Team Suzuki rider Troy Herfoss has extended his points lead to 31 in the Australian Supersport Championship after two hard-fought races at the penultimate round of the series at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this past weekend.
Herfoss, who started from pole position on his Team Suzuki GSX-R600, was engaged in two thrilling 10-lap races with Christan Casella and Suzuki rider Brodie Waters. The 23 year old, who is only in his second full season of Supersport racing after swapping from Supermoto at the end of 2008, went elbow-to-elbow with his two adversaries in each race at a meeting run in conjunction with a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.
The Team Suzuki rider recorded the fastest lap in race one on his way to a 2.340-second victory over Waters, with Casella third. Waters had led the opening two laps, but Herfoss proved too strong in the latter part of the race.
“I had a couple of scary moments in race one when I nearly hit some seagulls, but I wasn’t sure how close Brodie was behind so I didn’t want to back off,” said Herfoss. “Then when I came around Turn 12 there was a tortoise trying to cross the track. I was pretty glad to see the checkered flag, that’s for sure.”
In race two Herfoss was engaged in another titanic battle with Casella and Waters, with Waters leading the opening four laps, then Casella the next three, before the Team Suzuki rider forced his way to the front for the next two laps. But a minor error at Turn 10 on the final lap saw Herfoss run slightly wide with Casella eventually winning a drag race to the finish line to take a 0.003sec win in a photo-finish. Waters was 0.967seconds back in third.
“I’m disappointed with my small mistake, but happy to have won the round and extended the championship lead,” said Herfoss.
With one round remaining, Herfoss leads the Australian Supersport Championship with 224pts ahead of Casella with 193 and Waters with 179.
In the Australian Superbike Championship Team Suzuki riders Shawn Giles and Robbie Bugden finished fifth and eighth overall after chasing a set-up they were comfortable with on the fast and challenging 4.45km Victorian circuit. The round was won by Wayne Maxwell from current championship leader Bryan Staring.
Giles, a three-time Australian Superbike Champion, finished fourth and seventh in each race after starting from the second row of the grid. The 40-year-old won an engaging battle with Suzuki rider Scott Charlton and Shannon Johnson in race one by just 0.770sec, but was unable to repeat the result in race two after getting away to a bad start. Giles’ 31-point haul from the two races sees the Team Suzuki rider just 6.5pts off third overall in the championship.
Bugden, a three-time New Zealand Superbike Champion, finished sixth and eighth in the two 10-lap races in his first outing on the Phillip Island circuit in 2010. Bugden missed the opening round of this year’s Australian Superbike Championship at Phillip Island in February as he was defending his 2009 New Zealand Superbike title.
With one round remaining Bryan Staring leads the series on 211pts from Wayne Maxwell 192.5, Glenn Allerton 149, Scott Charlton (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 143 and Shawn Giles 142.5.
Missing from the grid for Round Six’s two Superbike races was the Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 of reigning Australian champion Josh Waters, the 23-year-old still recovering from an accident in early July in the USA when testing for the US Suzuki Superbike team. Waters is expected to return for the final round in November.
The series now heads to Tasmania’s Symmons Plains Circuit on November 12-14 for the final round, to be run in conjunction with the V8 Supercars.
Phil Tainton – Team Manager:
“Troy’s performance this weekend again showed maturity beyond his years. For someone in just his second full season of road racing his results have been exceptional. Pole position, a win and a second this weekend have put Troy in a strong position for the 2010 Supersport championship as we head to the final round in Tasmania in November.
“It was a challenging weekend finding a set-up for the Superbike guys, especially with the changeable weather conditions. Phillip Island is a circuit that puts big demands on the rear tires of the Superbikes, and the heat generated through the fast corners is the highest we encounter on any circuit.
“I’m pleased with the overall weekend result and it’s good to win the round, but I’m disappointed with the small mistake I made in race two that cost me the win. It would have been good to win in front of the big Sunday crowd, although I’ve increased my points lead so I am happy with that because our focus is the championship.
“It was a close battle between Brodie (Waters), Christan (Casella) and myself in race two and I was sitting back planning my move. I wanted the win, not just to ride for the points. But I ran wide at Turn 10, and that allowed Christan to close up and then get by. The bike was awesome and the team did a great job. I’m looking forward to Tassie.”
“I was happy with the opening race, and winning the battle for fourth was a good result. Phillip Island is one of my favorite tracks, but it really punishes the tires because of the high speeds. It’s always a balancing act between grip and making the tires last the distance.
“We made some set-up changes for race two and I was confident of getting on the podium. But I got a bad start and got caught up in the pack in the early laps. The team worked non-stop all weekend, and kept making set-up changes until I had the confidence to push harder. I can’t thank them enough. I had one of the fastest bikes through the speed trap at 307km/h.”
“It was a challenging weekend for me as I haven’t raced at Phillip Island since the final round in November last year, so it was my first time here on the new control tires. Finding a good set-up on such a fast circuit is always a challenge, and losing a session on Friday because of the wet conditions didn’t help. But we made good progress every time we went out on the circuit.
“It’s just a pity the meeting wasn’t starting Sunday afternoon, as I feel I could have challenged for the podium.”
“It’s obviously disappointing not to be racing, but it’s important that I’m fully fit before I get back on the bike. Suzuki won’t let me rush my return because they are focused on my long term racing goals. Team Suzuki and Suzuki Racesafe have been monitoring my progress and making sure I’ve been getting regular medical attention. I expect to be back on the bike for the final round at Symmons Plains in Tasmania.”
Superbike Overall Results – Round 6: 1 Wayne Maxwell; 2 Bryan Staring; 3 Glenn Allerton; 4 Scott Charlton (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 5 Shawn Giles (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 6 Jamie Stauffer; 7 Shannon Johnson; 8 Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 9 Craig McMartin; 10 Cru Halliday.
Superbike Championship Points (after 6 of 7 rounds): 1 Bryan Staring 211pts; 2 Wayne Maxwell 192.5; 3 Glenn Allerton 149; 4 Scott Charlton (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 143; 5 Shawn Giles (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 142.5; 6 Jamie Stauffer 127; 7 Shannon Johnson 119; 8 Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 115; 9 Josh Waters (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 105.5; 10 John Allen 68.5.
Supersport Overall Results – Round 6 : 1 Troy Herfoss (Suzuki GSX-R600); 2 Christan Casella; 3 Brodie Waters (Suzuki GSX-R600); 4 Ben Burke; 5 Aaron Gobert; 6 Michael Jones; 7 Dylan Mavin; 8 Ryan Taylor; 9 Blake Leigh-Smith (Suzuki GSX-R600); 10 Des Darby.
Supersport Championship Points (after 6 of 7 rounds): 1 Troy Herfoss (Suzuki GSX-R600) 224pts; 2 Christan Casella 193; 3 Brodie Waters (Suzuki GSX-R600) 179; 4 Aaron Gobert 129; 5 Chris Quinn 128; 6 Ben Burke 119; 7 Ryan Taylor 104; 8 Blake Leigh-Smith (Suzuki GSX-R600) 85; 9 Des Darby 85; 10 Sam Heath 80.