It was a dramatic round of the Kawasaki Supersport Championship here at the Spokes.com.au presents Round 7 Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Sharing the wins were Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R6) and Tom Toparis (Cube Racing, ZX-6R) while Damon Rees (Carl Cox M-sport, Honda CBR) took out the overall round due to his consistency, a great way to cap off this Championship in the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul Pirelli (ASBK).
Lap one was full of Drama as Max Croker (Mat Mladin Racing, GSX-R600) stormed into the lead but managaed to clip Halliday. The Yamaha rider managed to compose himself swiftly after the knock, and to relief of his team and fans he kept himself seated as he landed into 12th position. Alongside this drama, Rhys Belling (LXI Racing, Yamaha YZF-R6) received a jumpstart 10 second penalty which impacted his overall position in the race.
Croker continued to maintain first position ahead of Toparis up until lap two, where Toparis overtook his rival and led the charge. As Race Two continued, Croker and Toparis danced around one another, overtaking the other through to lap seven. With all eyes on Croker and Toparis, Halliday weaved his way from 12th to third place over seven laps, proving why he is the current Kawasaki Supersport Champion.
Coming into lap seven, Croker continued to look uncomfortable on track compared to Toparis, taking wide turns and this discomfort was what brought this race to its crisis point when Croker caught himself in Toparis’ back wheel. Immediately following, Toparis lost control and crashed out, displaying clear frustration at Croker who kept himself in the race, but fell back into eight position. Seeing his opportunity, Halliday used this moment to return to first position and maintained this place for the remainder of the race.
Reviewing the drama from the beginning of the race, Halliday noted that; “I think one of the riders simply tried to get through a gap that just wasn’t there. But after calming down and sparing my tyres, I knew I just needed to win this race. I did this for Yamaha and my team, I can’t thank them enough.” explained Halliday.
Coming in hot after Halliday in second position was Callum Spriggs (Yamaha YZF-R6), who used the drama of lap seven to his advantage in nabbing a podium position. Closing off the final podium position for Race One was Damon Rees (Carl Cox M-sport, Honda CBR).
Rounding out the top five for Race One of the Kawasaki Supersport Championship was Scott Nicholson (NextGen Motorsports, Suzuki GSX-R) and Zac Johnson (Rebuilder, Yamaha YZF-R6).
Kawasaki Supersport Provisional Race One Results
1. Cru HALLIDAY (Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha YZF-R6)
2. Callum SPRIGGS (Yamaha YZF-R6)
3. Damon REES (Carl Cox M-sport, Honda CBR)
4. Scott NICHOLSON (NextGen Motorsports, Suzuki GSX-R)
5. Zac JOHNSON (Rebuilder, Yamaha YZF-R6)
6. Jack PASSFIELD (Stay Upright Rider Training, Yamaha YZF-R6)
7. Nic LIMINTON (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6)
8. Max CROKER (Mat Mladin Mladin Racing, Suzuki GSX-R)
9. Giuseppe SCARCELLA (Kawasaki BCperformance, Kawasaki ZX-6R)
10. Broc PEARSON (1800 Approved Cairns, Yamaha YZF-R6)
After the drama of race one, spectators were pretty keen to see what the second race would deliver and there were several twists and turns, including a crash from Halliday that would take him out of the race. Taking victory in race two was Toparis, a deserved reward after being so strong in race one, before being taken out of contention.
As the race got started, Croker took off into the lead, followed by Toparis and Halliday. Putting a huge spanner in the works was a crash from Halliday on lap three. Thankfully he had already sealed the Championship, but he was disappointed not to finish the year on a high.
Croker tried to chase down Toparis for the majority of the race but he was running out of pace in the closing stages of the race and Rees was charging behind him.
Toparis took the win by 3.7 seconds, with Croker just holding onto second in front of Rees who took third. Rees consistency meant he would take out the overall round win for the weekend, managing to score 36 points.
Coming in fourth was Nic Liminton (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6) for another fantastic result after returning to the ASBK Championship. Scott Nicholson NextGen Motorsports, Suzuki GSX-R600) also recorded a great ride in fifth.
Halliday would finish off the season in top position with 361 points, ahead of Toparis in second with 308 and Max Croker managed to secure third place in the Championship with 246 points in a very successful debut season in the class.
Kawasaki Supersport Race Two Provisional Results
1. Tom TOPARIS (Cube Racing, Kawasaki ZX-6R)
2. Max CROKER (Mat Mladin Mladin Racing, Suzuki GSX-R600)
3. Damon REES (Carl Cox M-sport, Honda CBR600)
4. Nic LIMINTON (YRD, Yamaha YZF-R6)
5. Scott NICHOLSON (NextGen Motorsports, Suzuki GSX-R600)
6. Callum SPRIGGS (Yamaha YZF-R6)
7. Giuseppe SCARCELLA (Kawasaki BCperformance, Kawasaki ZX-6R)
8. Broc PEARSON (1800 Approved Cairns, Yamaha YZF-R6)
9. Zac JOHNSON (Rebuilder, Yamaha YZF-R6)
10. Ryan TAYLOR (Arden Homes, Yamaha YZF-R6)
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Remaining 2018 ASBK Calendar Rounds
Round 7- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC October 12 – 14
Photos courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport