Brookes and Aitchison steal the honours Honda's Josh Brookes and Yamaha's Mark Aitchison were the big winners in round two of the 2005 YMF Loan Australian Superbike Championship at Eastern Creek (NSW) last weekend. While Brookes (Joe ...
Brookes and Aitchison steal the honours
Honda's Josh Brookes and Yamaha's Mark Aitchison were the big winners in round two of the 2005 YMF Loan Australian Superbike Championship at Eastern Creek (NSW) last weekend.
While Brookes (Joe Rocket Honda CBR1000RR) left an indelible mark on the two 13-lap Superbike races -- his only 'blemish' was failing to secure pole position on Saturday -- 21-year-old privateer Aitchison (Fraser Motorcycle Yamaha Team YZF-R6) scored his maiden Supersport win in Sunday's race two.
The result helped Aitchison, from Tumbi Umbi (NSW), move up to fifth in the Supersport standings, which has him well on the way to improving markedly on last year's eighth place championship finish.
Aitchison's win also snapped Honda's five-race winning streak in the 2005 YMF Loan-backed Supersport title, after Brookes (Joe Rocket Honda CBR600RR) had earlier claimed the chequered flag in the opening 13-lapper. Furthermore, it was Yamaha's first Supersport win at Eastern Creek since Brendan Clarke prevailed in the final round of the 2003 season.
Meanwhile, the two Superbike races around the 3.93km circuit -- featuring nine Australian road race champions across various disciplines - were epics, with Brookes fighting all the way against the Stauffer armada: siblings Daniel (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1) and Jamie (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-10R).
After failing to score a podium result in the opening round at Phillip Island (Vic) on April 2-3, Daniel, 28, made the biggest gains at Eastern Creek on the 22005-model YZF-R1, and he finished second in race one, 3.133sec behind Brookes -- and just a few bike lengths in front of Jamie.
"It's been a pretty good weekend, considering it was only the first time that we have ridden the new bikes," Dan said. "It's given us plenty to work with so the wins won't be too far away. To get that time on a new bike is just astounding and shows how much potential we have to work with."
The leading triumvirate, in addition to defending champion Adam Fergusson (Joe Rocket Honda CBR1000RR), all went under Brookes' old lap record (1:32.74) in race one, with Jamie eventually setting the new benchmark -- a rapid-fire 1:32.023 on lap two. The outright lap record still remains with Spaniard Alex Criville, who set a 1:30.36 on his factory NSR500 two-stroke in the 1996 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
Jamie has now set new Superbike lap records at the opening two rounds, with Kawasaki's first win in the category since 1999 now seemingly only a matter of time.
Fergusson, who had started from the front row of the grid alongside Jamie, was fourth in race one, ahead of Victorians Scott Charlton (Active Electrical Distributors GSX-R1000) and Shannon Johnson (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R1), with three-time champion Shawn Giles (Team Suzuki GSX-R1000) an uncharacteristic seventh.
Giles' then went onto finish fifth in race two, extinguishing his phenomenal run of Superbike podiums. Previously, Giles had finished first, second or third in at least one race at the last 23 rounds -- dating back to the opening round of the 2001 season.
Race two of the Superbikes was just about a carbon-copy of the opener, with Brookes' elapsed time just 0.246sec slower than the first! However, this time he was stalked all the way to the finish by Jamie, while the gap between third-placed Daniel and eighth place Johnson was just 5.149sec. In between, Fergusson made it two fourth places, ahead of Giles, Russell Holland (Arlen Ness CBR1000RR) and Robert Budgen (Northstar Yamaha YZF-R1).
Further afield, 1994 national champion Anthony Gobert (Redwing Honda CBR1000RR), on the comeback trial, finished with 12th and 10th places.
With Brookes this year's only multiple Superbike winner, the irrepressible 22-year-old extended his Superbike lead from two to 16pts (95 to 79) at Eastern Creek, but this time he's got a new pursuer -- Daniel Stauffer instead of Giles. Jamie Stauffer (76pts) has now also got the better of Giles (73), followed by Fergusson (61), Charlton (60), Johnson (58) and Holland (48).
In Supersport, two riders scored their maiden 2005 podiums at Eastern Creek: Aitchison and teenager Josh Waters (Kawasaki Racing Team ZX-6RR), and it was that duo which finished 1-2 in what was a frenetic day's racing.
Race one was a Brookes-Aitchison benefit, with the duo leaving behind a tight knit group to battle it out for third -- eventually won in favour of Waters over 125 GP contemporary Jason O'Halloran (Rocket Racing CBR600RR), Clarke (YZF-R6) and Robbie Baird (Yamaha Racing Team YZF-R6). Meanwhile, defending champion Fergusson was left languishing in 11th as he struggled to get the best out of his 2005 model CBR600RR.
Race two was run about the same pace, but this time Brookes' presence at the pointy end of the field was ephemeral -- he crashed on lap one. After that point, it was all Aitchison, and he completed the journey 8.162sec in advance of Waters, with Clarke in third from Baird, B-grader Jarradd Curran (MSC Products YZF-R6) and 2004 125 GP champion Bryan Staring (Allect Racing CBR600RR).
For Clarke, a six-time winner in the Supersport class, it was a welcome return to the fold after an abject 2004 saw him finish in ninth position -- followed by a parting of the ways from the factory Yamaha operation. Previously, Clarke finished second in the 2003 Supersport title behind then Yamaha teammate Kevin Curtain.
Despite the crash, Brookes remains the Supersport leader after two of seven rounds, 12pts (102 to 90) ahead of teammate Fergusson. Waters (87pts) and O'Halloran (84) swapped third and fourth spots at Eastern Creek, with Aitchison (81) now in fifth from Baird (69).
In other round two results, 2002 world sidecar champions Steve Abbott and Jamie Biggs (Aircom Castrol LCR Suzuki) were flawless in plundering the Aircom Systems Sidecar F1 field, and set a new lap record of 1:37.420 in race two -- a whopping 2.95sec under the previous mark set by Andre Bosman-Dave Kellett in 1990. Abbott-Biggs are on a perfect 76pts, ahead of reigning number three pairing Steve Hutchinson-Darren Dewhurst (Alvin, 60pts).
Elsewhere, three-time 125 GP champion Peter Galvin (75pts) had the complete measure of the Honda RS125-dominated, AMCN-backed class, ahead of Cath Thompson (66) and Brent Rigoli (55); Craig McMartin (Ducati Sydney 999S) won two out of three races to kick off the defence of his FX Pro-Twins championship; and Jon Cartwright (Northstar Yamaha FZ1) leads the Yamalube-supported NakedBike class.
Finally, Darren Edwards (YZF-R6) maintained his leadership of the GTYR Superstock battle, despite an irresistible performance from Grant Hay (Shock Treatment YZF-R6) -- pole position and three outstanding wins. Edwards is on 129pts, followed by Hay on 115.
Round three of the YMF Loan Australian Superbike Championship will be held at Barbagallo Raceway (WA) from May 27-29.