As riders headed out for their sighting lap anticipating their Race Three start, spectators dotted the fence around the entire perimeter of the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, ready for the action to kick off. Conditions were damp after the Australian Supersport 300 race experienced rainfall.
Visors went down and as the red lights went out, up to 21 Superbike competitors twisted their throttle and launched off the main straight and in to turn one in a roar of bikes, commencing their six-lap journey ahead.
Taking the lead into Doohan Corner was Waters, followed by Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team riders, Troy Herfoss (Crankt Protein Honda Racing, CBR1000SP2) and Bryan Staring (Crankt Protein Honda Racing, CBR1000SP2). This time, Herfoss was looking much more aggressive and overtook Waters towards the end of lap one. At the end of lap one the heavens opened once again and the riders were looking tentative around Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
In the wet conditions, Michael Blair (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1) was riding like a man possessed and overtook all the front runners within the course of a lap. It was clear that the wet tyres were the preferred choice as Waters, Herfoss and Staring dropped through the field. Mitch Levy (ATR, Yamaha YZF-R1) had also overtaken the front runners. As it stood with four laps to go, Blair led from Levy, Barton, Herfoss and Waters had dropped back to fifth.
With three laps to go, Blair had a ten second gap to second place runner Levy. This truly was a wet weather masterclass from Blair on his Yamaha. With two laps to go Corey Tuner (Desmosport Ducati, 1299 Panigale) was an unfortunate crasher . Second place runner Levy had also crashed taking away a certain podium.
By the final lap, the placings had changed dramatically with Blair taking the victory in front of Barton and Dale Brede (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R). This simply was an excellent performance by Blair in tricky conditions. Fourth place went to Con Kokkoris (Ticksings, Ducati Panigale), followed by Richard Hewson (Acclaim Accident Repairs, Yamaha YZF-R1) Jake Drew (Brighton Bikes & Bits, Yamaha YZF-R1), Shane Yokom (Team MYR, Honda CBR1000RR), Jed Metcher (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1), Cru Halliday (R Star Mining, Yamaha YZF-R1) and Waters.
Over the three round Phillip Island Superbike Championship, Waters did what was required to win the Championship with 148 points. Waters was followed by Crankt Protein Honda Racing riders, Herfoss and Staring in the standings who had 135 and 129 points respectively.
Waters shared after winning the Championship; “It’s a great feeling to win the Phillip Island and ASBK Championships in one year with Team Suzuki ECSTAR. I won the round as well! Hopefully we can keep this momentum leading into 2018. Obviously, I chose the wrong tyres for the final race but that’s racing.”
Phillip Island Superbike Championship Standings
1. Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R) 148
2. Troy HERFOSS (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) 135
3. Bryan STARING (Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team, CBR1000SP2) 129
4. Cru HALLIDAY (R Star Mining, Yamaha YZF-R1) 120
5. Daniel FALZON (JD Racing, YZF-R1) 107
6. Michael BLAIR (Blairbuild, Yamaha YZF-R1) 96
7. Wayne MAXWELL (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) 86
8. Mitch LEVY (ATR, YZF-R1) 82
9. Robert BUGDEN (Kawasaki BCperformance, ZX-10R) 73
10. Glenn ALLERTON (Yamaha Racing Team, YZF-R1) 68
Phillip Island Superbike Championship Race Four Provisional Results
1 Michael BLAIR (Blairbuild, Yamaha YZF-R1)
2 Matt BARTON (West End Mazda, Honda CBR1000RR)
3 Dale BREDE (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
4 Con KOKKORIS (Ticksings, Ducati Panigale)
5 Richard HEWSON (Acclaim Accident Repairs, Yamaha YZF-R1)
6 Jake DREW (Brighton Bikes & Bits, Yamaha YZF-R1)
7 Shane YOKOM (Team MYR, Honda CBR1000RR)
8 Jed METCHER (Demolition Plus, Yamaha YZF-R1)
9 Cru HALLIDAY (R Star Mining, Yamaha YZF-R1)
10 Josh WATERS (Team Suzuki ECSTAR, GSX-R1000R)
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Images courtesy of Andrew Gosling/tbgsport - Phillip Island Superbike
Photo 1: Josh Waters with the Phillip Island Superbike Championship Trophy
Photo 2: Herfoss, Waters and Staring
Photo 3: Michael Blair