Team Suzuki’s Troy Herfoss claimed the number one plate with victory in both races at the final round of the Australian Supersport Championship at Tasmania’s Symmons Plains International Raceway at the weekend.
The event was held in conjunction with the V8 Supercar Championship, a large crowd braving changeable and squally weather across the weekend to witness the first ’2 plus 4′ national championship meeting held at the venue since 1998.
Herfoss, who started from the front row of the grid on his Team Suzuki GSX-R600, clinched the championship in the opening 14-lap race on Saturday with a thrilling 0.135sec victory over championship contender Christan Casella, while Suzuki rider Brodie Waters completed the race one podium in third.
With the championship decided, race officials allowed the 23-year-old to swap from his regular #18 plate to #1 for Sunday’s second race, held over 16 laps in wet and slippery conditions at the 2.4km Launceston circuit. Herfoss was again victorious, this time by 3.725sec over Casella with Aaron Gobert third.
Sunday’s race wasn’t without drama for Herfoss, who had to withstand a last-corner lunge from Irishman Des Darby, the latter falling victim to the slippery circuit when within sight of the finishing line and ending up in the muddy outfield.
For Herfoss, victory in front of the large V8 Supercar crowd on Sunday while wearing the #1 plate was a perfect end to what has been a breakthrough year for the ex-Supermoto champion.
Swapping to Supersport racing after winning the US Supermoto Championship in 2008, Herfoss has now added the Australian Supersport Championship to his trophy cabinet in only his second full season in his new discipline. It was the first Australian Supersport Championship for Team Suzuki.
“I was able to watch the race on the big Super screen every time I went down the main straight, so I knew what sort of gap I had and where the other guys were,” said Herfoss. “It was a good feeling seeing that number one plate on the big screen.”
Herfoss finished the season with 274 points, 40 points clear of Casella (234) with Brodie Waters third on 212 points.
In the Australian Superbike Championship Team Suzuki rider Josh Waters marked a successful return to the national series with third overall for the round from second and third placings in the two Superbike races.
The 23-year-old missed the previous two rounds of the series while he recovered from injuries sustained in an accident in early July in the USA when testing for the US Suzuki Superbike team.
Waters, the defending Australian Superbike Champion, qualified on the front row of the grid after posting the third-fastest time in Superpole.
He finished third in Saturday’s 14-lap race, held on a dry track, behind race winner Glenn Allerton and Jamie Stauffer, then backed up with a close second on Sunday’s 16-lap wet race behind race winner Wayne Maxwell.
Allerton finished third in Sunday’s race to claim the overall round win, with the 2010 Australian Superbike Championship going to Bryan Staring.
Three-time New Zealand Superbike Champion Robbie Bugden recorded sixth and seventh placings on his Team Suzuki Mack Trucks GSX-R1000 for sixth overall for the round.
Bugden was engaged in an entertaining battle with the Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Scott Charlton in race one, eventually getting the better of Charlton by 0.212sec. In race two, Bugden again found himself in a close battle with Charlton, although this time the finishing order was reversed.
Missing from the grid at Symmons Plains for the final round of the 2010 series was three-time Australian Superbike Champion Shawn Giles, the Team Suzuki rider recovering from a fractured collarbone suffered in the Superbike support category event at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island in mid-October.
Giles expects to be back to race fitness in time for the Australian Endurance Championship 6-hour event at Phillip Island on December 4-5th where he will co-ride a Team Suzuki GSX-R1000 with Waters.
Phil Tainton, Suzuki Team Manager, says: “Troy’s performance this weekend again showed maturity beyond his years and just how far he’s come in only his second full season of road racing.
“Two race wins and the 2010 Championship is just reward for Troy and the whole team. It was a good feeling putting that number one on the bike for Sunday’s race.
“It was great exposure for the team and our sponsors to be racing in front of a large crowd with the V8 Supercars, and to have television coverage of the Superbike on Seven in prime time viewing.
“It’s pleasing to see Josh back on the bike and running at the front of the Superbike pack after such a major injury. Josh and the whole team can now focus on next season and reclaiming that number one plate.
“Congratulations to Bryan Staring and his team on the 2010 Superbike Championship – it was well deserved.”
Troy Herfoss says: “I couldn’t be happier with the overall weekend result, and it’s good to win the round and win the Championship in front of a big crowd.
“I wanted to win the race on Saturday to clinch the championship, even though I didn’t have to – and that’s the way it worked out. It’s the sort of thing you remember, rather than just riding for the points. Then I really wanted to win that race on Sunday with the number one plate on the bike.”
“I kept looking at it on the Super screen as I went down the main straight – it was a good feeling. That win was for the whole team. The bike was awesome and the team has done a great job all season long. It’s been a good year.”
Joshua Waters says: “It’s great to be back on the bike and be competitive with these guys. Being on the podium in both races was a good result. I really wanted to win that final race, but Wayne Maxwell was just too fast – he was riding well.
“Team Suzuki has been so supportive while I’ve been recovering from the accident. There’s been no pressure on me, and I’d like to publicly thank them for everything they’ve done. It’s just so good to be back riding again.”
Robbie Budgen says: “It was a challenging weekend with the weather and with bike set-up and I guess it was an average result – not too bad, but not brilliant either.
“I got caught in traffic in race one, and in both races I didn’t push hard enough in the early laps. But I was in some close battles in each race, so I’m sure the big crowd would have enjoyed it. It would have been good to have finished off the season with better race results, but sixth overall in the Championship isn’t too bad after I missed the opening round due to my New Zealand commitments.”
Shawn Giles says: “It’s obviously disappointing not to be racing, but it’s important that I’m fully fit before I get back on the bike. If this weekend had been at Phillip Island I would have been able to race, but Symmons Plains is a lot more physical as the heavy braking puts a lot of strain on your arms and shoulders. My collarbone just isn’t strong enough yet.”
Perry Morrison, General Manager Suzuki Australia, says: “Congratulations to Troy. He is a champion rider and it’s a pleasure to see him take the Suzuki GSX-R600 to Team Suzuki’s first ever Supersport title.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Phil, who runs the most professional road racing squad in the country. He has mentored many riders over the years and he and Lynne thoroughly deserve this championship.
“The Superbike guys put in a great performance this year. Josh is headed for bigger and better things in 2011 and Shawn and Robbie both ensured there were plenty of GSX-R1000s running up front. Special thanks must also go to Team Racers Edge Suzuki and Scott Charlton for a remarkable season in finishing fourth overall.”
“Recognition and thanks must go to our sponsors – Motul, Mack Trucks, Dunlop, RK Chains, NGK, PTR, Yoshimura, Air Road, Ohlins, All Seasons Phillip Island Eco Resort and Suzuki Racesafe. Without their fantastic product and ongoing support the Championship would not be possible.”
Superbike results: 1 Glenn Allerton; 2 Wayne Maxwell; 3 Josh Waters (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 4 Jamie Stauffer; 5 Bryan Staring; 6 Scott Charlton (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 7 Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000); 8 Ben Attard; 9 Kris McLaren; 10 Beau Beaton.
Final Superbike Championship Points: 1 Bryan Staring 241pts; 2 Wayne Maxwell 234.5; 3 Glenn Allerton 192; 4 Scott Charlton (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 172; 5 Jamie Stauffer 165; 6 Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 144; 7 Josh Waters (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 143.5; 8 Shawn Giles (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 142.5; 9 Shannon Johnson 119; 10 Kris McLaren 82.
Supersport results: 1 Troy Herfoss (Suzuki GSX-R600); 2 Christan Casella; 3 Aaron Gobert; 4 Brodie Waters (Suzuki GSX-R600); 5 Nicholas Waters (Suzuki GSX-R600); 6 Ben Burke; 7 Des Darby; 8 Chris Quinn; 9 Andy Lawson; 10 Lawrence Gude (Suzuki GSX-R600).
Final Supersport Championship Points: 1 Troy Herfoss (Suzuki GSX-R600) 274pts; 2 Christan Casella 234; 3 Brodie Waters (Suzuki GSX-R600) 212; 4 Aaron Gobert 164; 5 Chris Quinn 152; 6 Ben Burke 149; 7 Ryan Taylor 125; 8 Des Darby 111; 9 Andy Lawson 100; 10 Blake Leigh-Smith (Suzuki GSX-R600) 85.