A strong second for Tom Toparis

Toparis leads the pack into turn 4 at the Island in race 1. He was soon over taken by Chiodo but who went on to win by 4.316 seconds. Photo: Russel Colvin.
Toparis leads the pack into turn 4 at the Island in race 1. He was soon over taken by Chiodo but who went on to win by 4.316 seconds. Photo: Russel Colvin.

Goulburn’s Tom Toparis finished the 2017 Motul Australian Supersport Championship off with a solid second place overall finish at last weekend’s seventh and final round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

The 17-year-old expressed that he had a good weekend, which was a fair understatement.

Toparis hit the ground running on Friday by posting the fastest overall time when he stormed to a 1min35.648 in the second session around the 4.445km circuit. In fact, Toparis was 1.665 seconds than Victorians Mark Chiodo.  

“We were super strong, straight out of the bat which is pretty much unexpected because the conditions were not really that good,” Toparis told The Post.

“The Cube Racing ZX6R wasn’t really well setup for those dodgy conditions, but we made it happen, which is a credit to the team.”

For qualifying on Saturday, Toparis and his Queensland based team were pretty strong again. While Toparis did top the time charts in qualifying one with a 1min35.871, his time was beaten by Chiodo in qualifying two by .541, which meant Toparis would start from second on the grid for the two ten lap races.

“I believe were a little bit unlucky that Mark pulled out a lap out and got pole over us. Taking nothing away from him, he rode really well,” he said after qualifying, which marked his third second place in qualifying for the 2017 season.

Race one saw Toparis leading for the opening lap before getting passed by Chiodo on lap two. Toparis openly admitted that he struggled in the first race, as the wind changed the tail wind down the main straight.

The tail wind was crucial for Toparis and it didn’t really work for him as he couldn’t really adapt to it as fast as Chiodo could. The finishing order saw Chiodo beating Toparis by 4.316 seconds.

“Mark just broke away from me, so I just consolidated for second and picked up as many points as I could. I expected to be closer and I definitely expected to battle for the win," said Toparis after race one.

"The wind change was just too much for me and I couldn't deal with it, so that was the reason why I was so far off in the race."

Ahead of race two, the Cube Racing team made a heap of massive changes and the bike was a lot better for the windy conditions.

This was proven as for the final race of the year Toparis managed to stick with Chiodo throughout the race.

Chiodo did break free a little bit in the middle of the race, but Toparis reeled him back towards the backend of the race, and finished just .447 seconds behind him.

Toparis explained that he wasn’t quite fast enough in the first sector and couldn’t quite get the run onto the main straight as he would have liked to which resulted him in not being able to get a tow on Chiodo.

“I’m happy enough with how this weekend has panned out and happy with the year. It’s a shame we couldn’t get second in the championship, but we’ll come back next year stronger and hopefully challenge again for the championship victory,” he said.

“The year has been so good for the local hero and what is the most important thing is the fact Toparis and his team have learned so much together in the 2017 ASBK season. We have learned all the tracks in Australia, so no matter where the series goes next year, we should be relatively fast.

“I can't thank Ben [Henry], my mechanic Marty Dowd and suspension technician Chris Jones and the rest of the team for fantastic year. Also my family and everyone else for what they've done for me this year. To gain all of the knowledge that we have this year will be a big head start coming into 2018.”

Toparis now turns his attention to the next two upcoming weekends, in what is the biggest thing to happen in is racing career thus far – racing as a wildcard in World Moto3™ Championship.

Toparis who flew out to Japan on Tuesday explained that last weekend’s result has given him a lot of confidence heading into this weekend’s fifteenth round of the World Moto3™ Championship, which heads to the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

“I know it’s going to be tough this weekend,” he said. 

“As I have said before, I won’t know the track nor the bike. However once we return back to Phillip Island the following weekend for the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, to a track that I have raced at at this weekend and two times before the final round, we should be a lot better.” 

Motul Australian Supersport Championship – Round 7 Results (top 5)

  • 1st Mark Chiodo Triumph 51
  • 2nd Tom Toparis Kawasaki 40
  • 3rd Ryan Taylor Yamaha 35
  • 4th Rhys Belling Yamaha 32
  • 5th Sam Condon Yamaha 30

Final Championship standings after 7 rounds

  • 1st Ted Collins Suzuki 263
  • 2nd Mason Coote Yamaha 218
  • 3rd Tom Toparis Kawasaki 212
  • 4th Mark Chiodo Triumph 204.5
  • 5th Sam Condon Yamaha 191.5