Troy Herfoss won a game of cat and mouse with Mike Jones in the opening 16-lap encounter on Sunday morning at Queensland Raceway, but while those two were tripping each other up closing in from behind was Cru Halliday, who nearly sprung a surprise on both of them over the course of the final lap.
Once again Halliday was left to rue his poor start, but he also didn’t quite have the pace to match Herfoss and Jones, both of which had dipped into the 67s during the race, while Halliday’s quickest had been a 68.231.
Glenn Allerton had started real strong, and his fastest lap of the race was quicker than Halliday’s, and it looked early on as though Allerton might have been in contention for a win but his tyre went away in a dramatic fashion from half-race distance.
Conversely, it looked as though Josh Waters was struggling for grip right from the off in the opening bout. The championship leader’s fastest lap was half-a-second off the pace of Herfoss and the McMartin Racing Team are making some changes ahead of the second bout to try and bridge that gap.
Max Stauffer took the chequered flag two-seconds behind Waters but the teenager’s fastest lap was a match for the championship leader. Max’s quickest a 68.427 on his third lap, he then put in three 68.6s in a row, and every lap was in the 68s until lap ten, when his front tyre started going away on him. His best performance in an Australian Superbike race to date.
Ted Collins took the chequered flag two-seconds behind Stauffer in race one, his fastest lap three-tenths slower than the teenager, but Collins had far superior pace to Max in the last four laps of the race.
Broc Pearson was a further two-seconds behind Collins at the chequered and managed a string of 68s early on before drifting into the 69s from half-race distance.
Bryan Staring will be out make amends for his turn three mishap in the opening encounter.The Western Australian also needs to find a bit more speed if he is to challenge the front runners.
Troy Herfoss capitalised on his pole position to lead the field away but Mike Jones had the inside line for turn one and swept through to the lead, Josh Waters third, Cru Halliday fourth, Max Stauffer fifth ahead of Glenn Allerton. Ted Collins ran in way too deep at turn three and lost a lot of time.
Mike Jones put his head down from the off, a 1m12.784 from a standing start good enough to give him the lead by half-a-second after the opening lap. Herfoss second, Waters third, Halliday fourth, Allerton up to fifth. The entire top five all recording 68.4s and 68.5s on their first flying lap. A couple of bike lengths between each of them. A little further back was Bryan Staringin sixth ahead of Max Stauffer and Broc Pearson but the DesmoSport Ducati went down on lap four.
Herfoss made a move on Jones at turn three but the defending champion simply swept back past on exit, only for Herfoss to then get him again on the run to turn four. Game on…
11 laps to run and Herfoss led Jones as Waters, Halliday and Allerton gave chase. Only a second covering that top five as they started lap six. It started to look as though Allerton was now struggling to stay in that group as his tyres went away. And then there were four…
It looked as though the changes that McMartin Racing had made to the V4 R of Waters had improved the motorcycle for this bout. The Ducati moving around a lot less and able to maintain the rage with 68.4 and 68.5s. As the race wore on though both Waters and Halliday started to struggle to stay with Jones and Herfoss, that latter duo was a second down with five laps to run and it now looked as though they were out of the battle for the win, and instead now in their own battle for the final step on the rostrum.
Herfoss was maintaining his lead but couldn’t get away from Jones, that gap stagnant at around two-tenths. The defending champ perhaps biding his time for some last lap shenanigans… No, he didn’t wait that long, Jones forced his way under Herf and sent the Honda man wide to take the lead with three laps to run.
Herfoss back through to the lead on the next lap. Their tussle though not slowing them down enough for Halliday and Waters to get on terms with them.
Herfoss leads across the stripe at the last lap board but as they lapped Michael Edwards on the run to turn one, Herfoss up the inside, Jones the outside… Jones through to the lead at turn two… Holds Herfoss out at turn three, they run nose to tail towards turn four, Herfoss up the inside which pushes Jones wide… Jones gets great run out of turn five, up the inside of Herfoss at turn six, the Honda man switches back underneath him and we have a drag to the line…
Herfoss the winner! His second victory for the round, his second win for the year, and combined with pole position a perfect swag of 51-points to reduce the championship lead of Waters down to 18-points…
A good round for Mike Jones after what had been a somewhat lacklustre start to the year for the champ. He is now fifth in the championship, 56-points behind Josh Waters, and 38-points behind Troy Herfoss.
Cru Halliday crossed took third place after getting away from Josh Waters in the final laps. Then the cool down lap after pulling alongside Herfoss, Halliday clipped the back of the Penrite Honda, which resulted in Cru being pitched over the bars for a solid landing on his rump! I could say third place is better than a kick in the arse, but he got the kick in the arse too!
Glenn Allerton lost ground in the latter half of the race but still claimed good points for fifth place and is equal third in the championship with Halliday.
Max Stauffer got the better of Bryan Staring for sixth place to also take sixth for the round.
Ted Collins recovered from his early incident to claim 13-points for his eighth place finish and is currenty ranked sixth in the championship.
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