By Steve Martin
Former World Endurance and ASBK Champion, and ASBK TV Expert Commentator
It’s been a crazy year, I cannot believe we could have two more different tracks than those we have in the Championship this year – Round 1 at Phillip Island and the Grand Finale of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, at Wakefield Park Raceway, this weekend.
Wakefield Park Raceway will bring out the different strengths of the riders in the ASBK paddock, and also challenge them with the double-header Grand Finale.
The place itself is so tight to race. It requires a completely different riding style and tactic compared to Round 1 at Phillip Island, if you want to win at Wakefield.
Boost Mobile Ducati’s Wayne Maxwell is the man to beat as he is leading the Championship. He will be under the most pressure as he won’t be able to relax at all this weekend, as the wolves will be snapping at his heels at each turn to steal the ASBK Championship from his clasp.
When you throw into the mix a bunch of riders that tackle the Wakefield circuit well like Yamaha Racing Team’s Cru Halliday, who is on fire at the moment, Troy Herfoss with his brand new CBR 1000 Honda, Josh Waters who I know likes the circuit and has tested there well in the past, it really is going to come down to the wire this weekend.
Mike Jones is another one who is coming to grips with the Desmosport Ducati V4R and we know how good he is. We saw that last year and is why Jones is the current Kawasaki Superbike class ASBK Champion. I’m sure he will want to go out with a bang.
Jones has a lot to prove as well with Maxwell winning the first three races at round 1, and I’m sure he wants to prove that he can win on the V4R Ducati as well.
Herfoss is one of those guys that just lifts, he loves the bumps, he’s tough and a real competitor and this is a track that is designed and made for him. The thing he has to watch out for is himself, because he has previously been in line to win both races but managed to run off track.
One of the advantages Herfoss has got with the new Honda though is speed, so that should provide him with more control than in the past when he was forced to ride on the ragged edge, so definitely watch out for him.
It will be interesting to see Bryan Staring and the Kawasaki BCPerformance team as I know that bike and package works really well at Wakefield.
I’ve seen Bryan race overseas. Followed him his whole career and know how strong he can be on the day. He is one you can definitely count on to be in the mix. If he gets it right and the stars align on the day he could win the ASBK Championship.
There are a number of other riders that can spoil the party for the front runners as well.
Aiden Wagner is one you cannot take your eyes off. Think back to when he first made an appearance in ASBK last year on a Yamaha, he won and proved he is in it to take no prisoners when he had that clash with Wayne Maxwell at turn one Phillip Island.
Unfortunately, last year he was scuttled with injuries as well as early this at round 1.
If the break has done anyone good, it is that man Wagner. I’m sure his body is back in fighting fit form, and when he isn’t thinking about pain, he is thinking about winning. Don’t be surprised if Wagner aboard his Yamaha Racing Team machine spoils the party and ends up on the podium.
Glenn Allerton may be unlikely to have a shot at winning the title, but he has a lot to prove.
He’s won 3 Championships and has been injured in the past. In fact, a few years ago Wakefield was the start of his undoing when he broke his arm.
With all of that behind him now and a good spell like Aiden Wagner to mend his body, he must deliver.
I know the MaximaBMW team have been working hard in the background and having watched Allerton, I do feel he is back in form and we might see him back on the podium.
I love Arthur Sissis, He has such an extravagant style. I love watching him and you can always guarantee when in a race he gives it 110 per cent and has that Suzuki sliding all over the place.
He always has an amazing first lap dash. He is always one of the first guys into turn one after making a lot of moves on other riders.
Qualifying doesn’t really matter to him and having time off due to COVID-19 would have helped him as a privateer team, so let’s hope he has been able to save some money and upgrade the machinery which will take him further up the field.
It is good to have Jed Metcher back in the Championship and you can never underestimate him.
He is a guy who has won on the world scene, and if you can make it overseas you can make it here in Australia.
With his taking on the running of his own Metcher Motorsports Team and riding as well, he has taken on a lot for one year and you can bet that if one of the front runners stumbles he will be there to jump.
I can’t wait for the action to start today with free practice and our fans will be able to watch all the drama and action from the 2020 ASBK Grand Finale at Wakefield Park Raceway, this Saturday and Sunday live via ASBK TV Live Stream, and through ASBK TV partners SBSHD, Fox Sports Australia and Fox Sports Asia.
Keep up to date with the latest news on the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship, presented by Motul, via www.asbk.com.au and following ASBK on Facebook and Instagram.
Photos by Russell Colvin