Yamaha Racing Team’s (YRT) Glenn Allerton kicked off his 2016 season with an outstanding performance at the opening round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), held in conjunction with the World Superbike Championships (WSBK), at the iconic Phillip Island circuit, in Victoria.
YRT’s last minute decision to contest the event paid immediate dividends with Allerton taking the perfect three wins from three starts, while team mates Wayne Maxwell secured third place for the round and Cru Halliday posted his best Phillip Island showing in some time.
But the weekend was all about Allerton, as he emerged victorious after all three hard fought races that often had the top three riders separated by less than half a second. The first two races saw Allerton, Mike Jones and Maxwell separate themselves from the pack go bar to bar for both 10lap races. Each rider had an opportunity to secure the race win, but it was Allerton who wanted it the most and demanded the win.
Race three saw Allerton and Maxwell joined by Troy Herfoss and again, the race was within three. Allerton wasn’t to be denied in a career defining weekend and took home the perfect 75 points and now leads the championship 18 points over Mike Jones.
“It is pretty amazing to think that two weeks ago we weren’t even racing here or the ASBK and now I just won the round,” Allerton beams. “The late decision meant we never had any testing here but thankfully the team was able to pull together and get all three bikes where they needed to be and we put in a good YRT showing.
“It is also rewarding to win races like that. I had to ride at my best for every lap of every race and earn those wins. Mike, Wayne and Troy were all riding well and it became a real fight out there but it was fun and the crowd certainly got to watch some great racing.
“Thank you to everyone on the Yamaha Racing Team for their efforts to make this come together so quickly and having our R1’s in great shape and our team sponsors for their support,” Allerton ends.
Wayne Maxwell kicked off his weekend in fine style taking the all-important pole position after setting the fastest lap in qualifying and was confident of a good showing in race conditions.
In each and every race, Maxwell put up an almighty fight and was within a couple of bike lengths of winning every race. He ultimately finished with 3-3-3 results plus the one point earned from pole position to give him third for the round, just two points behind Mike Jones in second.
“We were close every race but not close enough,” Maxwell laughs at the end of racing. “Glenn rode well this weekend and deserved his win so congratulations to him. It would have been nice to pinch a race win or two but it was a good start to the year and it’s always important to get a good result at the opening round of any championship.
“There are a couple of things to work on before the next round but thank you to the team for what has been a busy couple weeks and we can look forward to the next round.
Cru Halliday has long had a love / hate relationship with the iconic Phillip Island circuit but his riding over the weekend went along way to improving the friendship. A track that he has struggled to achieve his best results at, Halliday was determined to shake off the past and make the picturesque track and happier hunting ground.
And for the opening two races, Halliday did exactly. He posted two impressive fourth places finished and within sight of the leaders in a strong return to form. Unfortunately, some of that good work was undone through no fault of his own when in race three a rider in front of him fell and Halliday was forced off the track and then fell as a result. He was unable to finish the race and the overall result doesn’t reflect the improvement in Halliday’s performance.
“I was determined to do better here as I have struggled in the past,” Halliday explains. “It’s been a track that has always got the better of me and I’m not sure why so I came here with a really positive attitude and wanted to get off to a good start for the year.
“The first two races were good and I felt that there was still some room for improvement so that is also positive. In the final race I just wanted to finish the weekend strongly and gain some good points but in the hustle and bustle of the opening lap, I had a rider go down in front of me and I had no option but to run off the track to avoid him.
“Overall it was a better weekend here for me and I can take some confidence in those first two races,” Halliday concludes.
As announced over the weekend, YRT will now focus on the ASBK championship for the 2016 season. Round two of the championship takes place at Wakefield Park, NSW on March 25-27.
For more information on the Australian Superbike Championship: www.asbk.com.au
ASBK Results – Rd1
1st Glenn Allerton – 75 (YRT / R1M)
2nd Mike Jones – 57
3rd Wayne Maxwell – 55 (YRT / R1M)
4th Troy Herfoss – 52
5th Michael Blair – 45
6th Ben Bourke – 41
7th Daniel Falzon – 39
8th Robbie Bugden – 35
9th Cru Halliday – 34 (YRT / R1M)
10th Matthew Walters - 32
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2014 Australasian Superbike Champion & AFX-Superbike Champion, 2013 Australian Superbike Champion