While Wakefield Park turned on some early sun, the cloud closed in and made for pleasant, but not hot conditions on the day with the top temperature around 18 degrees for round three of the 2022 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul.
From practice session one, it was Wayne Maxwell who was the man to beat and he built momentum and pace all day to end the day atop the standings…
Seeing Troy Herfoss (Penrite Honda Racing) atop the charts- albeit briefly- at his nominally his home event, was a pleasing moment for all assembled as the opening practice session got underway.
While Herfoss was able to stay in the top five, it was Wayne Maxwell (Boost Mobile with K-tech) aboard his Ducati who topped the first session followed by Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team) and Mike Jones (Yamaha Racing Team).
Just three-tenths of a second covered the top three, with the leading pair of Maxwell and Halliday a small, but notable margin ahead of the field.
Glenn Allerton (Maxima Racing Oils) and the aforementioned Troy Herfoss rounded out the top five.
Practice two was a copy of session one with the same top three in Maxwell, Halliday and Jones atop the standings. Local boy Herfoss showed he’s race fit and race-ready by moving up to fourth with DesmoSport Ducati rider Bryan Staring fifth.
Interestingly, where session one was closely fought, in the second practice session, Wayne Maxwell found some more pace in his Ducati and stretched his lead considerably out to an ominously large .439 to sound a Phillip island-like warning to the field: “catch me if you can…”
Session three saw a third repeat of the top three in terms of makeup and order: Maxwell, Halliday and Jones. Maxwell was again able to hold a sizeable advantage of over 3/10ths of a second to hold the pack at bay.
Wayne Maxwell, first overall: “I think my one lap speed was quite good, but I think we need to work on our overall pace and improve that a little bit. Hopefully, the weather is a tiny bit better tomorrow and we can come out and have a go at the pole record…”
Cru Halliday, second overall: “It was a strange session that last one- it got colder and I thought times would not improve but they did. I felt better as the sessions went on. The bike felt good, the team are working really well, and I know there’s more time in the bike.”
Mike Jones, third overall: “We were here for a couple of days that were rained out. But in saying that my feeling on the bike is pretty good and we were able to get down to business and make progress in every session.”
This weekend Supersport is wide open event insofar as favourites go with former series leader Senna Agius long gone from Australia and former top three racer Tom Edwards in Europe on World Supersport duties. While Olly Simpson holds the championship lead, he would have a mixed day.
It was Queenslander John Lytras aboard a Yamaha who would draw first blood, fastest in the early session from Scott Nicholson (Yamaha) and Sean Condon (Yamaha) – who is stepping in for the World Supersport bound Tom Edwards- in third position.
It was a slower start for current Championship leader Olly Simpson who was down in eighth position and former championship leader Tom Bramich in sixth.
In session two, Sean Condon showed that he was coming to terms with the BikeBiz Yamaha by topping the table by .2 ahead of much-improved Tom Bramich with practice one fast man Lytras in third.
Championship leader Olly Simpson went down near the end of the session, but was up and about and participated in the third practice session of the day
Session three saw John Lytras again atop the standings, making a substantial gain to bring himself closer to Sean Condon’s fastest time of the day. Ty Lynch was second in the session and third fastest for the day while Sean Condon was third in the session, but still fastest overall thanks to his time in session two.
Session three and merged classifications: https://www.computime.com.au/Meetings/2022/ASBK22_3/ASBK22_3_P13.pdf
Dunlop Supersport 300
Championsip leader Henry Snell opened his Wakefield campaign with a lowly ninth in the first practice while Cameron Dunker – who is currently third in the title chase- capitalised on some slower than expected results from the nominally fast riders by topping the table in practice one.
Second for the session was Hayden Nelson, a worrying .344 behind Dunker and then just .078 back to third-placed Jonathan Nahlous.
Dunker’s early form and pace continued into session two as he was the only rider in the 1:05s while Snell had no answer as he wallowed down in 13th position. Hayden Nelson and Glenn Nelson were second and third.
In session three, Dunker continued to show the field a clean set of heels, now some 1.344 seconds ahead of second-placed Brodie Gawith who in turn was just .075 ahead of Jonathan Nahlous.
In terms of combined times, it was Dunker, Hayden Nelson and Nahlous. Tomorrow the field has serious work to do to reel in Dunker.
Practice Session three and combined times: https://www.computime.com.au/Meetings/2022/ASBK22_3/ASBK22_3_P14.pdf
Yamaha Finance R3 Cup
Cameron Dunker showed that his fast form in the all-in 300 class was no fluke by topping the table in practice one for the Yamaha Finance R3 Cup.
It’s a typically closely fought class, so seeing Dunker ahead of second-placed Glenn Nelson by some .326 who was just .082 ahead of Hayden Nelson ought to have given Dunker’s fellow racers plenty to ponder ahead of the rest of the sessions.
The theme continued into practice session two with Dunker ahead of Glenn Nelson and Hayden Nelson. The gap to second was at .326 but only 0.82 back to third.
In session three it was that man Dunker again, although Hayden Nelson was able to keep Dunker in sight, just .557 behind, with Taiyo Aksu who was just .168 behind Nelson.
On combined times it was Dunker, Glenn Nelson and Hayden Nelson making up the top three on the day.
Practice three results and combined times. https://www.computime.com.au/Meetings/2022/ASBK22_3/ASBK22_3_P12.pdf
bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup
Series coach Garry McCoy has been slowly but surely turning coal into diamonds as he works on all aspects of the rider’s skillsets in the development series that is the bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup.
In the first session, it was Hudson Thompson up by an unusually high half a second over Marcus Hamod and then an equally unusual .909 back to third-placed Harrison Watts.
While the early sessions aren’t necessarily a true form guide, the early pace from Thompson sounded a warning to the field.
Into session two, it was Thompson again atop the standings, but second place Marcus Hamod found some more pace as he settled into the Wakefield layout. Alexander Codey was third, just .244 from the leader.
With session three starting late in the day when the temperatures had dropped, it was still Hudson Thompson out front, but by an ever-diminishing margin to Marcus Hamod, who was now just .101 behind. There was a more substantial gap of .327 back to third-placed Harrison Watts, and it was clear that the field was slowly coming to grips with the track.
For the day it was Hudson Thompson, Marcus Hamod and Alexander Codey.
Session three and combined times https://www.computime.com.au/Meetings/2022/ASBK22_3/ASBK22_3_P16.pdf