The stage has been set for an epic championship showdown at the ‘Island’ between Tommy Edwards and Jack Mahaffy in this year’s Yamaha Motor Finance R3 Cup, after the championship took a swing in Edwards’ favour after he took out round four at Sydney Motorsport Park.
The 16-year-old, who hails from Newcastle, snared a 1-2-1 result after starting from second place on the grid, which handed him 70-championship points and now leads the championship fight with a five-point margin over Mahaffy.
All three races across the weekend were super tight. This was proven when Edwards managed to claim race one, beating Hunter Ford by a mere .070 seconds, with Mahaffy third, .122 seconds behind, while in race two Mahaffy denied Edwards the win by .277 seconds.
Race three however was the closet for the weekend. The highlight of the race was the battle between Edwards, Mahaffy and Ford. The trio went into the last lap, Ford was leading into the final corner but it would be Edwards to get an excellent slipstream to take the win. As Edwards took the checkered flag, it was Mahaffy in second by .056 seconds with Ford third, .093 seconds behind.
“It’s been a really good weekend for the team and me,” expressed Edwards after race three. “To get the results like we have this weekend and come out the other end with the championship lead is a fantastic result. We now head to Phillip Island for a showdown which should be an awesome weekend.
“I believe I will go well at Phillip Island. However, its racing and anything can happen, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it pans out.”
Seven points down on Edwards was Mahaffy, who scored his third podium finish for the year. The second race which Mahaffy won was done when he overtook Edwards on the last lap in the first sequence of corners. The Victorian based rider then made a break for it and took the win by .227 seconds.
“That was a really close race,” expressed Mahaffy after race two. “Starting from Pole Position definitely helps. I had to play it smart and it was very close until the last lap. There was a bit of a clash towards the finish and I was able to recover from it quite well to make a break at the end.”
After that epic race three battle, Mahaffy explained that he had to keep cool and use the slipstream down the straight.
“There was one point where I thought I might be able to run away with the win when I had over a second gap but it wasn’t to be. Overall it was a good weekend, but a bit of a shame we lost the championship lead. The fight is on now at the Island between Tommy and I.”
Rounding out the podium was Ford, his third consecutive podium finish for the year. The New South Welshman expressed that it was disappointing not to win that race three, as he was leading on the final lap.
“Unfortunately, I got out dragged and missed out on the win. The margins between the top three were so close and that’s how racing goes,” said Ford.
Ford is still within a mathematical chance of taking second place in the championship, but would need a lot of luck to fall his way. His main target would be to consolidate third place in the championship, as Ben Bramich, who finished sixth for the round is seventeen points behind Ford going into the last round.
Completing the top five was Broc Pearson in fourth, who scored three fourth place finishes and Corey Briffa in fifth, four points behind Pearson.
The Yamaha Motor Finance R3 Cup heads to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the last round, which will take place on 6-8 October.
ASBK YMF R3 Cup Results
1st Tommy Edwards – 244
2nd Jack Mahaffy – 239
3rd Hunter Ford – 194
4th Ben Bramich – 177
5th Tayla Relph – 157
1st Tommy Edwards – 70
2nd Jack Mahaffy – 63
3rd Hunter Ford – 56
4th Broc Pearson – 51
5th Corey Briffa – 47