More, from a press release issued by ASBK:
Herfoss and Jones Bring the House Down at Queensland Raceway
The two, sixteen lap Alpinestars Superbike races were absolute showstoppers as the best of Australia went head-to-head at the third round of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship Presented by Motul (ASBK) at Queensland raceway this weekend.
As the smell of burning rubber subsided around the circuit it was two-time Australian Superbike Champion, Troy Herfoss and his Penrite Honda team who rose above the rest scoring a perfect weekend of pole position and two intensely fought race wins to walk away with a perfect score of 51 points. The stellar weekend has consolidated his second place in the title chase in emphatic fashion as Herfoss took a huge chunk of points out of the series pacesetter, Josh Waters (McMartin Racing Ducati).
Waters who had won the previous five races in dominant fashion and set lap records at Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park, could only manage a run of two fourth place finishes behind defending champion Mike Jones’ two-second places, while his Yamaha Racing team-mate Cru Halliday continued his impressive run of six podiums after his two third place results.
While the top four places may have been the same for the two races the action was at another level, particularly at the front in the contests between Herfoss and Jones. After claiming his first pole position in over two years on Saturday afternoon, to say it was a welcome return to the winner’s dais for Herfoss is a massive understatement.
When the lights went out to start the first race Jones won the drag race to turn one to lead the field from Herfoss as Halliday again blew the start for Waters to move into third.
Jones and Herfoss broke away from the rest as they became embroiled in a titanic struggle that saw the lead change between the pair at least a dozen times. Herfoss stalked his blue prey relentlessly looking for that opening. Jones looked like he had enough up his sleeve, but Herfoss wasn’t playing the game of the defending champion.
Behind them, Waters was in third for the opening lap before Glenn Allerton, (GT Racing BMW) grabbed third on the second lap to hold onto a possible podium until the seventh lap as Halliday steadily made up for his poor start to relegate Allerton to fourth as Waters cleared Allerton for fourth.
But most eyes were firmly focused on the leading pair. Herfoss launched his initial assault at about half-race distance with an aggressive move into the turn three hairpin. He ran wide, allowing Jones up the inside to retake the lead. Herfoss tried again at the first of two left-handers on the track and again at the final turn. Herfoss appeared to be trying too hard as his late braking moves were upsetting his mid-corner attack and he ran wide which allowed Jones back in front.
With little more than millimetres separating the pair it was anyone’s guess with two laps to go. Herfoss made his move on the fifteenth lap to finally take the lead and fended off the #1 Yamaha to take the chequered flag.
It was an enthralling duel as the passing maneuvers were astonishing as both riders threw everything at each other – reminiscent of their last round duel at Sydney Motorsport Park in December 2019 when Jones won his second title.
As they battled, Halliday was encroaching closer to the leading duo but once again rued his getaway off the line. The gap between the leading pair was just 0.115 of a second with Halliday chasing the pair of them down to be just 0.047 behind at the flag.
Cru Halliday was a man on a mission, hunting down the leading duo
It was ASBK at it’s very best, on a beautiful sunny Queensland day in front of packed stands.
Jones launched into the lead off the line to make the rest give chase in what Jones has become renowned for as he settles into a rhythm out in front. The McMartin Racing Team and Josh Waters had made a setup change between races, allowing the #21 to run with the leaders in the early stages as the group clicked off the laps. Waters tried valiantly to run with the leading duo but as the wind changed and the track became more greasy with an increased temperature, the Ducati man struggled to hold on and started to drift into a distant third.
The action was hotter than the track as Herfoss took the lead on the fifth lap. Jones was more willing to give up the lead this time as he elected to stay behind the Fireblade and study its weaknesses. A calm and methodical Jones played the patient game, drifting back to allow his front tyre to cool ahead of a renewed attack with three laps to go. Jones pounced on lap thirteen with a move that Herfoss had tried on him in race one, but the lead immediately changed back as Herfoss had his elbows out and muscled his way back into the lead the very next lap.
The pair traded the lead as the last lap board was shown and the fight was on. Side-by-side into turn three as Jones defended the inside line and held Herfoss at bay for now. Fans around Queensland Raceway were on the edge of their seat as Herfoss dived up the inside into turn four to surprise an unsuspecting Jones who had left the door open. The Yamaha rider running wide in avoidance, gathered himself up and adjusted his line for turn five to line up Herfoss into the final corner for one final attack. The pair grabbed the brakes alongside one another, with Jones running up the inside and in turn opening a gap for Herfoss to squeeze the power on and cut back underneath the R1 M. It still wasn’t over as Jones was able to get the Yamaha onto the fat part of the tyre and blast up the inside of Herfoss in a drag race to the line – The Penrite Honda man winning by just 0.056 of a second in his one hundredth start for the manufacturer in ASBK competition.
Jones’ Yamaha Racing Team teammate Halliday rides across the line to score a podium and continue his impressive 2023 form, while third is not the result he is after, it is only a matter of time before the #65 wins a race this season.
The Michelin Supersport championship in 2023 is quite possibly the most intense and competitive title chase it has been in many years. This year there are so many competitors that are capable of winning a race – and the championship – but there is one rider that is gaining a massive amount of attention as he battles in his rookie year in the class. Fifteen-year-old Cameron Dunker is a revelation.
The way he has adapted so quickly is simply astonishing. In only his fifth race in the class (at Sydney Motorsport Park in March) Cam’ broke through to become the youngest-ever winner of a race in the class. In that race, he conquered the changing wet conditions to put on a master class of controlled yet rapid riding to streak the field. To prove it was no fluke, at QR this weekend he claimed another piece of history to be the youngest rider to grab Pole Position in the class. He certainly sets some challenges for himself, but he converts them into reality as he did on the weekend. Equally impressive is his race craft and riding maturity for one so young but with a successful career in dirt track that saw him win five national titles it is understandable that he is a rising star and has an innate talent for racing either on the black, or the brown, stuff.
While Dunker has set tongues waxing lyrical since his arrival in the class, there are a number of more experienced rivals like series leader, Ty Lynch, dual Australian Champion Tom Bramich, South Australian Ollie Simpson, and others who are aiming to deny the youngster any further glory.
Simpson was like an exocet missile off the line as he charged into the lead, endeavoring to break the spirit of the opposition early. Easier said than done with this year’s pack of hard chargers as they gave chase like a bunch of greyhounds stalking a rabbit on a Friday evening but Simpson had a lead of over two seconds after five laps as Dunker and Lynch duked it out until Dunker grabbed second and set about closing downs Simpson’s lead with Lynch riding shotgun. Dunker hunted down the leader and the pair had some dramatic passing moves as the lead changed numerous over the remaining laps but it was Dunker who held on to win his second win on the trot by just 0.011 sec from Simpson with Lynch right on their tails.
In the second race, Simpson again scythed his way from the second row, and Bramich tagged onto his rear wheel as Dunker was off to an uncustomary slow start to be fourth after the first lap. Simpson looked like he was going to disappear into the distance but Bramich sure had the race face on as he pulled back the gap with some impressively fierce late braking to keep Simpson just in front as he searched for a way past.
It appeared to be a two-bike race as the pair had a lead of over 2.5 seconds over third-place Dunker after eight of the 14 laps but Dunker had other ideas. He hunted down the pair overtaking Bramich on the twelft lap and was 1.55 seconds behind Simspon with two laps to go. It didn’t seem possible but Dunker went within 0.232 of a second of pulling off a remarkable win with Bramich scoring his best result in a long time to finish third.
SUPERSPORT 300 AND YAMAHA FINANCE R3 CUP
The Production 300cc and Yamaha Finance R3 Cup were their usual races comprised of mayhem and outrageous passing moves with one to up to a dozen riders fighting for the lead.
For Sunday’s races, Hamod continued his stellar performance from the day before as he added another victory to his resume taking out the third and final Production 300cc race. Each of the four races featured conga lines of up to fourteen bikes battling for the lead and the relegation and promotion of positions was astounding as a rider could be in the lead in one corner and in eighth – or worse – at the very next.
The four races were decided by a total of 0.074 seconds. The closest gap between first and second was 0.003 sec between Hamod and Henry Snell in the final 300cc race with Brandon Demmery a “massive” 0.179 sec away on third. The largest gap was 0.034 in the final R3 Cup race between Cameron Swain and Brandon Demmery with the top six covered by half a second.
Swain finally managed to claim another victory after going so close during the weekend but after leading races many times he was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, being shuffled back rias he was swamped and relegated at critical times of the races.