bLU cRU 300 Racing Team’s, Hunter Ford, took his first round victory of the season in the Australian Supersport 300 Championship, at the penultimate round series as Winton Motor Raceway played host to the sixth round of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).The 19-year-old from Anna Bay, New South Wales, qualified in second place and managed to convert it into a 2-1-3 result, giving him a total of 63 points for the round and his first round win of the season.
As always, the 300cc Supersport class provided some of the closest racing all weekend with a handful of riders separated by less than a few bike lengths at the end of each race. Race two saw some real bar banging as Ford was locked in combat with fellow Yamaha rider Max Stauffer and Oli Bayliss with Ford’s teammate Zac Levy and Tom Bramich, in hot pursuit for most of the race.
However with three laps to go, Ford, Stauffer and Bayliss pulled a gap on pair behind them and went about having their own private battle. The race winning move for Ford came on the last lap when he dived up the inside of Stauffer into turn one. Stauffer returned serve by repassing Ford into turn three, but went wide which allowed Ford to nip back underneath him. Unfortunately Stauffer would come together with Bayliss on the exit of turn eight which saw Stauffer going down. This allowed Ford to go onto win by .604 from Bayliss, with Bramich picking up third place, ahead of Levy in fourth.
And if race two was tight, then race three was a barn-burner as it was the tightest race of the weekend with just .541 seconds separating the top four riders, with Ford in third doing enough to claim the round win.
“That was some of the most fun racing I have had,” Ford said with excitement. “It’s great to get the overall win, but in race three I was on a borrowed bike, so it was tough to ride and I found it hard to stay with the front guys, but we found a way and got the result,” said Ford, who moves up to third in the championship.
“I’m looking forward to heading to Phillip Island now and see if I can possibly take second place in the overall championship. It will be a tough ask, but I’ll give it my best shot,” declared Ford.
Eleven points down on Ford in third place for the round was Bramich, who strung together a 3-3-5 result in a consistent performance. With Ford and Bramich finishing first and third, it marked the third time this season that the pair have stood on the podium together.
The 21-year-old Victorian rider was last weekend racing with the mindset of just being “safe” to make sure he scored solid championship points to ensure that he left the round with a healthy points lead.
Bramich was in the battle all day but concedes he did back it down in the final race and reduce his risk of coming off and giving up his points lead with just one round remaining in the championship.
“To finish in third place was good for me as I managed to extend my championship lead a little bit.
"I just need to keep getting points until we get the job done. I need to take little risks as possible and hopefully we can seal the deal without too much stress at the final round,” finished Bramich, who now leads Levy by 37 points.
Two points down on Bramich was Levy, who rode to a 5-4-4 result, which was his third fifth place overall finish for the season.
“Obviously, I would have liked to be able to be a bit higher in the races and chipped away at Tom’s lead in the championship, but it wasn’t to be,” said Levy. “The championship is not over yet so it will be on at the Island, which shapes up to be a good end to the season. It’s good to see all of us bLU cRU 300 Racing team riders coming first, second and third in the championship fight. We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” Levy said.
In the YMF R3 Cup, Bramich was the sole bLU cRU 300 rider to stand on the podium, finishing in second place behind Stauffer. Joining them on the podium was Locky Taylor.
Ford was four points off Taylor, finishing in fourth, while Tayla Relph was one-point shy of Ford in fifth place. Levy had a somewhat shocking round, finishing in ninth place, scoring a 15-2-5 result.
Just like the Australian Supersport 300 Championship, it’s a bLU cRU 1-2-3 fight for the championship, which sees Ford holding onto a six point lead over Levy, while Bramich is 6.5 points down on Levy.
The Australian Superbike Championship now heads to 4.445km Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, which takes place on 12-14 October.
1st Tom Bramich – 359
2nd Zac Levy – 322
3rd Hunter Ford – 295
4th Oli Bayliss – 290
5th Locky Taylor – 243
YMF R3 Cup
1st Hunter Ford – 225
2nd Zac Levy – 219
3rd Tom Bramich – 212.5
4th Locky Taylor – 204
5th Max Stauffer – 166.5
1st Hunter Ford – 63
2nd Oli Bayliss – 57
3rd Tom Bramich – 52
4th Max Stauffer – 51
5th Zac Levy –50
YMF R3 Cup
1st Max Stauffer – 55.5
2nd Tom Bramich – 50.5
3rd Locky Taylor – 44
4th Hunter Ford – 40
5th Tayla Relph – 39