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Halliday Claims Race Win at Eventful ASBK Weekend

There was sunshine, rain, day, night, race wins and podiums all in a wild weekend of racing at round two of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK), held under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Motorsport fans piled into Sydney Motorsport Park on Saturday night to watch an eventful night of action that had a little bit of everything for all competitors. The Yamaha Racing Team experienced plenty of highs and lows on a weekend that saw Cru Halliday jump to second in the championship.

The weekend started impressively for Halliday as in his very first session on the track he unleashed a 1.29.1 to set the early pace and by just .2 away from his lap record set last year. That was quickly forgotten about when he crashed in the second session and the team had plenty of work to do before the day was over but it set the tone for the weekend that continued to ebb and flow.

Qualifying saw Halliday end up in P4 in a very tight top five. Less than .2 of a second covered the top five and the speed was on up the front. He was disappointed by not making the front row, but again, things turned and in race one, despite a re-start, Halliday carved his way to the front of the shortened 10 lap race to take the win in front of plenty of friends and family that had come to cheer him on.

He found himself in third place for the first part of the race but then at the half way stage, he made his move. He sliced up the inside of Harrison Voight entering turn five and then with a lap and a half to run, charged past Josh Waters and dropped the hammer on the final lap.

The top four flashed across the finish line separated by one second in what is the race of the season so far.

But the plot twists didn’t stop. As the field grided up for race two, rain began to fall and although starting the race on slicks, officials soon declared it to be a wet race and it was back to the pits for the wet tyres.

Halliday started the race cautiously in the slippery conditions, but found his mojo as the race wore on and moved his way from eighth place through to fourth by race end and his 1-4 results gave him second for the round and jumped him to second in the championship.

“I was pretty determined to have a good weekend here at my home track and get some momentum back after a tough first round,” Halliday explains. “We had a bit of everything thrown at us over the last two days, but the team did great job in dealing with my crash and then being prepared for the rain when the wet weather came.

“In a lot of ways it was very similar to last year, even how the first race was unfolding, it had the same feel about it, but as I got closer to the Ducati’s, I could see they didn’t have the pace they had at the start of the race and I had to make the most of the fast bike I had.

“Then the rain just throws everything out the window and it’ s just a matter of survival sometimes. History shows it’s almost impossible to win this championship with a DNF, so staying on two wheels and finishing the race becomes the priority,” he ends.
Mike Jones finished the weekend in a three-way tie for sixth place with his 4-10 results but there are a lot of positives he can take from the weekend. His fourth in race one was hot on the heels of the top three and had the race gone the full 13 laps, he may well have found his way to the podium as he was coming on strong as the finish flag came out.

Wet conditions aren’t the preferred for a clinical rider like Jones and like last year, he doesn’t have the confidence to push the bike on the wet and shiny SMSP surface. He did what he could and stayed out of trouble to finish 10th where many made mistakes and went down.

Jones now sits fifth in the championship but is heading towards the next segment of the championship where the tracks are right in his wheel house.

“The goal is to try and win every race or round we come to and its disappointing when I can’t achieve that but one of the positives I can take away from here was my race pace had improved significantly. Last year, I was running third in the opening race, but a long way from the front, this year I was on pace from thee start and felt I had more in the tank right at the end, so the bike and my fitness are good.

“I also acknowledge that I do need to get better in wet conditions. It just takes me too long to get the right feel in the wet and read the track well enough to know when and where to push, so it’s something I will work on and improve as you never know how many wet events we are going to race.

“Thanks to the Yamaha Racing Team for another huge effort on the weekend and my friends and family that came out to support me,” Jones said.

The championship now moves north to Queensland Raceway for round three on April 26-28.