Round 4 of the Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) from Morgan Park (July 5-7) provided spectacular racing for the fans over the three-day event, with Yamaha Motor Insurance (YMI) Supersport 300, Yamaha Motor Finance (YMF) R3 Cup and Australian Superbike Masters classes lighting up the track for Races 2 and 3 today.
Senna Agius (Schuberth, Kawasaki EX 400) and John Allen (Custom Coating & Maintenance, Yamaha TZ 750), both took clean sweeps in the YMI Supersport 300 and Australian Superbike Masters classes respectively. In the YMF R3 Cup, John Lytras (Caboolture Yamaha, Yamaha YZF-R3) and Hunter Ford (Yamaha YZF-R3) took out a race win each.
YMI Supersport 300
As the race got underway it was Agius reprising his good performance from the day before, followed closely by Lytras, Zac Levy (Puma RV’s, Yamaha YZF-R3) and Max Stauffer (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R3). As the field sorted themselves out Agius once again established a gap at the front, with Levy, Ford, Lytras and Stauffer following.
On lap four Queenslander Kyle O’Connell (Rustic Flooring, Yamaha R3 321) lost the front end out of the chicane at Turn 12, and was off into the grass, disappointed but unharmed. At half distance Agius continued to lead by almost a second over Ford and Levy, then Stauffer, Lytras and Brandon Demmery (Rustic Flooring, Yamaha R3 321) a few lengths further back.
With two to go Ford drafted by Demmery down the main straight for second. At the finish Agius capped off another stellar performance, almost three seconds up on Ford and Levy.
Starting from pole once again, Agius had already pulled out almost a second and a half over the rest of the field by the second timing split on the first lap, clearly not leaving his clean sweep of the weekend to chance. Ford and Lytras led the best of the rest. By three laps in, Lytras had fallen back through the field to twelfth, leaving Levy, Ford, Crump, Khouri and Voight to battle for the minor placings.
At half distance, Agius was three and a half seconds down the road, Levy and Ford leading a ten-rider battle for second. KTM-mounted Seth Crump (ROCKOIL, KTM RC 390) made it up to second on lap six, deciding he would be the one to lead the field back to Agius at the front. Agius however was gapping the field, five and a half seconds ahead although not setting fastest lap times: that honour belonged to Yannis Shaw (WRP Bridgestone, Kawasaki EX 400) (1:23.452) in ninth.
As they began the final lap it was Agius by just under five seconds ahead of Levy, Harry Khouri (Excite M-sports, Yamaha YZF-R3), Harrison Voight (Voight Contracting, Yamaha YZF-R3) and Stauffer. Crump got tangled up in the chasing pack and was forced to sit up at Turn 4, sliding back down the order. At the line it was Agius, Stauffer with a well-timed run to the line for second ahead of Voight, Khouri, Ford, and Levy.
Known well by fans as a highly competitive class, Race 2 of the YMF R3 Cup did not disappoint. Over eight laps it was Lytras who held on long enough to score first place, quickly followed by Levy and Khouri in second and third place, respectively. But it was Ford who took out the fastest lap time for the race, with a 1:23.680.
Unfortunately, Jeremy Czmok (Dindins Pet Food, Yamaha YZF-R3) and Zylas Bunting (Shark Leathers, Yamaha YZF-R3) retired early from the race due to mechanical issues.
Heading into Race 3, Lytras sat pretty in pole position and made a strong start as they headed into Turn 1. Lytras was followed by Ford and Stauffer, with Khouri making a surprise appearance after getting swallowed up by the pack back at Turn 1, moving from fourth to first. Over the remaining seven laps, it was an all-out battle for first place, with Ford, Khouri and Voight, (Yamaha YZF-R3) manoeuvring around one another as they sought out their winning line. Due to a minor mistake Voight fell from second to eight, leaving Khouri, Ford and Lytras to seek out the win.
On the final lap, at the eleventh hour, Ford made the mad dash around Khouri and took hold of first place, crossing at the chequered flag mere seconds later. Khouri finished Race 3 in third, followed by Zac Levy in fourth.
Being the oldest and most experienced competitor in the YMF R3 Cup field, Ford reflected on the well-deserved win. “I did a little bit of a block pass in the second last corner and just went for it! I was hoping I could make it for the win and just get one win for the weekend!
“There was definitely a lot of rubbing out there and it’s such a close race in the YMF R3 Cup!”
To view Race 3 results, please click here.
Race 2 of the Superbike Masters gave spectators a show to talk about, with Allen and Alexander Pickett (Pickos Woody Racing, Yamaha FZR 1000) chomping at the bit to secure their top podium position. Over eight laps, it was Pickett who lead the charge and looked primed for the first-place finish. Heading into the final straight though, halfway through the race, Pickett arrived at a spot of bother and tank slapped hard. As he regained grip into the first corner, he conceded the lead to Allen who finished in first place not even two seconds ahead of Pickett. Rounding out the podium was Murray Clark (Suzuki GSXR).
Closing off Round 4 of the 2019 ASBK season, Race 3 for the Superbike Masters kicked off with an excellent start. Pole position holder, Pickett, made a devastating mistake that saw him lose the lead to Clark who made an excellent start, and Allen. Clark unfortunately couldn’t contend with Allen’s pace, relinquishing his hold on the top podium position to Allen.
Heading into Lap 7, Allen was well ahead of his rivals, producing a substantial 5.205 second lead. All eyes though were on Mark McVeigh (motoDNA, Yamaha FZR 1000) and Scott Webster (T & K Carney, Suzuki GSX 1200), who clipped at each other’s heels over fourth place. Riding into Lap 8, McVeigh turned up the heat and managed to slip past Webster, to take a well earnt position in fourth.
As they crossed the finish line, it was Allen who came out victorious for back-to-back wins, followed by Pickett, Clark and McVeigh in second, third and fourth.
“You cant do it without a great bunch of guys behind you,” highlighted Round winner, Allen. “It’s my fourth year riding this bike but it’s different every time you use it. But we’re getting on top of this bike now and it’s a fun ride!”
For Race 3 results, please click here.
The 2019 Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) continues with Round 5 at Winton Motor Raceway from 6-8 September. For updates, information, and to purchase tickets, visit ASBK.com.au.
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Images courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport