Australian Superbike - round 5

Team Yoshimura Suzuki rider Joshua Waters gave Suzuki's 2007-model GSX-R600 a stunning maiden win at round five of the Australian Supersport Championship at Launceston's Symmons Plains Raceway at the weekend.

With a crowd of 5000 attending the Tasmanian event, Waters claimed a dominant 5.188sec win over defending Australian Supersport Champion Jamie Stauffer in the second of the day's two 20-lap Supersport races, moving to third overall in the eight-round national series.

It may well have been a double race win for the 20-year-old, as he held the early lead in the opening Supersport race when it was red-flagged by race officials. A slow start by Waters in the restarted opening race saw him finish a determined fourth as he chased the leading group, the combined points from the two races giving the Victorian second overall for the round.

Waters joined Team Yoshimura Suzuki at the start of the 2007 season; Sunday's win was the first for the ex-Australian 125GP Champion in his new colours and the first for the Suzuki GSX-R600K7 in what was only its sixth race meeting for the team.

There was further success for Team Yoshimura Suzuki in the Superbike class where Craig Coxhell finished the round third overall on his GSX-R1000K7 after recording two second placings in the two 20-lap Superbike races.

Coxhell, the 2003 Australian Superbike Champion, finished just 1.050sec adrift of reigning champion Jamie Stauffer after a spirited charge in the closing laps of race one. In race two, the 24-year-old was again second, 1.906sec behind race winner Glenn Allerton.

The Victorian's results were all the more impressive as unlike his opposition he had not raced at the daunting 2.41km Symmons Plains circuit previously. It was only Coxhell's second race meeting on the new 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000, which he debuted at the previous round of the series at South Australia's Mallala circuit with a race win and new lap record.

Three times Australian Superbike Champion Shawn Giles carded two top-10 results at Symmons Plains - eighth in race one and ninth in race two - although the experienced Giles admitted it was taking longer for him to find a confident set-up on the new 2007 bike than he would have liked.

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

Joshua Waters : "That win in race two was just the best feeling - not just for me, but I was so happy for the team. The guys made some minor changes to the bike's set-up after the first race and I had a fresher rear tyre in the second. Once I got in front I was confident I could stay there as I knew the bike was strong. My bike had good speed all weekend and I was able to brake late because it was so stable, two things that are important on this circuit. To have jumped to third in the points with three rounds still remaining is a position I'm happy with, especially as it's the first season for the Suzuki GSX-R600. There's more to come, I'm sure."

Craig Coxhell : "I'm happy to come away with two strong results on a track I haven't raced at before, but in some ways I'm a bit disappointed too as I thought we could have taken the win. On the slow-down lap after the last race I actually thought I'd won the meeting overall with two second placings and it was only when I got back to the pits I found out I'd missed out by two points. The pace was really hot in the opening laps of the second race and I couldn't stick with the front guys when I had a full fuel load as I couldn't brake as hard as I wanted to. Once the fuel burned off I could up the pace and chase them down, and then when Dan and Jamie ran wide at the hairpin, I said 'Thank you, I'll take that'. I've quite enjoyed this circuit, and trying to go through the fast sweeper on full throttle is a real challenge on a Superbike. I managed it on my qualifying lap, which was pretty exciting."

Shawn Giles : "It's good to come away with points in both races, but I'm disappointed with my results. I had some problems getting a fast lap in qualifying and that put me back on row three for both races. My bike had good speed all weekend and I can't say enough about the team. But starting from row three was always going to be difficult at this circuit as it's pretty much single file through the first three corners. The Superbike class is so competitive this year, and less than a second covered the top 11 riders in qualifying. It's difficult if you don't get away in the leading group. The 2007 bike is quite a bit different to the 2006 bike I raced in the first three rounds and it's a matter of setting it up to suit my riding style. It's taking a little longer than I'd like, but we're heading in the right direction."

Robbie Budgen : "It's been a consistent weekend and I guess eighth overall for the round isn't too bad. I was the only rider in the top 10 who didn't attend the recent Superbike test session at the circuit, so we were playing a bit of catch-up on bike set-up. I was happier with my second race and seventh in that one - and I was only five points off fifth overall for the round. The pace was pretty hot today, as a new lap record shows."


2007 AUSTRALIAN SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

Superbike Overall Results
1. Glenn Allerton
2. Jamie Stauffer
3. Craig Coxhell
4. Dan Stauffer
5. Scott Charlton
6. Russell Holland
7. Wayne Maxwell
8. Robbie Bugden
9. Shawn Giles
10. Chris Seaton

Superbike Championship Points (after 5 of 8 rounds)
1. Jamie Stauffer 235
2. Daniel Stauffer 185
3. Craig Coxhell 175
4. Glenn Allerton 169
5. Wayne Maxwell 140
6. Shawn Giles 132
7. Shannon Johnson 126
8. Scott Charlton 118
9. Russell Holland 117
10. Robbie Bugden 100

Supersport Overall Results
1. Jamie Stauffer
2. Joshua Waters
3. Jason O'Halloran
4. Russell Holland
5. Sam Smith
6. Gareth Jones
7. Jeremy Crowe
8. Nick Henderson
9. Chris Trounson
10. Wayne Maxwell

Supersport Championship Points (after 5 of 8 rounds)
1. Jason O'Halloran 224
2. Jamie Stauffer 211
3. Joshua Waters 176
4. Jeremy Crowe 169
5. Russell Holland 168
6. Gareth Jones 109
7. Wayne Maxwell 104
8. Bryan Staring 97
9. Chris Seaton 94
10 Mick Kelly 93