A breathtaking manoeuvre from Troy Herfoss at turn 11 on the final lap of today’s opening Alpinestars Superbike race at round four of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), presented by Motul, has seen the Penrite Honda rider take victory from long-time rival Wayne Maxwell at Darwin’s Hidden Valley circuit.
From fourth on the grid, a strong start saw Herfoss immediately moving up to second behind Maxwell off the line; the 34-year-old stalked Maxwell for the entire 16-lap journey, both riders setting lap record times, before Herfoss made the race-defining move on the last lap.
“It was such a fun race,” Herfoss said.
“In qualifying, Wayne was so fast and with Mike (Jones) and Oli (Bayliss) also doing good times, we narrowly missed out on a front-row start, which was a little disappointing.
“There were stages during the race where I started to doubt myself, but I knew I had to play the patience game.
“Riding 16 laps in the heat is physically demanding, but I felt quite comfortable. I like going to races where fitness is one of the main factors, because I think it plays to my strengths.”
Earlier in the day, Maxwell had recorded a scorching 1:05.1 lap time in qualifying to secure his second pole position of the season. While he missed out on the race win, the Boost Mobile with K-Tech Ducati rider paid credit to Herfoss for his last-lap overtake.
“I covered Troy at turns five and six, and I tried to block the line into turn 11 – I went in there reasonably deep and tried to hang on the outside, but he was too good,” Maxwell said.
“I was in a rhythm for most of the race, just trying to hit a lap time; the grip went away towards the end.
“I love it – I’m really happy, there are so many positives for us to take out of the race and we’ll try to improve a tiny bit for tomorrow morning.”
Glenn Allerton recorded his first podium for the year aboard his brand-new BMW M1000 R, also moving up to third in the championship. The two-time Australian Superbike Champion revealed he was managing an issue for much of the race.
“It’s been a massive effort by the team to build a brand-new bike, strip it down, install all the suspension and electronics,” Allerton said.
“If this is our first race on it and we’re on the podium, it shows the potential is really high.
“The clutch was slipping really badly out of the last corner for a lot of the race and costing me a lot of time; I’m confident if we fix that issue for tomorrow, we’ll be right there with the top two.”
Oli Bayliss finished fourth, after earlier qualifying second; Bayliss lost a few positions at the start, but worked his way back up to third before again losing time with an off-track excursion.
However, Bayliss’ day was more satisfactory than his DesmoSport Ducati team-mate Mike Jones, who was scheduled to start third but failed to make the grid after a late qualifying crash left him under observation in hospital.
Bryan Staring (Kawasaki BCPerformance) completed the top five, with Arthur Sissis (Yamaha), Anthony West (Yamaha), Josh Waters (Kawasaki), Jed Metcher (Yamaha) and Cru Halliday (Yamaha) completing the top 10.
The other riders involved in dramas were Daniel Falzon and Corey Turner, who collided in the first corner; race direction have deemed Turner at fault for the altercation and imposed a relegation of three grid positions upon Turner for tomorrow’s races.
Two more Alpinestars Superbike races will be held tomorrow at Hidden Valley, at 10:50am and 2:05pm.