bLU cRU 300 Racing Team riders, Tom Bramich, Hunter Ford and Zac Levy have stamped their authority in this year’s Australian Supersport 300 Championship, as well as the YMF R3 Cup in this year’s Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).With both championships going all the way down to the wire at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, the question was, which of the three riders would be champions for 2018.
Taking out the Australian Supersport 300 Championship was 21-year-old Bramich aboard his JLT Yamaha YZF-R3 machine with a 3-1-5 result, which also handed him the round result in the process. Bramich was made to work for his glory throughout the weekend, as once again the 4.445km seaside circuit lent its self to some of the closest racing the class has seen all year.
The opening seven lap race saw Ford pipping Levy by a mere .006, with Bramich just .599 seconds behind Levy. However, it was race two which was the real bell ringer race of the weekend with top ten riders covered by .743 seconds.
Bramich, who started from fourth on the grid, entered the last lap in eighth place, which turned out to be the best place, as he made his way forward and picked up the perfect slipstream onto the main straight. Bramich prevailed in the second race, beating Levy by .096 seconds, with Tayla Relph in third, .059 second behind. With Bramich scoring 25-points, it was more than enough for him to lock up the championship with a race spare.
“To win the race and the championship was the best feeling in the world, and I was just so relived after crossing the line,” said Bramich, who can add the Australian Supersport 300 Championship to his 2015 Australian Moto3 Championship.
“To be able to make any sort of race plan was just really hard. Anyway, we did what we had to do and we came away with the championship. I’m just so happy to win the championship, as it was the goal this year to do it. I’m happy for my team, sponsors and of course, Yamaha Motor Australia. I just can’t wait for next year now,” finished Bramich.
Finishing two points off from Bramich for the round was Levy, who came home with a 2-2-4 result, which saw him finishing in second place in the championship, 39-points off from Bramich.
Levy was gracious in defeat and said, “Congratulations to Tom and his team. They have worked flawlessly all year and we were just not able to pin it down this year. In saying that, we are still having a good crack at it and it’s nice to end the year with some good race results and another overall podium finish.”
Levy finished the year with three overall podiums to his name – a round win at Wakefield Park in March, third place at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway and second at Phillip Island. Rounding out the top five, in fourth and fifth place were YRD supported riders, Locky Taylor and Relph. Five points off Relph in sixth place was Ford, who had an up-and-down weekend.
After qualifying on pole position with a 1min47.696, Ford scored the race win in the epic duel between his two teammates and a sixth-place finish in race three. Race two however, didn’t quite go to plan. Ford crashed out at turn four, after his shoulder tapped Bramich. In the process of his crash, his arm got ran over by Oli Bayliss. Other than that, it was pretty good weekend according to Ford, who finish third in the Australian Supersport 300 Championship with 336-points in the bank.
“Considering how many times I went down this year, it was a good overall finish for the championship. Of course, I would have liked to have won the championship, but it wasn’t to be.”
Ford however did lock up the YMF R3 championship. After taking a total of thirteen top three finishes from fifteen race starts, which saw him taking four overall podium places – two round wins at Morgan Park Raceway and the final round at the ‘Island’.
“In the YMF R3 Cup Championship this weekend, simply nothing went wrong. Everything went my way, which enabled the team and I to win the championship,” said Ford, who took the race win in the final race, which saw the top nine covered by .814.
“It was some of the best battles I have had this weekend, which goes to show just how good the R3 Cup is. It’s a credit to Yamaha for this class,” added Ford.
Three points down on Ford for the round was Bramich, making it a bLU cRU 300 Racing Team 1-2 finish. Bramich rounded the weekend off with a 4-1-3 result. Once again, Bramich was forced hard to earn his race victory in race two. Bramich managed to hold Ford at bay by just .046 seconds, with Taylor in third, .065 seconds behind. The top five riders were separated by .196 seconds.
It wasn’t enough though for Bramich to finish in second place for the championship, with Levy beating him by 3.5-points. Taylor was one point behind Bramich for the round, while Levy was fourth with a 2-4-2 result. Rounding out the top five respectfully was 14-year-old Harry Khouri.
1st Tom Bramich – 418
2nd Zac Levy – 379
3rd Hunter Ford – 336
4th Oli Bayliss – 325
5th Seth Crump – 295
YMF R3 Cup
1st Hunter Ford – 288
2nd Zac Levy – 276
3rd Tom Bramich – 272.5
4th Locky Taylor – 263
5th Max Stauffer – 208.5
1st Tom Bramich – 59
2nd Zac Levy – 57
3rd Seth Crump – 52
4th Lock Taylor – 50
5th Tayla Relph – 46
6th Hunter Ford – 41
YMF R3 Cup
1st Hunter Ford – 63
2nd Tom Bramich – 60
3rd Lock Taylor – 59
4th Zac Levy – 57
5th Harry Khouri – 44