News / Media
  • Home

Toparis scores a wildcard for Phillip Island WorldSSP

By MA Media 0

Goulburn flyer Tom Toparis will add to a long list of Aussies who have been wildcards in the Phillip Island round of the FIM Supersport World Championship (WorldSSP), with the 23-year-old set to compete in this year’s event from February 23-25.

Toparis will ride a 666 Motorsport Stop & Seal Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 at Phillip Island, stepping aside from his new role as the team’s ASBK Superbike rider to focus solely on the two 18-lap WorldSSP races.

Toparis’s machine will be emblazoned with No. 21 in the WorldSSP cameo, which will begin with a final shakedown on the freshly resurfaced Phillip Island layout on February 19-20 before the first round officially gets underway on February 23.

Tickets on-sale for ASBK Rd2 at Sydney Motorsport Park on March 22-23

“It’s all a bit surreal as to how the last few months have led to me racing another round of WorldSSP,” said Toparis, a former Australian Superport champion and the current British Supersport No. 3.

“Meeting Robbie (Bolger) and Claire (Sharkey), deciding to join the Stop & Seal team in Australia and being a part of its growth from essentially nothing to a full-scale racing team complete with semi-trailer and now to confirm a wildcard is pretty crazy.

“I’m really grateful for the support and belief from Robbie and Claire, and I’m motivated to represent them, our team and myself on the world stage. The bike that I’ll be racing is still being developed, so we have some work to do, but I’m excited to get to the official test and see where we land.”

Bolger said: “We’ve been working hard in the background to find opportunities for Tom, and we’ve made no secret of wanting to race WorldSSP. With the support of Motorcycling Australia… we’re putting a lot of effort into making sure Tom has the best opportunity we can provide.

“Although we still have plenty of work ahead of us, I’m confident that he can do well when we get to the race weekend.”

It will be a baptism of fire for Toparis at Phillip Island. He will not only be joined by countryman Oli Bayliss (Ducati), but all the WorldSSP stars from 2023 – save for world champion Nicolo Bulega who’s now joined Ducati’s World Superbike factory team – are returning, including Stefano Manzi (Yamaha), Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta), Federico Caricasulo (MV Agusta), Can Oncu (Kawasaki), Valentin Debise (Yamaha) and Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta), while former star Lorenzo Baldassarri (Ducati) has rejoined the category.

Four Aussies have won WorldSSP races at Phillip Island – Kevin Curtain (2001), Andrew Pitt (2002/2008), Chris Vermeulen (2003) and Josh Brookes (2004), while others to finish on the podium include Broc Parkes, Adam Fergusson and Anthony West.

Brookes’ last-gasp victory over Curtain in 2004 came as a wildcard on a locally prepared Honda, while West’s stirring third place in 2017 was achieved on a Yamaha well down on top speed compared to his opposition.

Stop & Seal will also be in action at Phillip Island under the 2024 mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship presented by Motul banner, including Corey Turner and Archie McDonald in the Michelin Supersport class.

Tickets can be purchased here.