Australian Superbike - round 4

Craig Coxhell gave Suzuki's new 2007-model GSX-R1000 a stunning debut win in the fourth round of the Australian Superbike Championship at South Australia's Mallala Motorsport Park on Sunday. Coxhell, the 2003 Australian Superbike Champion, won the opening 19-lap race by 0.109sec after a thrilling last-lap passing move on defending champion Jamie Stauffer three corners from the finishing line.

The 24-year-old's win was all the more impressive as he had not ridden the 2007 GSX-R1000 prior to Friday's practice sessions at the circuit, with Team Yoshimura Suzuki team manager Phil Tainton and the team's race technicians only completing the bikes for Coxhell and team-mate Shawn Giles on Thursday evening.

In the second of the day's two Superbike races, shortened to 16 laps by race officials due to time constraints, Coxhell finished just 0.163sec behind race winner Stauffer in another enthralling, race-long battle between the pair.

Stauffer's bonus point for qualifying in pole position gave him the overall round victory by one point from second-fastest qualifier Coxhell although the Team Yoshimura Suzuki rider scored some degree of payback in race two when he claimed a new Superbike lap record of 1:06.525 eclipsing the record previously held by Stauffer.

Coxhell's lap record is over one and a half seconds quicker than the V8 Supercar lap record for the 2.6km South Australian circuit, held by Commodore driver Greg Murphy.

Three times Australian Superbike Champion Shawn Giles made it a double debut success for the new 2007 GSX-R1000 with two top-10 results - sixth in race one and 10th in race two - although the experienced Giles admitted it was taking longer for him to find a confident set-up on the new bike at Mallala than he would have liked.

With race-kit parts for the team's Superbikes only arriving from overseas a few days prior to the Mallala race meeting, the team was required to build two complete Superbikes in just one-and-a-half days.

Team Yoshimura Suzuki satellite rider Robbie Bugden recorded ninth and seventh place finishes to end the round seventh overall on his 2006-model Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike and give the team three riders in the top nine.

There was further success for the team in the Supersport class where Joshua Waters retained fourth overall in the eight-round national championship in his first season aboard the Team Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600 - despite an off-track excursion while leading the second of the day's two Supersport races. The 20-year-old missed a gear-change at the Turn Three hairpin and ran off the track.

Waters recovered to finish fifth, backing up his fourth in race one to secure fifth overall for the round, equal on points with fourth-placed Jeremy Crowe.

Round Five of the Australian Superbike and Supersport Championship will take place at Launceston's Symmons Plains race circuit on May 18-20.

Craig Coxhell : "To win first time out on the new 2007 bike and to come away with the new lap record is a great reward for the whole team. I felt comfortable on the new bike right from the first practice session on Friday, which is a great credit to Phil Tainton and the guys. I tried to make it two wins from two starts but I couldn't find a way past Jamie Stauffer in race two. It was hard but fair racing between the two of us and congratulations to him on taking the overall win. The Australian championship is extremely competitive and I knew it was going to be tough coming home after three seasons in Europe. I'm feeling more confident with each race meeting and with the 2007 bike I feel I'm now in a position to start shooting for round wins and challenging for the title."

Shawn Giles : "It's been good to come away with points in both races, but it was one of those meetings where I struggled to get the new bike dialled in with settings I was comfortable with. The 2007 bike is quite a bit different to the 2006 bike I've been racing and it's a matter of setting it up to suit my riding style. The team did a great job in getting the bike built in time for the meeting and to have it turn a wheel for the first time on Friday was a massive effort from all. Starting from row three was always going to present a challenge at this circuit but I felt it was important to use the new 2007 bike and work on developing it in race conditions. I just didn't have the confidence to push any harder on race day. My bike had good speed all weekend and I can't say enough about the team and the performance of the tyres. It's a long season with four rounds still to go."

Joshua Waters : "I'm happy with the weekend's results and to be sitting fourth in the points at the halfway stage of the season. We're still developing the Suzuki GSX-R600 and there's more to come. Holding onto the lead in race two showed the bike has good pace - until I overshot Turn Three when I missed a gear change and four bikes got by. I knew I could hold them off up the fast back straight as my bike would hook up really well out of that corner, so it was frustrating when I let them through. I actually changed up a gear instead of down in the chaos so I ended up accelerating off the track."

Robbie Budgen : "It's been a mixed weekend and I guess seventh overall for the round isn't too bad given some of the riders who finished behind me. It's so competitive out there this season - it's important to have the bike set-up spot-on, especially at a track like this where it's difficult to pass. The pace was pretty hot today, as a new lap record in each race shows."

2007 Australian Superbike Championship - round 4

Superbike Overall Results
1. Jamie Stauffer
2. Craig Coxhell
3. Glenn Allerton
4. Wayne Maxwell
5. Russell Holland
6. Shannon Johnson
7. Robbie Bugden
8. Daniel Stauffer
9. Shawn Giles
10. Adam Fergusson

Superbike Championship Points
1. Jamie Stauffer 193,
2. Daniel Stauffer 148
3. Craig Coxhell 135
4. Glenn Allerton 127
5. Shannon Johnson 115
6. Wayne Maxwell 111
7. Shawn Giles 107
8. Adam Fergusson 95
9. Russell Holland 88
10. Scott Charlton 87

Supersport Overall Results
1. Jason O'Halloran
2. Russell Holland
3. Jamie Stauffer
4. Jeremy Crowe
5. Joshua Waters
6. Chris Seaton
7. Wayne Maxwell
8. Nick Henderson
9. Cameron Stronach
10. Grant Hay

Supersport Championship Points
1. Jason O'Halloran 185
2. Jamie Stauffer 166
3. Jeremy Crowe 141
4. Joshua Waters 134
5. Russell Holland 133
6. Bryan Staring 97
7. Wayne Maxwell 82
8. Chris Seaton 80
9. Gareth Jones 80
10 Mick Kelly 77