Yamaha supported riders slugged it out at the front of the field in both the Supersport 600cc and Supersport 300cc categories at an action-packed round three of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).Australia’s newest road race circuit, The Bend in South Australia, played host to round three of the championship and the boys in bLU had a day out at the front of the pack as several riders traded race wins back and forth in an engrossing days’ racing.
The Supersport 600cc had been dominated by Tom Toparis at the opening two rounds and the teenager was out for more of the same at round three. Things started in much the same fashion with Toparis taking P1 in qualifying and then moving on to claim victories in the opening two races of the weekend. It stretched his win streak to seven race wins in a row and it would take a brave man to bet against him in the third and final race at Tailem Bend.
Enter Nic Liminton. The native South Australian wanted nothing more then to give his home town friends and family something to cheer about and he took it right up to the series leader during the opening stages of the third and final race. He snatched the lead only to have Toparis take it back with three laps to go and both riders hungered down for a grandstand finish.
As the pair charged into the penultimate turn on the final lap, Liminton made a lunge at Toparis and managed to sneak by before holding on for a very popular win.
“I’m totally over the moon about that final race and getting the win. It was so good to do it in front of my friends and family who have come out to support me and this event in South Australia,” Liminton beams.
“To top it off with our very first Australian Supersport Championship win in the last race is just even better. I couldn’t be happier. Massive thanks to the team. The Yamaha YZF-R6 has been working great and we finally got the Pirelli tyre picking up really nicely.
“In that race, Tom sure did make me work for it. He is very, very quick and has won every race so far this season. So, to be able to put a stop to his winning streak is such a nice feeling.
“I’m looking forward to Morgan Park. Unfortunately, I missed the round last year due to my health issues. It will be great to be back there as I know I can go quick there. It should be another awesome round,” he ends.
And while Toparis was beaten in the final race, he still holds a commanding position at the top of the championship table after three rounds and enjoyed his battle with Liminton throughout the weekend.
“It was another great weekend for the Landbridge Racing Team and I. We extended the championship lead, which is what we came here to do,” Toparis said from the podium.
“Nic is obviously very strong around here at The Bend Motorsport Park, which is his home track. He rides it really well and deserved his victory. I liked battling with him and it was good fun.
“I kind of got a little bit held up at the start of the race, as I got a bad start and towards the end of the race Nic’s tyre came on which worked into his advantage. He just got me into the second last corner on the last lap. Apart from that, we managed to have two really good wins this weekend and on top that, another pole position as well.
“We have a big gap now until Morgan Park and I’m headed off overseas now to race in the IDM series to do some more laps until the next round of the ASBK to keep my eye in. Hopefully racing in the IDM series that will help us get to Morgan Park on the ball and ready to go.
“I’m really forward to getting back to the tight tracks, such as Morgan Park and Winton in September. The tight tracks will suit the Yamaha YZF-R6 for sure. So, I can’t wait,” Toparis said.
In the 300cc Supersport division, a new winner was thrust on top of the podium. Harry Khouri proved that consistency is vital in this category and managed to day the day honours with 2-4-3 results in the three races contested over the weekend.
Fellow Yamaha rider, Olly Simpson won the opening two races but recorded a DNF in the final race and allowed Khouri to take the round victory by four points.
“After a tough practice and qualifying this weekend it’s a nice feeling to be able to come home with a 2-4-3 result and get our first overall round result.
“The racing was tight all weekend and I had plenty of good few battles in all three races and I was kept honest.
“I’m a bit speechless about winning the round. It’s been a long time coming and it’s nice feeling to finally get that first win out of the way. I just have to thank everyone behind me for all the support.
“I just hope now I can get a few more round wins in the rest of the year and close the gap to Max [Stauffer] and hopefully fight for the championship. I believe we have a good package to challenge for the title. However, it’s down to me to be consistent and score good points for the championship.”
Championship leader, Max Stauffer, had a tough day at the office and finished seventh for the round but still holds a 33 point lead after round three.
1st Tom Toparis – 198 (Yamaha R6)
2nd Nic Liminton – 157 (Yamaha R6)
3rd Broc Pearson – 141 (Yamaha R6)
4th Oli Bayliss – 128 (Yamaha R6)
5th Reid Battye – 127
1st Max Stauffer – 179 (Yamaha)
2nd Harry Khouri – 146 (Yamaha)
3rd John Lytras – 134 (Yamaha)
4th Ben Baker – 128 (Yamaha)
5th Senna Agius – 128
1st Tom Toparis – 71 (Yamaha R6)
2nd Nic Liminton – 65 (Yamaha R6)
3rd Reid Battye – 53
4th Broc Pearson – 52 (Yamaha R6)
5th Dallas Skeer - 46
1st Harry Khouri – 55 (Yamaha)
2nd Olly Simpson – 51 (Yamaha)
3rd Brandon Demmery – 49 (Yamaha)
4th Ben Baker – 46 (Yamaha)
5th Hunter Ford – 45 (Yamaha)