Round six of the Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship kicked off under glorious blue skies at Winton Raceway, with the perfect conditions setting the stage for numerous circuit records. The team arrived the previous day in order to be race ready today with all riders and team members ready from the get go.
The team’s superbike riders, Ben Burke and Evan Byles, both had successful days on track, benefiting significantly from last season’s data and recent testing sessions at the circuit. Both riders headed out for the first practice session to get reacquainted with the track and posted respectable times. Come session two however, both riders took things up a notch. Sessions three and four gave the riders time to consolidate and make small improvements for qualifying. Ben scored 8th place on the grid with a qualifying time of 1:23.887, just 1.967 back from pole, while Evan slotted in in 10th place with a 1:28.943.
Supersport riders, Paul Young and Kyle Buckley both put in solid performances for the day. Paul’s times continued to drop throughout the day, culminating in a qualifying position of 8th with a 1:27.033. Kyle put in more sensational laps on Friday, finishing in the top three all day and finally qualifying on pole with a 1:25.242. This is Kyle’s first pole as a supersport rider and something he has been working extremely hard towards all year long – huge congratulations to Kyle and his crew chief, Vaughan for finally reaching that milestone.
Jimmy Broadbent and Paul Young both excelled on their Ninja 300 mounts, Jimmy had his first highside in practice but repaired his confidence to ultimately qualify fourth in his first ever front row start. Paul’s day panned out equally well, topping the time sheets and qualifying in pole position, with a time of 1:37.170, 2.136 seconds ahead of his closest competitor.
Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions set the stage for some sensational racing by the team on Saturday and the outcome certainly did not disappoint. Superbike riders, Ben Burke and Evan Byles continued in Friday’s fashion, riding their races with continual enthusiasm and aplomb. Ben finished his three races with two 8th places and a 7th, with a best time of 1:24.387, while Evan finished up with two 10th places and a 9th, with a best time of 1:28.611. After each making a couple of changes through the day, both riders are very well positioned for the main event – Sunday’s racing.
The SA Kawasaki BCperformance Supersport riders both had a sensationally successful day, despite a couple of hiccups through the day. Paul Young put in another superb performance on his 600, notching up two 4th places and a 3rd. This is a wonderful result for Paul after so much hard work has gone into developing the bike. Kyle didn’t have quite as successful a day, but could very much be classified as a success in another way. In race one, Kyle had to pull in due to gearbox issues. Courtesy of his gun crew chief Vaughan Cumming, team manager Kelvin Reilly and superbike rider Evan Byles, Kyle’s gearbox had been stripped and reassembled in time for race two. Despite having to start from the back of the grid, Kyle recorded the fastest lap of the race with a 1:26.055. In race three, Kyle recorded a 7th place finish, securing himself a competitive grid position for Sunday’s racing.
The team’s Ninja 300 Cup riders, Jimmy Broadbent and Paul Young continued their successful run in the 300 class. Jimmy, the team’s rookie, continued gaining more experience and is riding with increasing maturity in every race, recording a 5th, 3rd and 4th for the day’s races, cementing his position as one of the leaders of the Under 20 class and scoring very well in the overall points lead. In regards to points for Saturday’s racing, Jimmy finished in 2nd place in the Under 20 class and 3rd overall for the day. Paul Young continued his absolute domination of the 300 class at Winton Raceway with one DNF and two wins. The DNF came as a result of a gear linkage malfunction, forcing him to retire from
the race while in the lead. His two race wins both came in sensational fashion, finishing well ahead of the pack on both occasions.
Sunday’s racing panned out to be just as exciting and rewarding as expected with each rider achieving at least one of their personal goals. Superbike riders Ben Burke and Evan Byles both pushed hard on track and making the most of the set up changes overnight. Ben’s 9th and 5th places in the first two races were just a prelude to his epic battle with Matt Walters in his final outing for the weekend, only just being pipped on the line by less than one hundreth of a second to finish up in 8th place. “It took me a little longer than expected to get up to pace as I was struggling with bike setup.” Said Ben “Once we made some changes our pace improved. I was pretty happy with the final 2 races on Sunday but need to work on my consistency. Thanks again to the team, sponsors and partners”
Evan’s improvements showed through in his results of 10th, 8th and 10th, while he also competed in two Formula Oz races on his ZX-10R, scoring 7th and 9th place finishes – well done Evan! “My first race weekend at Winton was very enjoyable with family and friends along for the event. I learnt the track more with each session and improved my feel under brakes of which I have been struggling with all year. Overall I am very happy with 3rd Pro am rider for the round!” says a delighted Evan.
The results for the team’s supersport riders, Paul Young and Kyle Buckley both performed sensationally well on Sunday with Paul Young keeping the pressure up on his younger rivals, earning himself 6th, 9th and 8th in his three races. However, the Winton round was where Kyle has really begun to shine. Despite the set backs and hiccups through the weekend, he put in a phenomenal performance on Sunday with two 3rd places and a 4th in the final outing. Huge congratulations to Kyle for his results and his growth as a rider. “Awesome weekend for me” explains Kyle “Things didn’t flow well as we would have liked but to come away with a good amount of points heading into the final round is what we set out to do. Stoked to grab pole position and achieve a few more podiums in the Supersport class. A huge congrats to the team, the hard yards that were put in behind the scenes to get me out on track for Sunday was mega. Looking forward to Sydney!”
The Ninja 300 Cup continued to produce lots of fabulous, close racing for all involved, with Paul Young and Jimmy Broadbent again being the stars of the show. Paul showed his class with two wins and a 4th place finish in difficult circumstances. “The challenge of riding the two classes was even greater at Winton. But I am really pleased with the improvements the team has made with both bikes and we now head to the final round with a great chance of taking the Ninja 300 title and a top 5 in the Supersport class” says Paul.
Jimmy continued to learn and gain more experience while competing in the leading pack of riders in each race, working hard for his two 6th places and a 7th. Jimmy is learning to race with his head and to be patient and all of that work is very much showing through. “Had a really good weekend, made some more huge steps in learning a new track, bike setup and race craft which were big positives for me” says Jimmy “ Its weekends like that which being a part of the SA Kawasaki BCperformance team and the knowledge and experience available is unrivalled. It was only this time last year that I first rode on track and now I am running in the front pack of the Ninja 300 cup”
Congratulations must go to the entire team for their immense hard work and dedication in achieving the results gained this weekend. It isn’t just the riders who get the results – it is collaboration between the entire team because these bikes would not be out on track without the preparation by the mechanics, logistics and team management, and even right down to the wonderful catering – no one can ride on an empty stomach! Thank you again to all involved, as well as our fantastic sponsors who allow all of this to happen. We’re now back in Sydney getting ready for the final round at Sydney Motorsport Park – hope to see you out there!