Swann Superbike Qualifying Report

Matt Walters take pole position ahead of Bugden for this evening’s Superbike races
Swann Superbikes 2016 - Matt Walters
Swann Superbikes 2016 – Matt Walters

Swann Australasian Superbike competitors were greeted by a sultry afternoon today at Sydney Motorsports Park as the assembled field of 104 competitors across the seven classes that make up the championship in 2016.

Notable absences in the paddock this weekend are of course Team Honda and the Yamaha Racing Team.  While the factory backed teams and their riders have exclusively contested the Swann Series over the past two seasons, both Team Red and Team Blue have been lured back to the Motorcycling Australia backed ASBK Championship for season 2016.

Thus the Superbike field is missing its regular high profile stars this season. While this is cetainly a blow to the appeal of the series to the spectator and race follower, it does open up new opportunities for the non-factory riders to shine. Returning the Swann Series, previously known as Formula Xtreme, and now in its 20th year, back to its privateer roots.

Robert Bugden is perhaps the most highly credentialed rider in the field but he was upstaged in qualifying today by Matt Walters. Bugden coasted to a halt on the main straight as the session concluded and his 1m32.608 best was pipped by Walters, the Cessnock rider clocking a 1m32.535 on the final of his six lap stint.

Behind the two Kawasaki riders was Michael Blair, the 21-year-old central coast rider stepping up to Superbike this season on a Yamaha YZF-R1. 

Ben Burke was the final man in the 32s ahead of Paul Byrne, the Irishman debuting one of the championship winning Team Honda Racing Fireblade SP machines from season 2015 here this weekend.

Beau Beaton qualified sixth on a Ducati Panigale ahead of Brad Swallow (Kawasaki), Brendan McIntyre (Suzuki), Liam Wilkinson (Yamaha) and Matthew Harding (Kawasaki) rounded out the top ten.

A fair mix of machinery is on display in the Superbike category with all Japanese manufacturers represented, along with BMW, Ducati and Aprilia riders also in the mix.

The Superbike category has 2 x 7 lap races this afternoon, followed by 3 x 7 lap races tomorrow.

This weekend is a twilight event across Friday and Saturday and no racing will take place on Sunday. A format trialled in the season finale last year that met with almost universal acclaim, and thus is also being used at selected rounds this season. Racing on each day is scheduled to conclude around 1900.

FX Superbike Qualifying Results
  1. Walters 1m32.535
  2. Bugden 1m32.608
  3. Blair 1m32.807
  4. Burke 1m32.978
  5. Byrne 1m33.260
  6. Beaton 1m33.479
  7. Swallow 1m35.424
  8. McIntyre 1m35.584
  9. Wilkinson 1m36.162
  10. Harding 1m36.425
  11. Byles 1m36.472
  12. Purcell 1m38.374
  13. De Leon 1m38.563
  14. Yusuf 1m38.629
  15. Ivkovic 1m39.482
  16. Desker 1m39.761
  17. McCarthy 1m40.402
  18. Breese 1m40.608
  19. McMurray 1m41.809
  20. Binks 1m47.063
Swann Superbikes 2016 - Cambridge Olivier
Swann Superbikes 2016 – Cambridge Olivier

Cambridge Olivier (Yamaha) set the Supersport pace with a 1m36.098 more than a full second quicker than Sam Muldoon (Kawasaki) and Mark Chiodo (Triumph).

FX Supersport Qualifying Results
  1. Olivier 1m36.098
  2. Muldoon 1m37.171
  3. Chiodo 1m37.407
  4. Carlsson 1m37.946
  5. Buckley 1m38.025
  6. Knight 1m38.426
  7. Masri 1m41.207
  8. Spinks 1m41.526
  9. Bourne 1m41.700
  10. Shipp 1m41.992