Maxwell takes Australian Superbike championship lead after Round 4 at Barbagallo Raceway

Superbikes backing it into turn 1 at Barbagallo Raceway. Picture: Travis Barnes
Superbikes backing it into turn 1 at Barbagallo Raceway. Picture: Travis Barnes

WAYNE Maxwell did all that was required to take the Superbike Championship lead on Sunday, racing to impressive results across two exciting races in the championship’s round 4 at Barbagallo Raceway.

Despite carrying a hand injury after a crash during practice, the Yamaha Racing Team rider fought off an-in form Ducati-mounted Mike Jones to snatch up the round 4 win.

With reigning champ Jones starting on pole for the first time this season, there was plenty of excitement on the grid ahead of race one.

But it was Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Troy Herfoss who screamed off the straight and in to the lead, while Yamaha Racing Team’s Maxwell and Glenn Allerton slotted in behind him.

With two laps in the books, Maxwell began to apply the pressure on Herfoss for the top spot, and by the time riders reached the switch back section of the track on lap three, Maxwell was the new race leader, with Herfoss relegated to second.

Unfortunately for Herfoss, two more positions were snatched away from him when Allerton and Jones began their charge to the front; Allerton moving in to second behind his teammate, while DesmoSport Ducati’s Jones slotted in to third.

After only five laps, Maxwell continued to maintain a healthy gap on teammate Allerton, while Jones held down third position from Jon Daniels Racing’s Daniel Falzon, who had passed Herfoss to move in to fourth.

From there, Falzon was on a commanding charge, snatching up a new lap record with a 55.446 lap time, proving that he was the fastest Superbike on track during race one.

After eight laps, Jones applied enough pressure on second placed Allerton to make the pass, relegating Allerton to third, where he also began to feel the daring speed of Falzon’s Jon Daniels Racing Yamaha machine.

But it was Jones’ performance who had spectators cheering on their feet in race one; the Ducati mounted star snatching away the lead from Maxwell on lap 11, while Falzon steered his Yamaha past Allerton to slot in to third position.

With eight laps remaining, the running order saw Jones continuing to lead from Maxwell by 0.161 of a second, while Falzon maintained an impressive third position followed by Allerton and Herfoss who were in fourth and fifth places respectively.

By lap 14, Jones and Maxwell began to approach back markers, but it did not at all affect Jones’ impressive performance; streaming past lapped riders, and with a clear track ahead of his Ducati machine, Jones continued to hold off the experienced Maxwell.

With four laps to go in race one, the only change to the standings came from Falzon, who dropped from third to fifth position, allowing Allerton to move up a spot while Herfoss followed suit in fourth.

When the Superbike riders headed in to their last lap, both Jones and Maxwell remained only 0.14 of a second apart, treating spectators to a final dash to victory.

But it was a fairy tale ending for youngster Jones, who showcased impressive maturity, leading from lap 11 all the way to the chequered flag.

Despite applying the pressure on Jones throughout the entire race, Maxwell (Yamaha) crossed the finish line in second position followed by teammate Allerton, while Honda mounted Herfoss and Falzon wrapped up race one in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Just outside the top five was SA Kawasaki’s Ben Burke in sixth, followed by Cru Halliday (Yamaha Racing Team), and Brayden Elliott (Knobby Underwear Suzuki).

Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Jamie Stauffer raced to ninth, while local Ben Stronach finished race one in an impressive 10th place.

When race two kicked off, thousands of spectators watched on as Herfoss launched off the grid and in to turn one with the lead for the second time today, followed by Maxwell and race one winner Jones.

And with the confidence of a race win up his sleeve, Jones took no time at all to make two passes and move in to the race lead, and unfortunately for Herfoss it was somewhat a repeat of race one, because before long Maxwell had also gotten by the Crankt Protein Honda machine.

After four laps, Jones continued to lead from Maxwell by only 0.187 of a second, while Yamaha’s Allerton had also made the pass on Herfoss to move in to the final podium position.

By lap five, spectators on the straight were greeted with a new race leader; Maxwell’s number 47 Yamaha R1 machine leading the way from Jones by the narrowest of margins followed by Allerton who remained in third. Herfoss who had led the first lap of race two, dropped back to a disappointing sixth place.

As the Superbike class reached the half way point, Allerton began to close in on the rear tyre of Jones’ Ducati machine, testing the youngster’s ability to hold off the undeniable experience of his closest threat.

Falzon, who now holds the Barbagallo lap record after race one, maintained fourth position from Halliday and Herfoss who were in fifth and sixth places.

With seven laps remaining on track, Maxwell, Jones, and Allerton began a three-way fight for the top spot, ensuring that spectators would leave the Round 4 with the final race going down to the wire.

When riders headed in to lap 17, it was a shock to the crowd to see Yamaha teammates Maxwell and Allerton in positions one and two, with Jones losing time in the basin forcing him to drop back to third position.

And when the chequered flag flew for the final time, it was Maxwell’s turn to celebrate – taking the final race win aboard his Yamaha machine, while teammate Allerton finished in an impressive second. DesmoSport Ducati’s Jones wrapped up the final race of the day in third, followed by Falzon and Herfoss who finished in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Yamaha Racing Team’s Halliday concluded the final race of the day in sixth, followed by Burke, Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Stauffer, Matt Walters and Elliott who all finished inside the top ten.

Maxwell, who will head in to round 5 as the championship leader by five points, spoke moments after stepping off the Superbike podium.

“I’m absolutely stoked to leave round 4 with the win. Barbagallo was one of the tracks that I was unsure about, and didn’t know whether I could go with the likes of Mike (Jones) and Glenn (Allerton), so to get a race win and to turn everything around after a crash on Thursday feels awesome,” Maxwell shared.

“We have an awesome tight crew with the Yamaha team, and to come away with a win feels awesome. To do it in front of such a big crowd, and to be a part of such a great championship feels fantastic – I’m looking forward to celebrating with the boys tonight.”

Superbikes Championship standings

1 Wayne MAXWELL 176

2 Glenn ALLERTON 171

3 Troy HERFOSS 158

4 Mike JONES 137

5 Ben BURKE 114

6 Cru HALLIDAY 106

7 Daniel FALZON 103

8 Brayden ELLIOTT 91

9 Jamie STAUFFER 84

10 Matt WALTERS 73