ASBK Season Finale: Herfoss Crowned Champion At The Bend
A superb final round clean sweep from Troy Herfoss in the 2023 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, at The Bend has secured the Queenslander a stunning third Australian Superbike title. Check out all the action below… Release: MA Images: Optikal
Troy Herfoss was determined to make his Honda swansong a fairytale after unleashing a towering qualifying performance in round seven of the 2023 mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul.
The Queenslander turned up the wick on his Penrite Honda CBR1000RR-R in the second Alpinestars Superbike qualifying session at The Bend, and the spoils were spectacular: the first rider to go under the 1m50s bracket at the world-class 4.95km circuit.
“I have never done a qualifying lap that good,” the ebullient 36-year-old said. “I was hoping I could do a 1:49 but I didn’t think it would actually happen. I know it was just qualifying but it’s the most fun I’ve had in one minute and 49 seconds in my life! It’s a pretty emotional weekend and I want to finish it off in the best possible way and work out what I want to do after that.” said Herfoss.
Herfoss’ pole-sitting time was 0.409s ahead of Waters (1:50.298), followed by Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1, 1:50.312), Max Stauffer (GTR Moto Stars YZF-R1, 1:50.550) and Mike Jones (Yamaha Racing Team, 1:50.688).
Glenn Allerton (GT Racing BMW M 1000 RR, 1:50.881) will complete row two Sunday, with Bryan Staring (MotoGo YZF-R1, 1:51.265), South Australian Arthus Sissis (Unitech Racing YZF-R1, 1:51.274) and Anthony West (Addicted to Track YZF-R1, 1:51.325) on row three.
Michelin Supersport is also delicately poised, with returning internationals Harrison Voight and Tom Toparis leading the qualifying charts ahead of the three riders vying for the championship: Olly Simpson, Cameron Dunker and Ty Lynch.
Last year’s double winner Voight (Voight Construction Yamaha YZF-R6) will start from pole position after setting the new best lap around The Bend – 1:54.618. Toparis (Cube Racing Stop & Seal YZF-R6, 1:54.770) and Simpson (Simpson Crash YZF-R6, 1:54.825) are right on Voight’s hammer, so we’re unlikely to see a runaway winner – it’s going to be a tight affair.
Meanwhile, Dunker (GTR Moto Stars YZF-R6, 1:55.322), the championship leader, knows what final round pressure is all about, and he’ll start from grid position No. 4 alongside Lynch (AMR Sports YZF-R6, 1:55.571) and Harry Khouri (Addicted to Track YZF-R6, 1:57.851) – another Aussie expat back in town for the ASBK finale.
R3 Cup/Supersport 300
Two races also await the Supersport cohort Sunday, while three of the other SBK classes – Yamaha Finance R3 Cup, Supersport 300 and bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup – are already in competition mode but remain ‘live’ rubbers.
After a forced restart following an Abbie Cameron crash which brought out the red flag, the racing in the Supersport 300 opener was as tight as ever before boiling down to a three-way fight between Cameron Swain, Brodie Gawith and Marcus Hamod.
And that’s how they finished in a blanket finish, with Swain victorious by just 0.013s to move into the title lead by 9ts over Hamod. The Yamaha Finance R3 Cup produced more Swain magic as he claimed the spoils from Gawith, while Hamod just held out Henry Snell and Jordan Simpson for third. Swain also holds sway in R3 Cup by 9pts, with two races remaining in each class.
bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup
Polesitter Archie Schmidt won race one in the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup after a nail-biting finish saw him execute a perfectly timed pass on Jake Paige on the last turn. The pair, in a very unusual OJC scenario, cleared out from the main pack, with Rikky Henry finishing in a lonely third before the pack tightened up. Schmidt also set a new lap record of 2:30.941 in a brilliant OJC outing. He now has a 9pt lead over Bodie Paige, who was fourth in race one.
Sureflight Superbike Masters
Only one 2023 champion was crowned: Keo Watson in the popular Sureflight Superbike Masters class. Watson heads into the Sunday with a championship under his belt.
The Sureflight Superbike Masters grid was stacked with Aussie racing legends: three-time MotoGP winner Garry McCoy Yamaha TZ750), Isle of Man Classic TT winner David Johnson (Suzuki Katana) and dual World Superbike champion Troy Corser (Yamaha 0W01).
Watson and Ryan Taylor (Suzuki GSX-R1100) completed the podium in race one, and in race two McCoy was runner-up ahead of Taylor. McCoy had earlier fluffed the race one start on the big two-stroke before slicing his way back to fourth.
A superb final round clean sweep from Troy Herfoss in the 2023 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, at The Bend has secured the Queenslander a third Australian Superbike title.
The 36-year-old was peerless in round seven Alpinestars Superbike action on the South Australian circuit, with his maximum points haul on the immaculately prepared Penrite Honda CBR1000RR-R keeping the door firmly shut on his main championship rival, Josh Waters (McMartin Racing with K-Tech Ducati V4R).
Herfoss defeated Waters in a tight race one finish, before a mid-race crash from Waters in the decider took all the pressure off the new 2023 champion, who signed off from his career with Honda in fairytale fashion. After the anguish of losing previous ASBK Championships by slim margins, today’s victory was all about pure adulation.
Herfoss completed the seven-round championship on 344pts, ahead of Waters (324) and Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1, 260), the latter nabbing third from Glenn Allerton (GT Racing BMW M 1000 RR, 259) at the death knell.
As well as the two race wins and the championship spoils, Herfoss now owns the fastest Superbike lap around the 4.95km circuit – icing on the cake for what was a brutally efficient campaign from first practice on Friday until today’s heroics. Herfoss methodically piled on the pressure bit by bit, which ultimately proved too much for the opposition – even Waters.
“It doesn’t get any better than this, as the riders I compete against are so hard to beat,” said “Herfoss. To be able to finish up with Honda with a championship is just incredible. We have grown a lot as a team this year and just got better and better. And this is the best I have ever ridden a motorbike. But I want to pay credit to my opposition, and particularly Josh who I also battled with in the 2017 championship. He’s such a tough competitor and literally rode his bike into the ground to try and beat me. And I know he’s in a lot of pain with his injuries: I’ve got a of respect for him and his team.”
The opening 11-lap race saw Herfoss lead from start to finish, with Waters running line astern for the majority of the journey save for a brief period when defending ASBK champion Mile Jones (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1) slotted into second. Waters’ move back into second coincided with Herfoss setting a new race lap record (1m50.529s), which saw him stretch his lead to just under one second.
Waters dug in his heels, though, and he was running with Herfoss by the final lap. However, Herfoss was impregnable and held on by 0.253sec and increased his championship lead to 6pts, with the slow-starting Halliday third ahead of Jones, Allerton, Max Stauffer (GTR Moto Stars YZF-R1), Bryan Staring (MotoGo YZF-R1) and Anthony West (Addicted to Track YZF-R1).
Race two saw Stauffer and Staring both crash out within the first two laps, but the most telling departure was Waters after losing the front end on his V4R at turn six while in second place. He remounted and finished 10th, but Herfoss only had to keep his powder dry over the final four laps to guarantee championship success. He was duly untroubled, and could even acknowledge the crowd on the final lap – an early reward for a stellar season which yielded eight wins and 12 podiums.
Halliday passed Jones on the final lap in the battle for second, while Allerton was fourth from West, Broc Pearson (DesmoSport Ducati), Marcus Chiodo (CBR100RR-R) and Ted Collins (Livson Racing M 1000 RR). Halliday’s rich vein of season-ending form saw him finish third in the championship.
History was created during the final round of the 2023 mi-bike Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, when Cameron Dunker became the youngest winner of the Michelin Supersport title since its inception 30 years ago. And the icing on the cake? Dunker turned 16 on the day of his championship success.
“It’s a dream come true, because at the beginning of the season I had no idea this would be possible,” said a delighted Dunker. As the year went on it started to take shape, and me to be champion is something I will be very proud of for many years. It has also given me extra confidence I can take into the future. I’d like to thank my team, my family and everyone else who has been a part of this journey. It’s going to take a while to sink in.”
Coming into the round Dunker (GTR Moto Stars Yamaha YZF-R6) was in a title fight with South Australians Olly Simpson (Simpson Crash YZF-R6) and Ty Lynch (AMR Sports YZF-R6). Adding to the spectacle was the return of some fast Aussies from overseas, led by 17-year-old Harrison Voight.
In race one, Voight led off the line but it wasn’t long before Simpson muscled his way into the lead with the knowledge that he had to win both races for any chance of wresting the title from Dunker’s grasp. Dunker was smart letting them duke it out, quite content to watch the drama unfold in front of him. Voight won the race from Simpson by just 0.019sec after overtaking him on the drag to the line.
The final race of the year was almost a mirror image of the opener as Simpson and Voight diced with each other and Dunker eventually settled into fourth behind Jonathan Nahlous (Complete AV YZF-R6) to wrap up the championship. Voight won again from Simpson to make it a perfect weekend with pole position, a lap record and two race wins.
SUPERSPORT 300 AND YAMAHA FINANCE R3 CUP
Marcus Hamod is the 2023 Supersport 300 champion after a 3-1-1 scorecard in the final round saw him finish on 327pts, just in front of Cameron Swain (323). Brandon Demmery (300pts) was third.
Cameron Swain was initially awarded the championship before a protest was lodged against him for passing under a yellow flag in race two. The protest was upheld, and Cameron Swain was demoted from first to second in the race – and by the same spot in the championship.
Swain wasn’t left empty-handed, though: he won the Yamaha Finance R3 Cup after 1-1-5 results over the weekend. He finished on 297pts, from Brodie Gawith (287) and Henry Snell (276). Gawith was second in all three races, with Hamod, Jordy Simpson and Snell filling the podium places.
SUREFLIGHT SUPERBIKE MASTERS
Keo Watson (Yamaha FZR1000) already had the overall title in his keeping, and he finished first and second on Sunday to increase his lead in the final standings to a 77pts (228 to 151) over Murray Clark (Suzuki GSX-R1127), with Ryan Taylor (Suzuki GSX-R1100, 138) in third. Sunday’s race two was won by David Johnson (Suzuki Katana), while Garry McCoy (Yamaha TZ750) also finished on the podium.
Another breathtaking year of bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup competition came to an end at The Bend circuit in South Australia on December 3, with teenage sensation Archie Schmidt winning the title emphatically after a trio of victories.
As the intensity grew in every race – the lap record was broken on consecutive occasions – Schmidt was equal to the task as he completed the title on 327pts ahead of Bodie Paige (297) and Haydn Fordyce (277).
As usual, there were thrills, some spills and wafer-thin winning margins, all on the free-flowing circuit where the diminutive and bulletproof Yamaha YZF-R15s were stretched to their limit. Race one on Saturday saw Schmidt best Jake Paige and Rikki Henry, with the latter then finishing on the tail of Schmidt in Sunday’s two instalments. Bodie Paige and Valentino Knezovic also scored podium finishes.
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