Saturday- The Day When it Happens
There’s been a number of comparisons over the years between Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park and today it was SMPS’s chance to really shine.
The weather here at SMSP was just as unpredictable as The Island, so there’s that and congrats all round…
Almost joking aside, it did indeed sprinkle down ahead of the warmup sessions for all classes and we spent an inordinate amount of time looking and the rain radar and thoughtfully making rubbish predictions.
Like The Island, Western Sydney does what it does and you best get used to it.
We poor fools, we didn’t know what was coming…
For all weekend results see Computime.com.au
The warm-up was declared dry and so Josh Waters naturally went .9 of a second faster than most and Glenn Allerton brought his usual game-day excellence to the caper and was up to P2. At the end of the short session, it was Waters still up top with pole sitter Cru Halliday in second, Allerton third, Bryan Staring looking very good in fourth and Arthur Sissis up to fifth.
Herfoss, Allerton and Waters all got a ripping start, but it was Josh Waters on that ever-present McMartin Ducati Panigale V4R.
Cru Halliday – by his self-admitted lowly standards – got a great start and was second to Josh Waters who ripped out a 1:34 standing lap, a time that would have once been a pretty good flying lap.
Settling slightly through to lap three, it was Waters from Halliday and Allerton who had Troy Herfoss and Mike Jones for company.
Arthur Sissis had been unable to really launch like the rabbit he usually is and was fifth with Bryan Staring sixth.
Herfoss laid down a big black rubber line that impressed many but cost him four spots. Waters was now out to a half-second lead from Halliday and then a three-second gap back to Allerton in third. Waters’ fastest lap was a 1:29.001 to obliterate the lap record- indeed the top three had already knocked off the lap record.
Bryan Staring was in the 1:29s and was stalking Allerton who had slipped down to fourth after Mike Jones did stealthy Mike Jones things to limit his losses once again.
With nine laps to go, Herfoss was now working his way back into contention, passing Sissis and on a mission to get to Bryan Staring who in turn was all over Glenn Allerton. They swapped positions a few times, allowing Herfoss to get closer still.
A few light drops of rain kept life interesting and uncomfortable, but lap times remained in the 1:29s. Allerton, Staring and Herfoss got into an old school gentleman’s Donnybrook. Halliday was the fastest man on the circuit, but Waters was still .75 up on the factory Yamaha R1M.
At six laps to go, Staring and Herfoss tried to get through on Allerton, but Allerton can late brake like few others and Staring and Herfoss simply swapped spots while leaving Allerton in fourth.
Waters out front was looking composed, while Halliday was clearly not giving up the chase. The gap was now down to .5 of a second, but it felt like Waters was working his lap board pretty well.
Herfoss was finally past Allerton to take fourth position, while Staring remained in sixth.
Waters’ lead was down to just .2 of a second as Halliday was having the “ride of his life” according to commentator Steve Martin.
The cameras cut to Mike Jones’ bike as it massively let go of an engine with a huge cloud of blue smoke. Shortly afterwards, the bike caught fire and brought out the red flag to stop the race.
Ten laps had been completed and race direction declared it a done deal. Josh Waters was the winner from pole-sitter Cru Halliday and the ever-present Troy Herfoss.
These were strange days, but Waters was still king.
1 21 Josh WATERS
2 65 Cru HALLIDAY
3 17 Troy HERFOSS
From the second row of the grid, Herfoss blazed away with Arthur Sissis for company. The front-row starters were swamped. Allerton went around the outside of everyone to take the lead. Halliday had just described the back side of the circuit as “sketchy as” and the whole field was now sketching their way through this section.
Allerton led from Halliday, Waters, Herfoss and Staring. Broc Pearson had done a great job and worked his way up to sixth with Artur Sissis shuffled back to seventh, despite being second early in lap one.
Herfoss got the elbows out to pass Waters to then seek out Halliday and ultimately race leader Allerton.
Meanwhile, Mike Jones was down in a lowly eighth position on his second bike and would need to move forward to limit his losses. Waters was past Herfoss for third and he and Halliday were off after Allerton.
Allerton put his hand up down the straight to indicate rain, but new-found waterman Halliday took the lead with his foot down like a motocross rider through turn one and we wondered if there would be a red flag. It was hard to tell if it was raining elsewhere, and the merciful red flag came out after just three laps as the rain really fell in earnest.
Race Two Restart
At the restart- in order they crossed the line a lap earlier- Halliday led the bunch despite not getting the best jump. Sissis did the crazy fast start thing as he is want to do and this time he made it stick and he was third behind Herfoss.
Herfoss moved into the lead while Allerton went around Waters to move into third.
Herfoss went wide at turn six and Halliday politely followed so he wouldn’t feel alone. The rain continued. Mike Jones was back in tenth and struggling once again.
With five laps to run, Waters was out to a three-second lead with a gaggle of chasers: Allerton, Halliday, Herfoss, Sissis and Pearson.
Four laps to go and Waters was absolutely trucking. He was now six seconds up the road and effectively gone. Herfoss moved back into second on a mission like we had rarely seen before. Allerton continued to chase, but Halliday passed him down the straight as we ticked down to three laps remaining. Herfoss ran wide again, but this time lost no places but gave even more time to the seemingly absent Josh Waters who was now eight seconds ahead.
Two laps left and Herfoss was second from Halliday , Sissis and Allerton. The nine-second lead Waters enjoyed continued to grow. Herfoss seemed secure in second place, with Halliday also comfortably ahead of Sissis.
At the finish, it was the dominant shape of the McMartin Ducati Panigale V4R with Josh Waters aboard taking an easy win by 6.3 seconds (he gave them a few seconds on the last lap) from Troy Herfoss, Cru Halliday, Arthur Sissis and Glenn Allerton in fifth.
Five wins from five starts. The only blemish for the entire season to date was the single point missed for pole at round two. While Josh Waters might have been under some pressure leading into the round where he was dominant at the test, the pressure was now all the other way; how will the field respond?
But as Mike Jones had discovered at SMSP; even the seemingly invincible can have a day that goes DNF/10th…
1 21 Josh WATERS
2 17 Troy HERFOSS
3 65 Cru HALLIDAY
The weather was again all the talk, but the precipitation thankfully stayed away. Pole sitter Sean Condon led them away from pole, but both Hayden Nelson and Tom Bramich fired off the line and were at the front or close to it. A few riders ran wide early and trying to work out who was where was a challenge.
Olly Simpson completed his first racing lap of Sydney Motorsport Park in the lead, Jake Farnsworth put a solid pass on Sean Condon while Olly Simpson was nearly unseated. That gave Farnsworth the opening he needed to take the lead.
Championship leader Ty Lynch was back in seventh while season-long contenders Lytras and Bramich were fifth and sixth.
At the front, Olly Simpson had a big moment and ran wide, allowing the likes of Bramich and Lytras to move forward.
Condon was boxing on and was back up to second and then took the lead via a clever late braking move. Farnsworth nearly threw himself down the road after getting on the gas a little early. Condon was leading and had the fastest lap of the race to boot.
Olly Simpson was working himself back into the caper and was back up to fifth. Passfield had found himself involved in some early bar banging and was down in 14th. Condon ripped out a 1:32.969 to stretch his lead to .7 of a second with six laps to go.
The order settled for the top three with Condon, Jake Farnsworth and Tom Bramich all evenly spaced. The battle was on for fifth with 2022 Supersport 300 champion Cameron Dunker leading a solid group that included John Lytras, Ty Lynch and Hayden Nelson.
At three laps to go, Condon was out to a second-plus gap and set sail for home for his first win of the year. Farnsworth was secure in second place with Bramich also solid in third.
While Farnsworth was able to chip away at Condon’s lead, it certainly felt like Condon was just doing what he needed to chalk up 25 points- which he did. The gap was still a second to second and Tom Bramich was a further 2.5 seconds in third. Olly Simpson was fourth with Cameron Dunker fifth.
1 26 Sean CONDON
2 49 Jake FARNSWORTH
3 44 Tom BRAMICH
With a mixed grid of wets and dry tyres and weather conditions that could have been a separate article, it was always going to be a very different sort of race.
Jake Farnsworth was pulled from the grid at the 11th hour due to a faulty rear light.
The wet tyre crew took off as expected, with flat track wonderkid (And baby faced assassin) Cameron Dunker out quickly, but Ty Lynch was first through turns one and two and took off as best he could on what must be wet Michelins.
Olly Simpson- another rider very handy when the going gets weird, was up to second with Dunker settling into third. With about one third of the circuit dry and the rest varying degrees of damp, Simpson pushed past Dunker to take second and the top runners were off in an attempt to get away before the circuit got too dry.
Pole man Sean Condon was way down in 20th and would have been screaming for dry running, but it was still too early to say whether slicks were the wrong call.
It was still very wet at turn two, and the lack of a breeze and the high humidity just stopped the drying process.
Up front, Olly Simpson was leading by half a second to Cameron Dunker and a few more seconds back to Ty Lynch. Luke Sanders went down on the exit of turn four, throwing away a chance at a podium finish.
For the regulars, the contenders and past race winners it was a disaster: Lytras was in 10th, Bramich 16th, while Condon was the mover up to 12th.
Passfield was rumoured to have chosen the odd combo of a slick front and wet rear, but no matter what he was running, he was still in fourth, just two seconds behind third placed Ty Lynch.
Cameron Dunker is a renowned flat tracker and was a smooth as butter in mixed conditions. The gap between him and race leader Olly Simpson was down to half a second.
Sean Condon went down at turn six to end his night and really create issues for the once-favoured rider for the champion in 2023.
Jack Passfield was past Ty Lynch for third, but Lynch was determined to hang on to both Passfield tail and the championship lead.
Dunker continued his march to the lead, and the pressure he was excerting worked when Olly Simpson had a huge moment into turn one with two laps to go. Dunker was able to get .8 ahead almost immediately and set off for his first ever Supersport race win after a championship Supersport 300 year in 2022.
Ty Lynch was slowing significantly and was swamped by a group including Jonathan Nahlous, Dallas Skeer and Scott Nicholson. Lynch was in survival mood.
Dunker still had a .8 second lead into the last lap and was able to hang on for the win in his second-ever event in the Supersport category. Olly Simpson rolled through for second, but it was Scott Nicholson who took third after Passfield was shuffled back to seventh.
Some riders take years to get a race win and /or a round win in Supersport.
It took Cameron Dunker two rounds of Supersport to achieve both goals.
1 3 Cameron DUNKER
2 45 Olly SIMPSON
3 39 Scott NICHOLSON
Brandon Demmery would start from pole in the second Supersport 300 race of the weekend and the second-to-last race before the night sessions began in earnest.
The commentators teased the assembled crowd with the usual weather talk, but we started the race without precipitation, but with Brandon Demmery off the front into turn one. Marcus Hamod had a great start and was up to second and Henry Snell was also away well and into third.
OJC graduate Ryan Larkin was fourth with Jai Russo nipping at his heels. Snell got through Hamod mid-lap while Demmery held a small .1 lead.
The first trip down the straight saw the usual shuffling of the pack with Snell and Larkin being the biggest beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Race Direction noted the start was once again under investigation.
Cameron Swain had been stalking the field for some time and was now up to third with Ryan Larkin behind him. Swain was soon into the lead, and Demmery was happy to let them lead and observe for a time. Swain had his “I’d like to get away thanks” attitude in full effect and was out to a .5 lead over Snell and Demmery.
At four laps to go, Demmery was back into the lead, dashing Swain’s hopes of a solo win. Russo was in third while Brodie Gawith and Henry Snell were fourth and fifth.
As the laps ran down, there was a clear lead group, but no clear leader. Russo, Swain and Demmery all spent time on the front while Casey Middleton and Cooper Rowntree stayed in contact.
The lead group was seven deep and all were capable of taking the win. Brock Quinlan was down and the race was red flagged with six laps completed due to Quinlan’s bike being in a dangerous place. The lead riders looked at each other, understandably confused about who was the winner.
Race direction declared Cameron Swain the winner from Brandon Demmery and Jai Russo after winding the clock back a lap per the usual red flag rules.
1 26 Cameron SWAIN
2 11 Brandon DEMMERY
3 32 Jai RUSSO
The night race for the three hundies was still damp and so the teams took their cues from the just-completed Supersport race where those on wet tyres capitalised.
Cameron Swain jumped away with plenty of company but lead through lap one with Brandon Demmery and Brodie Gawith second and third.
A chase group formed with Luke Jhonston, Henry Snell, Marcos Hamod and Jai Russo all jostling for position. At the head of the group, Demmery and Swain were swapping off but not breaking away.
At six laps to go, it was still Swain and Demmery but they had plenty of willing company, but no definitive challenger for the top spot. Indeed, the leading pair were now out to a small but important lead of about 3.5 seconds.
Not realising that their dicing was going to end with no better result than third, the chasing group continued to box each others ears. The race was now down to Demmery and Swain and they spent the last few laps working out what to do as they headed to the finish.
Swain decided to try to establish a break of his own as he did at Phillip island a few weeks ago. He bever achieved more than a few tenths of a second and perhaps was playing into Demmery’s hands.
Then there were reports of some rain falling- just to ensure the drama had drama on drama.
But Demmery continued to fox behind Swain, absolutely content to let him lead aswe headed into the last lap. Their gar was out to 4 seconds, but Swain decided he’d had enough leading and slowed even more. You lead!… no sir YOU LEAD! But at the line it was Demmery who picked Swain’s pocket for another win.
Brodie Gawith was third, some 3.3 seconds behind with Henry Snell right behond him
The batlle for fifth was dramtic as they tried fgot 5 wide over the line but it was Hamod from Knezovic, Middleton, Russo, Jhonston and Josh Newman 10th…
1 11 Brandon DEMMERY
2 26 Cameron SWAIN
3 25 Brodie GAWITH
The bLU cRU Oceania Junior Cup
Slicks were the go and the go was slick for Bodie Paige who jumped away to a small lead, but with an enthusiastic group chasing. Immediately, race direction noted the start was under investigation after a few nervous clutch hands were faster than the start lights.
By half lap, Bodie had a half second advantage with Archie Schmidt and Ella McCausland fighting for the right be first to chase Bodie.
Of course, this simply allowed Bodie Paige to grind out a slightly bigger gap. But McCausland was having none of it and around the time she took the lead of the race down the main straight she was also announced has having jumped the start.
Whether McCausland knew this via the race direction boards at the track was impossible to say, but she continued to race hard and remained close to or at the front for much of the middle part of the race.
The leading group was now McCausland, Bodie Paige, Riley Nauta, Valentino Knezovic and Hunter Corney rounding out the top five.
At two laps to go, Paige led while McCausland was clearly measuring her run for the finale. Ther riders diced as they do through the last lap, all competing to get into the ideal spot for the run to the line. McCausland led, but seemingly didn’t want to.
The run to the line: McCausland lead them down the straight and inexplicably none we able to make a run past her and she hit the line as the first female to cross the line first in the bLu cRU Oceania Junior Cup.
…then the race direction penalty for a jump start was applied and the win went to Haydn Fordyce from Valentino Knezovic and Bodie Paige in third.
The breakthrough win would have to wait for McCausland.
1 17 Haydn FORDYCE
2 48 Valentino KNEZOVIC
3 74 Bodie PAIGE
The final Oceania Junior Cup race of the weekend was an exciting affair with plenty of action from start to finish. Ella Mcausland made a great start, quickly moving up to third after losing out in race two. Meanwhile, Bodie Paige took the lead by half a second and looked comfortable in the opening stages of the race, with the track not entirely wet and the back half dry.
Paige continued to lead the pack, with Nauta and Mcausland battling for second place. However, their fighting allowed Paige to extend his lead to one second on lap three. McAdam went down at turn two, but rejoined the race unharmed.
The lead group eventually split, with Paige signaling to the riders behind him that working together would be the only way to catch up. The group of four began to close in on Paige, but Oscar Lewis went down at turn two and Bodie Paige’s visor apparently started fogging up, causing him to wipe it repeatedly for visibility.
The lead group was now five strong, with a gap of 6 seconds to sixth. However, a mistake from Nixon Frost dropped him several positions from the front of the chasing pack. Mcausland made a great move from fifth to second at turn three, while Nauta was unseated at the exit of turn two, but able to continue.
The first sector was still wet, but Corporate Hill and T9 were drying quickly. Early podium sitter Lazos went down at T2, which claimed its third victim of the race. Paige took advantage of all the battling behind him to open up a multi second gap, eventually claiming a dominant victory.
Archie Schmidt made an impressive move from fourth to second at the turn none hairpin on the last lap, while Nauta and Schmidt claimed the final podium spots. All in all, it was a thrilling race full of ups and downs, and Paige proved to be the strongest rider of the day.
The overall round win went to rookie OJC entrant, New Zealand lad Haydn Fordyce who took up motorcycle racing less than a year ago…!
1 17 Haydn FORDYCE
2 48 Valentino KNEZOVIC
3 42 Riley NAUTA
For all other weekend results see Computime.com.au
Sunday, March 26: TX 1.00pm – 4.00pm AEDT
- SBS Sport
For more information on the 2023 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship Presented by Motul season, stay tuned to the ASBK website and social pages:
Official Calendar for the 2023 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul (ASBK)