Round four of the Swann Insurance Australiasian Superbike Championship was held beneath beautiful and warm blue skies at the Paperclip, otherwise known as Queensland Raceway. The circuit is well known for it’s stop-go layout and tends to favour big horsepower machines like Kawasaki’s ZX-10R. The SA Kawasaki BCperformance team was primed for a big weekend after having the opportunity to carry out some invaluable testing at the circuit a few weeks earlier. Through incalculable hours of hard work by every single member of the team, the riders are starting to see the fruits of that labour with improved times and results.
In the Superbike class, riders Ben Burke and Evan Byles performed admirably throughout the weekend, despite Ben having some major setbacks courtesy of bad luck. But, that certainly did not dent his determination to finish right in the thick of things with the cream of Australian superbike riders. Both riders enjoyed a progressive day of practice on the Friday, finding almost a second with each out. By qualifying, Ben’s times had dropped to 1:09.435, just 7 tenths back from pole, while Evan squeezed in a 1:12.946. Saturday’s racing brought similarly impressive results with Ben finishing in 9th and Evan in 12th for race one, however, race two didn’t quite finish in the same way with Ben crashing out of race two, despite performing really well in the first half of the race. Evan continued his improvements, finishing up in 11th position.
Thankfully, the wonderful weather continued on Sunday with warm track temperatures providing great levels of grip. Race one proved fruitful for Ben as he managed to claim 9th place while Evan slipped into 11th. Race two was held in two parts due to an unfortunate crash for Cru Halliday of the Yamaha team. Both Ben and Evan held great lap times through the first half of the race and when the second half kicked off, Ben put in a huge turn of speed to sit right on the heels of the lead group of riders. In an effort to maintain that position, Ben unfortunately lost the front and crashed out of race two. Evan managed to bring his race home in 8th, which is a well-deserved result for both rider and mechanic.
Evan rounded out his weekend with this; “My weekend was very satisfying with personal best times in every session on Friday, with a final lap of qualifying my best with a 1:12.9. With the help of my mechanics, Kirsty and Jamie, I managed to become consistent with my new speed and worked on building my confidence into the heavy braking areas. The team was as always, great fun to be with for the weekend and it was also fantastic to have my wife, Cath with me for the round.” Ben noted that “We had another good weekend at QR. I was happy with practice and qualifying giving me a good starting position and I have been working on my starts which has paid off, especially race one on Sunday, where I went from last to fourth in to the first corner. I am very pleased with my overall pace and if it wasn't for a little bad luck and some errors under pressure the result could have been different. Looking at the positives, I am really pleased with how myself and the team found the extra pace to run near the front and it’s these glimpses of success that keeps me pushing for good results. Thanks to Ronnie and the team for working so hard to keep everything on track!”
The SA Kawasaki BCperformance Supersport riders, Kyle Buckley and Paul Young both had successful weekends, despite a few small set backs. Friday’s practice and qualifying proved invaluable for setting up the bike for the ensuing racing; with Kyle missing out on the third practice session in order to give the team some extra time to perfect his bike. Qualifying saw both riders put in sensational efforts with Paul qualifying in 12th with a 1:13.855 and Kyle coming home in 11th, just three hundreths faster with a 1:13.824. Saturday’s racing proved tough with Paul working hard to finish in 7th, 8th and 10th in each of the three races. Kyle faired better with an 11th, 10th and 9th, with his best time of the day in race three, of 1:13.571.
The main events for the team and its Supersport riders on Sunday saw better results yet again for Paul with a 7th and two 8th places, with a best lap time of 1:12.690, showing just how much improvement can be made. Kyle finished with two 9th places and a 10th to round out the weekend, with a best time of 1:13.188. Being able to make adjustments to the bikes in order to prepare them best for the riders in each race only gives them the tools to perform better on each outing. It is wonderful to see both riders take huge steps with every single round. Kyle mentioned that “it was a very positive weekend, I think that we made a lot of progress and were really starting to get near the leading times. Just chasing that last half second on the leaders. Massive thanks to everyone who put in this weekend, it was great! Looking forward to round five!”. Paul was more resolute in that “I’m really happy with improving my supersport lap times on Sunday, down to a point where I can see podiums on the horizon. Supersport race wins are the target, nothing less”.
It was a huge weekend for the SA Motorcycles BCperformance team’s Ninja 300 Cup riders as well, with new rider Jimmy Broadbent finally able to compete in a full round’s racing after his unfortunate crash at the first Sydney Motorsport Park round. Friday’s practice had both riders making changes to their bikes, which then showed corresponding time improvements. Initially, Jimmy had some chatter issues with the front end of his bike but as soon as that was sorted, his lap time became very consistent for such a young rider. Ultimately, he qualified in 17th with a 1:28.536. Paul continued his sensational form in the 300 class, qualifying in 5th, but given the racing is so incredibly close in that class, he was only one tenth slower than the pole sitter, Sam Davison.
Saturday’s racing brought great results for Jimmy with three 11th place finishes. That doesn’t quite denote his improvements though with his times dropping to 1:27.119, which is a sensational effort for someone who is at his first full race weekend at a track he hadn’t raced at. Paul rode in his usual experience style, carrying huge corner speed to earn him three wonderful wins, the final one of which was by an unbelievable 5.6 seconds.
Sunday’s racing proved a little tougher for both riders with Paul having to retire from the second race courtesy of a snapped gear linkage. Despite that, Paul put in a huge effort to win race one by 1.6 and then, to round out a weekend, an epic final corner passing move that landed him the final race win by just nine hundreths of a second. Jimmy rode equally well to bring home an 11th, 19th and 9th, showing remarkable resolve in chasing the pack in race two after being pushed wide into turn three. His best time of the weekend coming in at 1:26.350 – an incredible effort. Jimmy said that “it was a fantastic weekend, loved every moment and learned a lot. My SA Kawasaki BCperformance Ninja was on fire and I look forward to taking more steps forward at Wakefield. Special thanks to my team mates, mechanic and Kelvin Reilly for believing in my ability on the bike because if not for them, I would not be riding. Bring on round five!” Paul was equally happy; “top weekend from my perspective. Best of all was coming from last on the grid to win the final Ninja Cup race on the very last corner!”
The team is now back in Sydney and preparing for upcoming tests at Wakefield and then round six of the Swann Insurance Australiasian Superbike Championship. The team would like to thank its sponsors for their continuing support and hope to bring more fabulous results for both them and the team at the upcoming round.