AUS: Supermoto round two notes

Johnson doesn't miss a beat Superbike champion Shannon Johnson (Yamaha) continued his devastating form in the 2004 Maxxis Australian Supermoto Championship when he whitewashed round two at the nation's country music capital -- Tamworth...

Johnson doesn't miss a beat

Superbike champion Shannon Johnson (Yamaha) continued his devastating form in the 2004 Maxxis Australian Supermoto Championship when he whitewashed round two at the nation's country music capital -- Tamworth (NSW) -- on November 21.

Johnson (YZ450F), who hails from South Morang (Vic), was in peerless form, scything through his full quota of four S2 races -- two heats, followed a similar number of point-scoring championship races.

The reigning Australian Superbike number two's modus operandi at Tamworth was simple -- his first incision was to nail the holeshots, after which the pelaton was soon left in his wake. His piece de resistance was a commanding victory in the opening 12-lap S2 race over main champion rivals Stuart Bennett (Motorex KTM 450SMR) and Mark Avard (Yamaha/Beringer/DID YZ450F).

At the halfway mark in the championship, Johnson's three victories from four starts have helped him increase his lead from two to 13 points over Bennett -- 97 to 84. Bennett, a multiple Australian enduro champion, finished second overall in Tamworth on 42pts -- Johnson scored a maximum 50 - after backing up his second place in the first race with a third in the second.

Avard sits behind Bennett on 78pts, followed by a logjammed battle for fourth between reigning S2 champion Mark Willis (All Balls YZ450F, 59pts), Husqvarna Racing Team duo Chad Turnbull (TC450, 59) and Troy Herfoss (TC450, 58), and motocross ace Danny Ham (Shift Motul Suzuki DR-Z450, 54).

Willis made a welcome return to form in Tamworth after an underwhelming round one, while one of the three national champions who joined the fray in round two -- Glenn Allerton -- made an immediate impact on proceedings.

Allerton, 23, who finished second in the 2004 Australian Supersport Championship and has now been signed by Suzuki to contest next year's Superbike battle, finished third overall in Tamworth on 40pts after a superb debut outing on his up-specced Shift Motul Suzuki DR-Z450.

After a crash in one of his heats, Allerton started from a lowly 14th in the opening S2 race, and eventually finished in a fine fourth position. The New South Welshman then proceeded to out-fox all but Johnson in race two.

"I ended up catching Shannon in that race, but I just couldn't find a way past him," said Allerton. "He was covering his lines pretty well, so it was always going to difficult -- and that's how it turned out.

"I'm a little disappointed, because I feel that I could have won both races -- but that crash in the heats certainly didn't help my cause.

"However, I'm really happy with the effort Suzuki has put in with the DR-Z -- it really is a great bike. I'm currently eight in the title after missing the opening round, but I hope to give it a real shake when in winds up in Toowoomba in a few weeks."

While the addition of Allerton added some lustre to proceedings, it was offset to a degree by the re-occurrence of a knee injury to Adam Altham (Subway Yamaha YZ450F). The current S2 number two did the damage in the heats, and follows the broken collarbone suffered by another leading light, Graham Cheney, in round one.

In S1, the second of the four championship classes in 2004, Josh McFarlane (Motul Husqvarna Racing) replicated the deed of Johnson in S2 -- he went through unbeaten. The blitz saw him jump from third to first in the standings on 172pts, ahead of Michael Brummell (VOR, 166) and Brock Wilson (Husqvarna, 137). Brummell finished second overall in round two after scoring 2-3-2-2 results, ahead of Wilson (4-4-3-3). Meanwhile, Matthew Mace (Action KTM Husaberg), who led after round one, slipped back to seventh in the standings after a lean outing.

In S3, for 250cc four-stroke machinery, Rodney Taplin (Yamaha YZ250F) extended his championship lead from 17 to 21pts after adding another two wins to his three from the opening round. Taplin edged out fellow YZ250F punter Nick Mawkes (Kirkman Motorcycles) in the Tamworth results -- 94pts to 92 -- with the duo managing to lap up to one second faster than the big-bore S1 posse.

Mawkes' belligerence saw him supplant Michael Avard (Parramatta Kawasaki KX250F) out of second in the championship, with the duo now on 170 and 162pts respectively, with Taplin way out in front on 191.

Finally, in the junior class, Cameron Palmer (Honda CRf250R) is yet to taste defeat, and now sits on a lazy six wins from as many outings. His peerless ways have already seen him build an almost impregnable buffer over Dylan Browning (YZ250F).

Rounds three and four of the Maxxis Australian Supermoto Championship will merge into a double-header at Toowoomba (Qld) on December 10-11.

-www.ozmotox.com

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