Yamaha Racing Team's, Mike Jones, piloted his Yamaha R1M to a third-place finish at a dramatic fourth round of the Australian Superbike Championship, held at Darwin’s Hidden Valley.As part of the triple challenge where the combination of Superbikes, Supercars and The Nitro Nights Drags series is more than enough motorsport to weary the most hardened racing fan in a huge weekend in the Top End.
To get a bLU cRU behind the scenes look of the YRT crew in Darwin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxETaqM3ARQ
Jones came into the event confident of a good showing after winning the event last year and coming off an impressive second place finish at the previous round at Queensland Raceway. From the moment the Superbikes hit the track on Friday morning, the pace was on with the top handful of riders churning out times around lap record pace and setting the scene for some intense racing to come.
Jones qualified in P2, behind series leader Josh Waters, but ready to get his hands dirty across the three 16 lap races ran over the weekend. Race one saw Jones drop some positions as the field charged into the first turn. He scrambled hard and worked his way back to third and poured the pressure on to secure second. As the race wore on, Jones stayed in a tight three rider battle with Herfoss and Allerton as the trio traded blows. Jones lost some rhythm late in the race and was forced to settle with a frustrating fourth place.
With the chance to regroup over night and work through some of the technical aspects of the bike and the track, Jones was fired up to get back up the front in the remaining two races. And that’s exactly what happened. Races two and three saw Herfoss and Jones lock into battle, just like they did at QR just one month prior. The pair traded positions on multiple occasions during both races but in both races, it was Herfoss just bike lengths in front of Jones as they crossed the finish line.
Jones finished with 4-2-2 results to leave him in third for the day and now back into third for the championship.
“Just like QR, we gave it everything we had and came up just a little bit short,” he says with a tinge of frustration. “I struggled in the first race with some front end feel late in the race but the team got to work over night, came up with a direction and the bike was awesome in the next two races.
“On track, Troy and I seem to keep finding each other and we have had some great battles of late but its about time I turned the tables on him and got some race wins. In those last two races, I was able to get passed but then I made a mistake and let him straight back by. To his credit, he has been able to be in front when it matters and get the race wins.
“I’m satisfied with my riding and the team did a great job this weekend. The guys put in the hard yards off the track so it was good to get on the podium and reward them for their work,” Jones ends.
Despite crashing twice during the course of the weekend, Cru Halliday can take a lot of positives from his weekend at Darwin, setting personal best lap times and results. Halliday was on the gas from the get-go, but a fall in the final practice session took the wind from his sails. But he rebounded well for the qualifying sessions, setting a personal best lap time and landing on P-5 on the grid.
Race one saw Halliday suffer from a poor start, but he had worked hard and fought his way back to a comfortable fifth place when he missed timed his braking into a turn and was forced to run wide. He dropped several positions but was able to regroup and fight back to eighth at race end.
Race two and Halliday was on the charge, he moved to fourth in the early stages and then set off after the lead pack. Matching the pace set up the front, Halliday slowly but surely wound in Glenn Allerton in third but wasn’t close enough to make a pass as the pair flashed over the finish line.
The third race and again Halliday showed exceptional pace. He moved through the field again was about to move into fourth place when he clipped the rider in front of him, speared off the track and fell from his machine. It was a disappointing way to finish the day for Halliday.
“I’m pretty beat up and sore at the moment,” Halliday laments at days’ end. “I have always struggled at this track, but I think we found a few things this weekend and while the results don’t show it, it was the fastest and most competitive I have been here.
“The mistake in race one and the crash in race three were both on me. Race one I was so desperate to get to the front, I was just pushing too hard and out braked myself well race three, I was just impatient trying to get around Sissis and hit the back of him causing me to overbalance and fly off the track and into the wall. That’s the second time I have hit a wall this year and not a stat that I wanted.
“But, I will get both my bike and my body tuned up and by ready for Morgan Park in a months’ time.
Round five of the ASBK picks up on July 15-16 at Morgan Park in Warwick two hours west of Brisbane.
Round Four – Darwin
1st Troy Herfoss - 67
2nd Josh Waters- 60
3rd Mike Jones – 57 (Yamaha Racing Team)
4th Glenn Allerton- 45
5th Anthony West- 44
6th Bryan Staring- 42
7th Arthur Sissis - 41
8th Broc Pearson - 40
9th Max Stauffer - 37
10th Ted Collins - 34
ASBK Championship Standings
1st Josh Waters – 220
2nd Troy Herfoss – 212
3rd Mike Jones – 161 (Yamaha R1M)
4th Glenn Allerton – 160
5th Cru Halliday – 145 (Yamaha R1M)
6th Bryan Staring – 130 (Yamaha R1M)
7th Ted Collins - 129
8th Broc Pearson - 122
9th Arthur Sissis – 113 (Yamaha R1M)
10th Max Stauffer -106 (Yamaha R1M)