Josh Waters (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R) did all he needed to secure the Phillip Island Superbike Championship in front of thousands of spectators at the 2017 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. A selection of wet weather tyres, key to the race win for Blair.

Josh Waters leads the race start - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Josh Waters leads the race start – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Race Four

As riders headed out for their sighting lap anticipating their Race Three start, spectators dotted the fence around the entire perimeter of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, ready for the action to kick off. Conditions were damp after the Australian Supersport 300 race experienced rainfall.

Visors went down and as the red lights went out, up to 21 Superbike competitors twisted their throttle and launched off the main straight and in to turn one in a roar of bikes, commencing their six-lap journey ahead.

Taking the lead into Doohan Corner was Waters, followed by Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team riders, Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing, CBR1000SP2) and Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing, CBR1000SP2). This time, Herfoss was looking much more aggressive and overtook Waters towards the end of lap one. At the end of lap one the heavens opened once again and the riders were looking tentative around Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

In the wet conditions, Michael Blair (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1) was riding like a man possessed and overtook all the front runners within the course of a lap. It was clear that the wet tyres were the preferred choice as Waters, Herfoss and Staring dropped through the field. Mitch Levy (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1) had also overtaken the front runners. As it stood with four laps to go, Blair led from Levy, Barton, Herfoss and Waters had dropped back to fifth.

With three laps to go, Blair had a ten second gap to second place runner Levy. This truly was a wet weather masterclass from Blair on his Yamaha. With two laps to go Corey Tuner (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale) was an unfortunate crasher . Second place runner Levy had also crashed taking away a certain podium.

Michael Blair - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Michael Blair – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

By the final lap, the placings had changed dramatically with Blair taking the victory in front of Barton and Dale Brede (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R). This simply was an excellent performance by Blair in tricky conditions. Fourth place went to Con Kokkoris (Ticksings, Ducati Panigale), followed by Richard Hewson (Acclaim Accident Repairs, Yamaha YZF-R1) Jake Drew (Brighton Bikes & Bits, Yamaha YZF-R1), Shane Yokom (Team MYR, Honda CBR1000RR), Jed Metcher (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1), Cru Halliday (R Star Mining, Yamaha YZF-R1) and Waters.

Over the three round Phillip Island Superbike Championship, Waters did what was required to win the Championship with 148 points. Waters was followed by Crankt Protein Honda Racing riders, Herfoss and Staring in the standings who had 135 and 129 points respectively.

Waters shared after winning the Championship; “It’s a great feeling to win the Phillip Island and ASBK Championships in one year with Team Suzuki ECSTAR. I won the round as well! Hopefully we can keep this momentum leading into 2018. Obviously, I chose the wrong tyres for the final race but that’s racing.”

Josh Waters - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Josh Waters – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Phillip Island Superbike Championship Standings

  1. Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R) 148
  2. Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) 135
  3. Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) 129
  4. Cru HALLIDAY (R Star Mining, Yamaha YZF-R1) 120
  5. Daniel FALZON (JD Racing, YZF-R1) 107
  6. Michael BLAIR (Blairbuild, Yamaha YZF-R1) 96
  7. Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) 86
  8. Mitch LEVY (ATR, YZF-R1) 82
  9. Robert BUGDEN (Kawasaki BCperformance, ZX-10R) 73
  10. Glenn ALLERTON (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) 68

Phillip Island Superbike Championship Race Four Provisional Results

  1. Michael BLAIR (Blairbuild, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  2. Matt BARTON (West End Mazda, Honda CBR1000RR)
  3. Dale BREDE (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
  4. Con KOKKORIS (Ticksings, Ducati Panigale)
  5. Richard HEWSON (Acclaim Accident Repairs, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  6. Jake DREW (Brighton Bikes & Bits, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  7. Shane YOKOM (Team MYR, Honda CBR1000RR)
  8. Jed METCHER (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  9. Cru HALLIDAY (R Star Mining, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  10. Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)

Race One

The eyes of thousands of spectators were instantly drawn to the rider on pole position, Waters as bikes launched off the grid for the commencement of their first ten lap race today. Taking the lead into turn one was Waters, followed by Herfoss and Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2). It wasn’t before long that Staring managed to overtake his teammate however.

By lap two in the race, Waters had extended his lead on second placed Staring to half a second and appeared to be well in control of the opening race. Waters set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:32.534 to devastate all opposition. Herfoss remained in third followed by Halliday and Jed Metcher (Race Center, YZF-R1) who was having a very impressive race.

Josh Waters and Bryan Staring battle it out - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Josh Waters and Bryan Staring battle it out – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

A significant gap was beginning to develop by lap four, with Waters and Staring pulling a 7.856s gap to Yamaha Privateer, Halliday. With the front runners pulling a massive advantage at the front, the battle between Metcher, Mitch Levy (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1) and Michael Blair (Blairbuild, Yamaha YZF0-R1) for fifth was developing into the highlight of the race. Unfortunately, Levy would not make it to the finish line, retiring on lap six.

With only two laps to go, Waters had broken the resolve of Staring and had amassed a lead up to four seconds. Taking the checkered flag would be Waters, with a 4.173 second gap to Staring. Halliday took third with a photo finish battle against Herfoss, only 0.032 separating them as they thundered down the straight.

Blair took fifth position after an entertaining scrap with Metcher who crossed the finish line in sixth. Corey Turner (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale), Ted Collins (Nextgen Motorsports, BMW S1000RR) and Dean Oughtred (Dynoverks, BMW S1000RR) and Ryan Taylor (Yamaha YZF-R1) rounded out the top ten positions respectively.

Waters victory in race one, tops off a great start to the racing weekend and puts him right in the frame to challenge for the Phillip Island Superbike Championship. It’s a sight that that spectators have become accustomed to with Waters proving to be almost unstoppable when he’s leading from the front.

Phillip Island Superbike Championship Race One Provisional Results

  1. Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
  2. Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
  3. Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Finance, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  4. Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
  5. Michael BLAIR (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF0-R1)
  6. Jed METCHER (Race Center, YZF-R1)
  7. Corey TURNER (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale)
  8. Ted COLLINS (NextgenMotosports, BMW S1000RR)
  9. Dean OUGHTRED (Dynoverks, BMW S1000RR)
  10. Ryan TAYLOR (Yamaha YZF-R1)

Race Two

In an eight-lap race to the finish, Waters once again took off the line brilliantly followed by Herfoss and Staring, and Staring once again quickly disposed of his team mate on the opening lap. Halliday would chase the leading trio at the end of the first lap, in fourth.

Troy Herfoss, Josh Waters and Bryan Staring battle it out - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Troy Herfoss, Josh Waters and Bryan Staring battle it out – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Turner, Blair, Levy and Metcher were once again engaged in a huge scrap for fifth place, with the top four checking out at the front. Collins was also having an impressive ride in ninth place and looked to join in the battle ahead of him.

This time, Waters had his hands full with Crankt Protein Honda Racing teammates, Staring and Herfoss right behind him, it became clear it wasn’t going to be as easy as the previous race. A second covered the top three with five laps to go.

On lap three Waters and Staring built a 1.8s gap to Herfoss in third and the race quickly developed in a two-horse race. Halliday remained in fourth, in the meantime Blair had overtaken Turner for fifth place.

With only two laps remaining, Staring was right on Waters tail and appeared to be waiting for the opportune time to strike. Waters was very canny and put his Suzuki in all the right places to perform an excellent defensive ride. On the last lap Waters ran into back markers and that allowed Staring to close in. Coming into Lukey Heights, Staring found the right time to make his attack and attempted an overtake. Staring came in too hot however, and went into the grass. He managed to return to the track soon after.

Josh Waters takes the win - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Josh Waters takes the win – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

The unsuccessful overtake allowed Waters to cross the finish line in first, with Staring managing to remain in second position and Herfoss to complete the podium places. Halliday finished in fourth, Blair fifth, Turner in sixth, followed by Levy, Metcher, Collins and Taylor. Another victory marked a clean sweep on Friday for Waters and his confidence is clearly at a high.

Phillip Island Superbike Championship Race Two Provisional Results

  1. Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
  2. Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
  3. Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
  4. Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Finance, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  5. Michael BLAIR (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  6. Corey TURNER (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale)
  7. Mitch LEVY (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  8. Jed METCHER (Race Center, YZF-R1)
  9. Ted COLLINS (Nextgen Motorsports, BMW S1000RR)
  10. Ryan TAYLOR (Yamaha YZF-R1)

Race Three

The Superbike competitors were eager to set off the line for race three. And with a stacked fence line, anticipation was in the air for the red lights to go out. Lining up on the front row of the grid was Waters, Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) and Cru Halliday (Yamaha Finance, Yamaha YZF-R1).

Josh Waters and Bryan Staring battle it out - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Josh Waters and Bryan Staring battle it out – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Waters got a phenomenal start into Doohan corner and would lead the race, but heading into Stoner corner, Mitch Levy (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1) and Jed Metcher (Race Center, YZF-R1) had overtaken him. Waters looked to be feeling out the damp conditions and fell back into fifth.

As it stood on lap two, Metcher was leading from Levy and Michael Blair (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1) in third. After Waters fell through the pack, he managed to make a move on Dean Oughtred (Dynoverks, BMW S1000RR) for fourth and appeared to be back on the pace. Herfoss was another rider who was having a difficult start to the race, falling back to tenth place. Teammate, Staring was having a much better race and was following Waters as he made his way through the field.

Waters continued his charge and managed to overtake both Levy and Metcher with five laps remaining, to hit the front and lead. Staring managed to also overtake Levy and Metcher in short succession to move himself into second. For the second race in a row, the race was going to come down to a battle between Waters and Staring.

With three laps to go, Staring had closed right up on Waters, with only a tenth separating the two. Staring was not interested in coming second once again to the newly crowned ASBK champion, Waters. With two laps to go, Staring hit the front and overtook Waters down Gardner Straight. In the meantime, Halliday had managed to overtake Metcher, Blair and Levy to move into third place.

On the last lap, Staring continued to lead, Waters looked extremely strong through Stoner Corner but he could not execute the overtake. It was all going to come down to a drag race down Gardner Straight for the victory. Waters had closed right up on Staring at turn 12 and thundered past Staring to take another victory for Suzuki. It was another classic duel between the two competitors.

Josh Waters - Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

Josh Waters – Image by Andrew Gosling/tbgsport

The podium positions went to Waters, Staring and Halliday, followed by Blair, Metcher, Herfoss, Levy, Oughtred, Turner and Barton to complete the top ten. The final race of the 2017 Phillip Island Superbike Championship takes place at 9:35 AM on Sunday.

Phillip Island Superbike Championship Race Three Provisional Results

  1. Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
  2. Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
  3. Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Finance, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  4. Michael BLAIR (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF0-R1)
  5. Jed METCHER (Race Center, YZF-R1)
  6. Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2)
  7. Mitch LEVY (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1)
  8. Dean OUGHTRED (Dynoverks, BMW S1000RR)
  9. Corey TURNER (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale)
  10. Matt BARTON (West End Mazda, CBR1000RR)
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