Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday is the 2018 Australian Supersport (600cc) champion after wrapping up the series a round early at round six at Winton, Victoria.Halliday proved a cut above his rivals all year and it was a commanding performance from the 30 year old racer who now adds the 2018 Supersport championship to his resume alongside his previous nationals victories in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in a range of support classes, but none are as sweet as this.
Halliday entered the sixth round of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) at Winton Motor Raceway last weekend with a 41 point lead over his championship rival, Tom Toparis, and needed to push that gap out to over 11 points if he wanted to secure the championship with a round to spare.
In a pulsating day of racing with a few twists and turns thrown in to keep riders, teams and spectators on their toes, Halliday finished with 2-1 results and stretched his lead out to an unassailable 52 points giving him the championship as he crossed the finish line in race two.
Halliday got his weekend off to the best possible start he could by snaring his fifth consecutive pole position, a first in the Australian Supersport Championship category. Everything looked as if it was going to be another run away performance in the two thirteen lap races for Halliday, but it wasn’t the case in the opening race.
Halliday managed to get a decent start, but so did Toparis. Heading into the first corner, both riders were fighting over common ground and as a result speared off the track and onto the grass allowing the majority of riders to get by as they both regained control and composure.
But once back on the circuit, Halliday wasted no time and carved his way through the field. He picked riders off one by one and eventually made his way back to second place in the race, scoring 20 championship points, but more importantly, he placed ahead of his championship rival, Toparis, and gained a handful of vital points in the championship chase.
For race two, he just needed to again finish again of Toparis and the championship was his. But with the memory of the first turn bar banging from race one fresh in his mind, Halliday was tentative on his approach into the corner and allowed Toparis to slip by.
Confident he could regain the lead, he stalked Toparis before making his move and moving clear as he charged towards a race and championship victory.
“I knew I could get passed Tom, but then I also knew if he kept his head he would be able to hang with me,” explained Halliday after race two. “Tom pushed me all the way to the end. I’m not going to lie, I was riding at my hardest in the whole race.”
“I rode the safest I possibly could, without going too slow. When I came around the last turn and onto the main straight and saw that championship winning pit board, it was just a massive relief,” beamed Halliday.
“To be able to win this championship, aboard the all new Yamaha YZF-R6 for Yamaha Racing Team, Yamaha Motor Australia and all of our team sponsors is just an incredible achievement and something I’m very, very proud of,” said a delighted Halliday.
“This title is the most rewarding for me as we have had the correct equipment to get the job done and everything has happened according to plan. The whole deal came together late but everyone put their heads down and worked hard and its pleasing to get the result we all wanted. To wrap up the championship with one round to go is a massive relief for myself as well as the final round at Phillip Island is not a track which I desire.
“Overall, it’s just great as YRT have not had a championship win in the Supersport Championship since 2011 and I’m just glad they have got back up there now and on the new 2018 R6. Hopefully the team can continue this form and win many more championships in this class in the future.
“I have to say a massive thanks to everyone from John Redding, Kev Marshall, Jeff Dillon and of course all of my crew who have worked alongside me this year. It’s just very rewarding and a great way to repay back the team and sponsors with all their hard work,” concluded Halliday.
In the Superbike category, Daniel Falzon secured a 5-6 result which handed him fourth place overall for the round, but more importantly keeps his 100% finishing rate for the season going with just two races left to run this year.
After starting from the third row of the grid in seventh place, Falzon had his work cut out for him in the opening race, which was nothing short of carnage with riders falling down left, right and centre.
The 24-year-old South Australian got an average start but was gathering speed and momentum towards the end of the race. However, the former Australian Superstock 600 and Supersport champion, had some arm pump issues which potentially cost him of a better result.
Race two was again carnage for the Superbike field, which had three restarts in total. In the first part of the race, Falzon was punted off the track into turn one, which left him in twenty-fifth position. He managed to make up nine positions, but then the race was red flagged due to a fallen rider.
The third restart saw Falzon getting a good launch off the line and was battling for fifth position. Feeling really good on the #25 Yamaha YZF-R1M, he threw down some of his fastest laps of the weekend but paid the price with tyre wear and had to play it smart in the waning laps of the race.
“I’m happy to maintain our consistent performance and finish fourth for the round,” said Falzon. “It was far from the prefect weekend for me and I had issues in each race, but I kept on fighting and just as important, kept the bike on two wheels and that gives me a shot at the championship podium at the final round.
“Phillip Island has always been a special place. We had quite a good result there at the start of the year and were quite competitive, which is the main thing. I’m looking forward to heading back down to the Island and will be doing everything in my power to try and finish on the podium for the series.
Wayne Maxwell had a somewhat up-and-down weekend. Things started exceptionally well as he posted great lap times in the practice sessions and qualifying, taking P-2 into the opening race and confident he could turn that into an excellent result.
Race one saw Maxwell bolting away from the field and in the process eclipsing his previous lap record which he posted last year in race two by .251 seconds, lowering the bench mark time to a 1min20.437. However, on lap seven Maxwell went into the first corner too hot which resulted him in losing the frontend and he went down. The fall and race DNF meant his championship aspirations for 2018 were over has the gap between himself and championship leader, Troy Herfoss, was too big.
“I had a small margin on the pack and simply just pushed a bit too hard a lost the frontend,” explained Maxwell. “It’s disappointing, but hopefully we can come out swinging in the second race and take a race win.”
Maxwell did exactly that, as once the carnage was cleared and the racing got underway, it was Maxwell the victory in race two. After sitting in second place for the first two laps behind Josh Waters, Maxwell got by Waters on lap three and never looked backed. The Victorian rider stormed to a 2.253 second victory, which marked his 35th ASBK Superbike race win in his career.
“It’s good to bounce back in race two and claim a healthy victory and give the guys at Yamaha some reward for all their hard work they have done,” said Maxwell, who still remains in second place in the championship, just seven points ahead of Troy Bayliss.
“The year might be done in terms of winning the championship, but now we have to focus on fighting for second place in the championship. The team and I will do everything we can to finish second in the championship,” declared Maxwell.
The Australian Superbike Championship now heads 359km south to the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the season’s finale, which takes place on 12-14 October.
Australian Supersport Championship- 600cc
1st Cru Halliday – 335 (Yamaha R6)
2nd Tom Toparis – 283
3rd Max Croker – 213
4th Damon Rees – 195
5th Zack Johnson – 176 (Yamaha R6)
Australian Superbike Championship -1000cc
1st Troy Herfoss – 298.5
2nd Wayne Maxwell – 237 (Yamaha – YZF- R1M)
3rd Troy Bayliss – 230
4th Josh Waters – 225.5
5th Daniel Falzon – 217 (Yamaha – YZF- R1M)
Australian Supersport Championship
1st Cru Halliday – 46 (Yamaha Racing Team)
2nd Max Croker – 43
3rd Tom Toparis – 35
4th Nic Liminton – 35 (Yamaha R6)
5th Broc Pearson – 32 (Yamaha R6)
Australian Superbike Championship
1st Troy Herfoss – 42
2nd Josh Waters – 40
3rd Troy Bayliss – 36
4th Daniel Falzon – 31 (Yamaha Racing Team)
5th Arthur Sissis – 31
6th Wayne Maxwell – 25 (Yamaha Racing Team)
7th Kyle Buckley – 24
8th Ted Collins – 23
9th Mitch Rees – 20
10th Mitch Levy – 19 (Yamaha R1)