2015 Swann FX-ASC Pre-Season Form Guide
By Trevor Hedge
Swann Australasian FX Superbike Championship Season 2015 is shaping up to be a ripper but the unknown quantity at this stage is how long it is going to take Team Yamaha to turn their new YZF-R1M into a competitive package. And to be frank, the answer to that question is laregly going to decide the outcome of the FX-ASC Championship.
The new Yamaha is expected to have a significant horsepower advantage over the Honda Fireblade SP, which is unchanged for 2015.
But, as we have seen in recent seasons, a surfeit of horsepower can often turn into a handicap. One only look at the struggles BMW riders have had in putting their clear power advantage to the ground on a control tyre at Australian circuits.
With the new YZF-R1M arriving so late in the piece, Yamaha have had very little time to arrive at a comfortable baseline setting for their riders to work from. It seems as though it will not be until they unload the bikes on Friday at round one will the riders really be able to start dialling the new R1 in to their individual preferences. The machines are not even in YRT livery as yet so we can’t even show you what they are going to look like!
It is fair to say Cru Halliday outshone his Yamaha teammates in 2014, and if pre-season testing talk is to be believed, he out-paced both Wayne Maxwell and Glenn Allerton during their first shakedown hit-out on the all-new 2015 YZF-R1M. That said, however, Cru has spent his entire road racing career on a Yamaha and thus would be expected to perhaps get to grips with the machine the quickest, especially surrounded by the team environment he is accustomed to.
I was impressed at Cru’s new found aggression in season 2014 and I would like to see that progression continue through season 2015.
Cru is 26-years-old, has been in a top-flight team for a number of years and now with that all new R1 underneath him it is his year to pull out all stops, really make his mark and bring home the bacon.
To do that Cru is going to have to be able to fend off the determined challenges of his new teammates, Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell. Both already have a string of Superbike Championship Titles under their belt along with a huge amount of experience.
Wayne Maxwell is the defending Swann Australasian FX Superbike Champion, backing up on the 2013 ASBK Championship he won on a Suzuki. Two top-flight Superbike Titles in two years on two different brands of machinery. Can Wayne make it three in a row on three different brands of machinery…?
Maxwell has moved to Yamaha from Team Honda, while Allerton has joined the tuning fork brigade from BMW, and will be seeking to make amends and restamp his authority after a fairly disappointing season 2014.
With a new machine to develop and a new team to fit into, it will be interesting to see how the battle of wills unfolds at Team Yamaha.
Will the riders work together for a common good? Or will it be an internecine conflict of epic proportions as they struggle to get on top of each other? Let alone their competition over in the red corner…
After coming back to road racing in 2014, Troy Herfoss now has a full year of experience under his belt at Team Honda on the Fireblade SP. With a fully developed race machine underneath him and good team support around him, 2015 is perhaps the best chance the 28-year-old may get to add an Australasian Superbike Championship crown to the Australian Supersport, Dirt Track and Supermoto Titles already in his Goulburn trophy cabinet.
With Jamie Stauffer struggling to be fit enough to ride at round one, after breaking his pelvis at the World Superbike support events, the Kurri Kurri veteran faces a tough start to the season. But Jamie is determined to try and ride, even if far from his best, to ensure he can grab a few points at the season opener.
It is a long seven-round season, and even starting out on the back foot where he will have to grimace through pain, Jamie is always Mr Consistency and will be in with a chance right to the end.
Those five are of course the obvious title candidates. The outsider chances are perhaps Mike Jones and Linden Magee.
At the end of last season Jones was coming on quite strong under trying conditions at Sydney Motorsports Park, and with three rounds at the circuit this year, and the extra support of being part of Ben Henry’s Cube Racing squad, Jones could surprise many.
Magee is making the transition from a BMW to a Team Honda prepared Fireblade SP and early indications suggest Magee and the Honda could perhaps be a match made in heaven. With his recent success in New Zealand Magee has had perhaps more comeptitive seat time of late than the rest of the field, and could be a threat if things fall his way.
Who would I like to see win? A rider without a Superbike Title to their name I would like to see claim the #1 plate in 2015, preferably that means none of the above…. Let’s have some new blood lift the Superbike silverware…
After the Sydney Motorsports Park season opener at Sydney Motorsports Park in late March the FX Series then heads to South Australia’s Mallala Raceway on the weekend of May 15-17.
The third round of the series sees competitors return to Sydney Motorsports Park on the last weekend in June before heading to Queensland Raceway in mid-August for round four.
Wakefield Park is the venue for round five on the last weekend in September before the series heads further south to Winton on October 23-25, the weekend following the Australian MotoGP round at Phillip Island. Allowing those riders competing in the Phillip Island Championship as support categories to both the WSBK and MotoGP weekends to move immediately to Winton before the majority of those competitors have to wind their way back further north to home.
The 2015 series finale will be staged at Sydney Motorsports Park on the first weekend in December. And adding a further twist to the series finale is that racing will be conducted until 8pm on the Friday and Saturday evenings. The shape of the final round’s full schedule is still taking shape, but it is looking likely that the final will be a two-day event run as day-night meetings across the Friday and Saturday only. The finale will also witness three long races rather than two short races.
The 2015 series finale will be staged at Sydney Motorsports Park on the first weekend in December. Adding a further twist to the series finale is that racing will be conducted up until 8pm on the Friday and Saturday evenings. The shape of the final round’s full schedule is still taking shape, but it is looking likely that the final will be a two-day event run as day-night meetings across the Friday and Saturday only. The finale will also witness another first for the FX-ASC series that being three long races for the premier Superbike class rather than two long races that will happen at the other two SMP rounds.
It’s shaping up to be a long and exciting year of competition, round one can’t come soon enough!