a favourite of mine but I know it pretty well and if given the respect it deserves then it can be rewarding to put in a good time.”
Like Herfoss, Demolition Plus GAS Honda’s Craig Coxhell has built his 2011 campaign on consistency.
The 2003 Australian Superbike Champion admitted the opening rounds of the season were a struggle, but credited his team’s efforts to develop a bike that better suited his style.
Coxhell had a charging start in the second race at Barbagallo Raceway last month, leading for a series of laps before settling back into a comfortable top 5 finish.
“We’ve been moving forward consistently since Darwin,” said Coxhell. “We made some gains with a new suspension setup and it yielded some good results in Perth so we’re looking forward to improving even more this weekend.
“Our test at Queensland Raceway was positive and we took a lot from it. My best lap was in traffic and it was as quickest as the fastest lap last year which was positive.
“The floods earlier in the year seem to have made the bumps in turn 2 even rougher so it will be important to get that right to get a good run onto the back straight.”
The pointsleader may have a buffer but there is little separating the remainder of the top 10 riders in the Superbike ranks.
Four Honda Fireblades are chasing down lone Aprilia rider Ben Attard who has held onto third place in the championship with an impressive run on the RSV4 Factory.
Outside of this are three Suzuki GSX-R riders, all within striking distance. Local rider Robbie Bugden is back to peak performance after completing an extensive recovery program for a broken leg, and is trailed only slightly by Josh Waters who will jet in from the United States after his second World Superbike race with Yoshimura Suzuki.
Sunday’s pair of 17-lap races is shaping up to be some of the season’s best, with the spectator-friendly circuit set to provide excellent vantage points for those trackside.
Just 7 points separate the top four riders in an engaging QBE Supersport Championship battle which will resume this weekend.
Two Triumphs sit atop the points, with last round winner Mitchell Carr edging ahead of previous leader Christian Casella following an eventful Hidden Valley weekend.
Kevin Curtain is keeping a watching brief on his Yamaha Racing Team R6, just 3 points behind, and is sure to be contending for the lead after winning at Queensland Raceway last year.
Team Suzuki’s Brodie Waters is also looking to pounce after a challenging pair of races in the Top End.
Both classes will contest a final Superpole qualifying session, with the top 8 in Superbike and the top 4 in Supersport advancing.
Track position will be at a premium at Queensland Raceway and a good grid position will be essential for riders looking to make ground in their championship campaigns.
The standalone event sees a total of seven classes on track this weekend, including Superbike and Supersport.
|QBE Australian Superbikes Overall Points|
1. Glenn ALLERTON (VIC), 188
2. Troy HERFOSS (VIC), 130
3. Ben ATTARD (QLD), 129
4. Craig COXHELL (VIC), 123
5. Jamie STAUFFER (NSW), 119
6. Wayne MAXWELL (VIC), 101
7. Cole ODENDAAL (NSW), 98
8. Robert BUGDEN (QLD), 90
9. Joshua WATERS (VIC), 88
10. Ben HENRY (QLD), 75
|QBE Australian Supersport Overall Points|
1. Mitchell CARR (NSW), 110
2. Christan CASELLA (VIC), 108
3. Kevin CURTAIN (VIC), 105
4. Brodie WATERS (VIC), 103
5. Aaron GOBERT (NSW), 99
6. Rick OLSON (VIC), 89
7. Andy LAWSON (QLD), 69
8. Nicholas WATERS (VIC), 66
9. Glenn SCOTT (NSW), 62
10. Ryan TAYLOR (VIC), 58