Superbikes set for Symmons Plains showdown
Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) riders will resume battle at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains Raceway this weekend, just days after a thrilling season opener at Phillip Island.
83 racers from the Superbike, Supersport, Prostock, Superstock and Superlites classes will face off, each aiming to tame the 2.4km circuit’s technical turns and heavy braking zones that connect two high-speed straights.
The talent pool in the Superbike class deepens for the second round with the return of Team Suzuki’s Josh Waters, fresh from his World Superbike debut last week.
The 2009 Australian Superbike Champion showed incredible speed and racecraft on the sport’s biggest stage, and is looking to carry this form into the Tasmanian event.
“The experience of racing against the best in the world was amazing,” said Waters. “There was a lot to learn and I took it in as best I could.
“Team Suzuki has been behind me the whole way and I am looking forward to getting back onto my regular race bike and re-focusing on the Australian Superbike Championship at Symmons Plains.
“I love the racetrack. It’s a quick lap but very challenging, and you need to be confident under brakes and steady at high speed.”
Waters predicted that a number of riders would factor in the results across the weekend’s two races.
“Glenn Allerton is looking quick after Phillip Island and he’s great at Symmons Plains so he’ll be a favourite for sure.
“My teammate Troy Herfoss had a great debut ride on the Superbike last weekend, and there are a handful of other riders also capable of winning.”
Allerton, who rode his Hepburn Motorsport BMW S 1000 RR to a clean sweep last weekend, returned the favour and felt Waters would be one of the frontrunners.
“Josh (Waters) rode the wheels off the bike last weekend, it would have been a tough experience coming to terms with World Superbikes in such a short space of time and I’m certain he will be pumped up,” said Allerton.
The overall winner at Symmons Plains in 2010, Allerton was looking forward to getting back on his BMW after a perfect debut.
“Winning at Phillip Island was a dream come true, but back-to-back rounds means we’re already focused on changing up the bike to suit the track at Tassie which is very different.
“I feel really comfortable riding here and I love the track, so I hope the weather holds out for us this weekend and we have a big crowd along to watch.”
Allerton will look to add to a 13-point lead over Troy Herfoss following the Suzuki Superbike rider’s successful debut.
Ben Attard rounds out the top three on his iStyle The Natural Aprilia Racing RSV-4 after an impressive Superbike debut with the Gold Coast-based Trinder Brothers Racing team.
Team Honda riders Jamie Stauffer and Wayne Maxwell will look to re-assert themselves in the championship chase after a tough showing at Phillip Island.
Stauffer is placed fifth and Maxwell is tenth, and both can make in-roads if their pre-season pace continues.
The Australian Supersport Championship ranks received a shake-up when privateer rider Aaron Gobert rode away with the round victory last weekend, showing speed and superior control in slippery conditions.
The win was a first for the 2004 AMA Superstock titleholder since returning to Australia in 2010, and he is hoping there is more to come.
“Winning the championship is what I hope to do even if we aren’t on a factory bike,” said Gobert, who has a 2-point lead over Yamaha Racing Team veteran Kevin Curtain.
“[Phillip Island] is kind of my bogey track on the calendar so it’s great to win there and hopefully we keep getting stronger from here.”
Kevin Curtain’s consistency saw him collect 40 points in Victoria, and he will need to stay in top form to prevent Team Suzuki’s Brodie Waters, just a point behind, from leap-frogging him on the ladder.
Yamaha riders sit atop the tables in the ASBK’s Prostock and Superstock classes for 1000cc and 600cc machines repectively.
The Prostock category stands alone this weekend after featuring as part of the Superbike grid at Phillip Island.
Cru Halliday, last year’s Prostock 1000 C&D class winner, has momentum on his side and will be tough to beat aboard the Yamaha R1.
Another packed Superstock field will need to stop the momentum of Mike Jones after a dominant performance in round 1.
Jones showed superior pace in practice and qualifying and converted this to pole and two race wins aboard his R6, and will look to deliver again in Tasmania.
The newly-named Superlites category, formerly the 125GP/250Mono, hits the track for its opening round this week.
15 racers will wrestle for points and position in the exciting class which has produced many past Superbike champions including Josh Waters and Bryan Staring.
Tickets to the event are available for purchase upon entry. Prices and a detailed schedule can be found at the official ASBK website – www.asbk.com.au.
Round 2 of 8, Symmons Plains Raceway
Superbike – 2 x 30 min qualifying, top 8 qualifiers to Superpole
Supersport – 2 x 30 min qualifying
Prostock* – 2 x 20 min qualifying
Superstock** – 2 x 20 min qualifying
Superlites*** – 2 x 20 min qualifying
Superbike – 2 x 12-lap races
Supersport – 2 x 12-lap races
Prostock* – 3 x 11-lap races
Superstock** – 3 x 10-lap races
Superlites*** – 3 x 10-lap races
Superbike – Glenn Allerton (Honda)
Supersport – Troy Herfoss (Suzuki)
Prostock* – Craig Coxhell (BMW)
(Superstock and Superlites did not race)
Superbike – Daniel Stauffer, 53.479
Supersport – Jason O’Halloran, 55.493
Prostock* – Craig Coxhell, 55.647
Superstock** – Jessie Austin, 57.960
Superlites*** – Blake Leigh-Smith, 1:00.681
Circuit length: 2.4km
* Previously known as Superstock 1000
Previously known as Superstock 600
Previously known as 125GP/250Mono