Goulburn raised, Honda rider Troy Herfoss heads to the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) with a six championship point lead over Mildura’s based rider, Josh Waters after last weekend’s Sydney Motorsport Park round.
After what was one of the toughest weekends that the Crankt Protein Team Honda Racing rider has had in a long time, Herfoss, who went into the penultimate round with a five point deficit to Yamaha Racing Team’s Wayne Maxwell came out the other end, basically smelling like roses after he took a solid 2-3 result which handed him second position for the overall round and bagging 38-championship points.
“It is the toughest weekend I have had, minus crashes,” said Herfoss after race two.
Herfoss and his team had a difficult start to the round, which saw him only being able to post the eleventh fastest time in the overall combined times, when he posted a 1min32.389 in the second practice session.
“We’re not entirely happy with the feeling of with the Honda CBR1000RR SP2,” explained Herfoss at the conclusion of Friday’s practice sessions.
“We have just tried a lot of different things throughout the day. Tonight we will sit down and work out which is the best direction to go.”
Electronic wise is where Herfoss and his team were a bit stuck, as they couldn’t adjust a lot with the bike, which meant they kind of had their hands tied behind their backs.
“We are just trying to make the bike work as good as possible with what we have got. We don’t have a direction yet. We will have a good debrief this afternoon and we will work it out tonight. As much as we don’t have a plan right now, we will by tomorrow.”
True to his words, Herfoss came out the following day in qualifying and stormed his way to 1min30.831 in the second thirty minute session, just a mere .001 seconds behind his teammate Bryan Staring, which was good enough for fifth position on the starting grid.
Herfoss, who was stoked to have closed in on the leaders after a terrible Friday said; “I think as we stand right now, we're all but in the battle for podium places tomorrow. We have some stuff to try in warm up. If it goes to plan, I'll be confident to challenge in the two races.”
However, things didn’t quite go to plan for Herfoss and his team in warm up, as they took a massive step backwards in terms of the setup. Herfoss expressed that he was terrible in warm up.
“We were so far off. That terrible I felt like getting out on the M7 and riding home,” joked Herfoss.
Just like at Winton Motor Raceway last year, the Victorian based team made a big change for the race just in the nick of time.
“My crew chief Shaun Clarke and team director Paul Free put their heads together and put a setting in the bike which made it so much easier to exit the turns which enabled us to be able to race well in both races today.”
Race one saw Waters bolting way from the field, beating Herfoss by 2.660 seconds. The race was on for second place towards the backend of the sixteen lap journey, which saw Herfoss, Maxwell and Maxwell’s teammate Glenn Allerton all fighting tooth and nail for the runner up spot.
Herfoss held onto second, in the end beating Maxwell by 1.52 seconds who said after the race that he didn’t have the grip that he needed, in terms of the throttle and the acceleration, which made it bit difficult for him.
No such dramas for Herfoss who put his back to the wall and went for it and got himself within the times of the leaders. Herfoss paid tribute to his crew saying it was a credit to Clarke, Glenn Granger and Free and whole team.
“For what Paul is going through at the moment and the pressure that he is under, to step up and give me a bike like he has, I’m just so thankful!”
The gloves were off heading into race two, which saw Maxwell holding onto a three point championship lead over Herfoss.
It looked as if Maxwell was going to finish race two strongly. But drama struck for the Victorian rider on lap three when he crashed on the entry into turn three while in second place after he hit some bumps which resulted him in sliding into the tyre wall quite hard and possibly doing some damage to his left neck and shoulder.
Up front it was Waters again who guided his Team Suzuki Ecstar GSXR-1000R to another win, his first double win since Darwin. Waters beat Staring by 1.361 seconds with Herfoss 9.994 seconds behind his teammate, while Allerton, who was third for the round was just .867 seconds behind Herfoss.
Herfoss explained that his bike wasn’t as easy to ride like in race one, as his team made a few more changes.
Anyway, third position in race two and second place overall all will go a long way toward his chances of sealing a third-straight crown.
Six points is the biggest point’s margin that Herfoss has had going into the final round of the series in the past two years.
“I’m really looking forward to heading to the final round for the series decider with a guy like Josh,” said Herfoss after race two.
“Since I was a young bloke, Josh has been one of my main competitors, so I know it will be a really good fight all the way to the very end of the championship.”
While it does look like a Herfoss VS Waters for the grand prize, you can’t count out Maxwell, who slips to third in the championship fight, who is nine points behind Waters and a further fifteen behind Herfoss, which shapes the final round up to be nothing short of a bell ringer!
The Australian Superbike Championship now heads 995km south to the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the final showdown, which takes place from 6-8 October.
Australian Superbike Championship – Round six results (top 10):
- 1st Josh Waters Suzuki 51
- 2nd Troy Herfoss Honda 38
- 3rd Glenn Allerton Yamaha 33
- 4th Robbie Bugden Kawasaki 29
- 5th Cru Halliday Yamaha 29
- 6th Josh Hook Ducati 29
- 7th Michael Blair Yamaha 26
- 8th Corey Turner Ducati 24
- 9th Alex Phillis Yamaha 21
- 10th Bryan Staring Honda 20
Australian Superbike Championship – after six rounds (top 10):
- 1st Troy Herfoss 226
- 2nd Josh Waters 220
- 3rd Wayne Maxwell 211
- 4th Robbie Bugden 201
- 5th Daniel Falzon 188
- 6th Cru Halliday 183
- 7th Bryan Staring 151
- 8th Corey Turner 138
- 9th Mitch Levy 119
- 10th Michael Blair 114