Swann Superbikes 2016 – Round Five – Queensland Raceway
Words by Trevor Hedge – Images by Keith Muir
Superbike Race One Report
The opening Superbike race took a few attempts to get underway. A rider dumped a lot of oil at turn three during the warm up laps. The riders then gridded up as a crashed motorcycle was recovered and the track cleaned. As you would expect, riders were left so long on the grid that they again were granted two more warm up laps before the restart.
When sent out for more warm up laps the riders were not happy with the efforts that had been made to clean the dirty part of the track, and had the scheduled start put back a couple of times before they were ready to race.
When the opening bout finally got underway just before 1130 this morning the track temperature was already over 55-degrees according to Computime’s measurements. Dunlop measured the track at 46-degrees, as they use a different method to take track temperature in comparison to Computime.
The battle for the race win was a two-man affair between Robbie Bugden and Michael Blair with the Kawasaki man making a small slip-up towards the end of the race that allowed Blair to take the advantage and go on to win the close fought affair by 0.319 of a second.
Matt Walters led most of the opening lap before running wide and losing some ground, and from thereon in the Cessnock Kawasaki played catch up before again making a small mistake that put him out of touch with the leading duo.
Craig McMartin took a very strong fourth place, challenging Waters for third at times and getting the better of his Racer’s Edge teammate Beau Beaton to be the top finishing Ducati. An on again and off again racer, and competing in only his second race this season, McMartin’s speed hugely impressive.
Superbike Race One Results
- Michael Blair
- Robbie Bugden +0.319
- Matt Walters +3.968
- Craig McMartin +4.778
- Beau Beaton +5.307
- Ben Burke +5.840
- Brad Swallow +10.800
- Liam Wilkinson +10.877
- Brendan McIntyre +19.416
- Dominic De Leon +21.962
Superbike Race Two
Robbie Bugden scored the holeshot in the second nine-lap Superbike encounter ahead of Michel Blair, Matt Walter and Craig McMartin but by lap two Blair had been pushed back to fifth place.
McMartin had made some changes to his Panigale R for this second bout and came out much harder in this one, but so did his Racer’s Edge teammate Beau Beaton and the Coffs Harbour ride sneaked past McMartin to take third place and the pair then closed dramatically on Matt Walters, who had started to lose touch with Bugden.
As the race approached the halfway distance Ben Burke started to show his speed with a new fastest lap of the race, a 1m10.646 but with almost three-second to claw back on the race leaders he had his work cut out for him.
The battle for second place then really hotted up with Blair also putting his oar in and challenging for position as Beaton got the better of Walters for second place and Blair also was right in that mix, while McMartin had started to lose touch with that battle for second place and with three laps to run was also shuffled further back in the field as Ben Burke relegated the #41 Ducati back to sixth place. The changes McMartin made for this race not seeming to work out on the Panigale R.
As competitors got the last lap board Bugden was on his own, three-seconds ahead of Beaton, who had his hands very much full with Blair, Burke and Walters.
It was Ben Burke that saved his best for last to eclipse his fellow combatants to steal that second step on the rostrum and Michael Blair pipped Beaton out of third place by a gnat’s whisker. Walters home in fifth ahead of McMartin.
Superbike Race Two Results
- Burke +2.443
- Blair +2.656
- Beaton +2.676
- Walters +3.037
- McMartin +3.794
- Swallow +5.132
- Wilkinson +12.079
- McIntyre 16.164
- De Leon +19.653
Superbike Race Three
Ben Burke scored the holeshot in the third and final Saturday Superbike bout at Queensland Raceway as the nine-lap race got underway at 1520 this afternoon under sunny skies. Burke was quickly gazumped by an incredibly fast starting Beau Beaton who had taken some sort of medication between races, the Ducati man putting in a 1min-15sec from a standard start to lead Matt Walters across the stripe for the first time with a clear full-second lead.
Beaton was again the fastest man on lap two, the buffer out to 1.5-seconds by the end of lap two with Walters in second place, enjoying a couple of bike length break ahead of Ben Burke who was in close formation with Robbie Bugden.
Bugden then got his head down to move past Burke, and then Walters, to move up to second place. Robbie then banged in a 1m10.76, a respectable time on the control tyre in the near 50-degree track temperatures, to really start reeling in Beaton’s Ducati.
McMartin had been baulked early in the race and lost a lot of ground and this time around was never in the hunt for a podium.
Beaton was putting in consistent low 1m11s but Bugden was again in the tens on lap five, with four laps to run the gap was down to 7-tenths of a second. Clearly Bugden was not going to settle for second place.
Robbie took the lead with three laps to run, Beaton tried to come back at him, particularly under brakes, but Bugden was never headed, despite a valiantly determined effort from the Ducati man. In the end though Beaton had to give up the chase, or crash trying to stick with Bugden. Beaton nearly backed it off a little too far however as a fast finishing Michael Blair nearly got Beaton via a surprise rearguard action on the final lap, Beaton did claim that second position ahead of Blair though by a tenth-of-a-second.
In the final points wash up for the day however it was Blair that took second place overall for the round behind Bugden, while Beaton rounded out the overall podium.
While Bugden now has an almost unassailable lead heading into the December Eastern Creek finale, things have got very tight in the battle for second place, only seven points separate Blair, Burke and Walters.
Superbike Race Three Results
- Beaton +1.778
- Blair +1.926
- Burke +3.063
- Walters +3.554
- Wilkinson +11.738
- Swallow +12.073
- McMartin +17.868
- McIntyre +18.443
- De Leon +19.416
Superbike Saturday Round Points
- Bugden 72
- Blair 65
- Beaton 56
- Burke 55
- Walters 52
- McMartin 46
- Swallow 42
- Wilkinson 41
Saturday Superbike Series Points
- Bugden 312
- Blair 249
- Burke 245
- Walters 242
- Wilkinson 183
- Beaton 179