Swann Superbikes 2016 – Round Three – Queensland Raceway
Riders recount their Sunday Swann Superbike adventures at Queensland Raceway
Interviews by Trevor Hedge – Images by Keith Muir
Robbie Bugden 22-25-25 / 73 – Championship Position 1st on 200 points
Race one we had a pretty good run, I had a really good race with Michael, but I made a couple of mistakes and he got that gap, and I couldn’t draw it back, I could match him, but he had that little bit on us, we were lacking a little bit of something in that race. Came back in and made some adjustments for the second race, was better off the turns in the second race, got to the front and I felt the bike was good straight away, and I knew I just had to put the laps together, I got plus zero, plus zero, plus zero on the pit board and then Michael went off, which was unfortunate, but from there I just bought it home. Race three again got out front and just set about putting the laps in, and built from plus zero to plus three and again just brought it home. It’s so great to be able to do this at my home round, in front of all my friends and family, it is an amazing feeling, over the moon.
Ben Burke 20-22-11 / 53 – Championship Position 2nd on 189 points
Race one I started from seventh, due to the crash yesterday, got off the line okay, engaged in battle with Matt Walters and managed to finish third, was a pretty hard race, made a few mistakes in the first couple of laps and that allowed the leaders to gap me by about a second, and I couldn’t reel that back in, so just had to settle for third. Race two, Matt Walters, got off to a good start and again battling with him while Robbie got away with Blair in pursuit. Blair then went down at turn three so then our battle was for second place, and I rode it home from there and was slowly catching Robbie but not close enough to challenge him for the win. The final race was another heated tussle with Walters, turns out both of us made mistakes and lost the front at the same turn as each other. That’s unfortunate as you can’t really afford mistakes in this championship, the points don’t really offer rewards for winning, so it is more about consistency, and I lost that in this final race, can’t make any more mistakes for the rest of the year.
Beau Beaton 16-13-22 / 51 – Championship Position 7th on 127 points
Race one, was tight, we tried a slightly different fork setting, it was good, but it improved us where we already had plenty in reserve, it improved our corner entry even further, but that’s not what we were looking for, we were chasing edge grip, we finished a comfortable fifth. The second race, I ran off on the second lap and was dead last, put some fast times in to get back up to eighth which gave me a second row start for that last race. That was good, I got off the line well, was staying with the front four, I watched Burke go down, then I watched Matty go down, had a tussle with Blair to the line and got it in a video replay finish. Can’t thank Craig McMartin enough for building me such a fantastic race bike, I just try do the Panigale R justice. Just fantastic out of the crate but he prepares them so well and they are so beautifully presented, a big thanks to him, Racer’s Edge, Race Dynamics and North Coast V-Twins.
Craig McMartin 14-18-18 / 50 – Championship Position 12th on 50 points (only round this year)
Race one wasn’t too bad, started from fifth, I used the tyre from qualifying in the first race, I lost a bit of pace as a result and ended up seventh, was okay but didn’t have the rear grip in that first race. Made a change for race two, went a little backwards, wasn’t quite as quick, started from seventh and then got lucky with the few DNFs which promoted me to fourth. Race three was again lucky with some guys DNF, I had put the bike back a little towards what I had in race one, and got back in the tens and ended up fourth overall. The Kawasaki guys were pushing very, very hard, they had a few crashes over the weekend, over the limit a little perhaps, but to finish ,first you must finish, so we will take what we can get. I was on a new bike that I only got about 6-8 weeks ago, a wonderful motorcycle, the Panigale R, just a set a slip-on mufflers and race fairings, still standard ABS, all electronics all standard etc.
Do you turn the ABS off for the races?
ABS is put on level one, which is front wheel only, no worries at all. On level one in race mode, basically meant no intervention all weekend, and the Ducati is so strong under brakes, it’s where we make up the most of our time, and still ABS doesn’t come on.
Liam Wilkinson 15-16-16 / 47 – Championship Position 6th on 128 points
A good day, can’t complain. Race one stated out really well, with the new tyres, managed to get in the 10s which was a main goal for the weekend. Race two was good again, low 11s on the old tyres, I was happy with that and was racing with guys I generally wouldn’t be up racing with, so that was good, and beat a few guys I normally wouldn’t normally beat, so it was a good weekend.
Feel as though you are making good forward progress on the Superbike?
“I believe so, we’re making good steps every time we race, little adjustments to the bike,fork kits and shock work etc. so getting faster and faster and closing the gap slowly.”
Michael Blair 25-0-20 / 45 – Championship Position 4th on 161 points
Race one was awesome, my first Superbike win, the Yamaha was working perfectly, couldn’t fault it. Then race two was the low of the weekend, a little front end lose at turn three, first crash on the Superbike out of the way. Started at the rear of the field in race three, managed to work my way up to fight for second but was pipped on the line, but overall a good weekend. Can’t thank my team and all my sponsors enough, Yamaha, Ipone for all their help getting me out on track, onwards and upwards from here.
Matt Walters 18-20-0 / 38 – Championship Position 3rd on 171 points
Didn’t get off the line well in the first race, I had a bit of a battle with Beau and Benny at the start, and then I fell back a little, the settings we had in the bike were not quite working for us. Things fell my way at the end of it, and ended up with fourth, which wasn’t too bad. Got a better start in race two, but faded a fair bit through the race towards the end, just struggled a lot with set up really, but the bike had got a little better. For race three we did a lot of major changes, went one way with the bike completely, to try and get a lead on it, it really worked but it was my fault I crashed, I just out-braked myself and couldn’t pull the thing up. Still, I’m happy to make that progress with the bike, but it’s not the result we wanted. I have lost a little ground in the championship, but not too much. I look forward to Eastern Creek which is generally a happy hunting ground, so I will be looking to win some races there.
The entry to that double left looked to be your achilles heel this weekend?
That’s always my weak point here at QLD Raceway, I am not sure why but I can never get it right. I have tried, tried and tried so hard, but I either out-brake myself and run on or mess up the entry and that turn, I just have to try and work it out, it was letting me down big time here today. I can kind of gauge people on it when I am behind, but I just need to work a little bit on my riding and move forward with it. At Eastern Creek we have a great base setting there from round one, we will be really strong there.
Paul Byrne 13-14-15 / 42 – Championship Position 5th on 136 points
We have been having some bike issues, the bike would run fine and then just start missing and not pull, we couldn’t find the fault, so jumped on the spare bike for the other races. That has a motor in that we didn’t know much about, and it had no power, at all, probably the slowest bike I have ever rode. On a positive note we didn’t crash anything too bad or like, and young Danny did well on the FZ-6 so at least someone did some good for the LTR team this weekend. We have to go back to the workshop now, and organise a test day and find these faults, my pace was there, as fast as 10.2 but just a few issues this weekend that held us back.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.