Orange bikes like clockwork
THE orange machines of KTM took the glory in the hands of Stuart Bennett (KTM450) and Graham Cheney (KTM525) during the Ssangyong Australian Supermoto Championship at the penultimate round at Raleigh Raceway on Sunday.
As an added bonus for Bennett he walked away from the day leading the Championship and putting points distance on his next closest rival Adam Cini (Husqvarna SMR450) with only two races to go to complete the series.
The top four qualifiers were invited to attend superpole after Herfoss let loose in the dying stage of qualifying to take provisional pole just ahead of Bennett and Rodney Taplin (Honda CRF450).
Bennett made the most of it and moved from second to pole, Taplin improved third to second and Herfoss went to third after not getting his sole flying lap quite right.
Although Bennett took pole he didn't think he got an advantage.
"I didn't get that lap right and thought I'd blown it, I'd actually would prefer the second place on the grid as I reckon it's a better line," he said.
S2 Race 1
Bennett, sporting a new twin exhaust system on his KTM, certainly did make the most of the pole position and lead the initial laps with Herfoss, Taplin, Avard, Michael Kirkness (Yamaha YZ450F) and Cini.
Herfoss made headway and eventually came alongside Bennett getting a good run off the final dirt berm and the resulting block pass on Bennett allowed Taplin the chance to move through and take the lead.
Taplin, with his deceptive smooth but fast style of riding, was reeled in by Herfoss who took charge and brought home his bike to take another win over Taplin and Bennett.
Cini and Danny Ham (HondaCRF450) passed Avard in the final laps with Nick Brain (Honda CRF450) taking seventh just ahead of New Zealander Toby Summers riding Avard's spare (Yamaha YZ450F).
S2 Race 2
Herfoss took the lead early on with Bennett, Taplin and Avard on tow and was seemingly unstoppable as he commenced to stream away, that was until he came into the left hand corner off the fastest straight and tucked the front of his bike crashing and allowing Taplin and Bennett through.
Herfoss was able to restart and continue a chase, but it was left to Bennett to take charge and he did winning from Taplin with Avard a close third.
Ham had a redeeming ride for fourth ahead of Brain and Herfoss, Kirkness was eighth after having to start from the rear of the grid after a DNF from the first race.
The drop a round situation closes up the championship but coming into the final round it is Bennett strong in the title hopes (212) ahead of the consistent Cini (189) and Herfoss close behind (185).
S1 Graham Cheney (KTM450) has continued his last round form with the perfect weekend, pole position and three from three wins racking up maximum points and closing the championship lead on Adam Cini (Husqvarna SMR510).
Cini took two second places and a third ahead of Angus Reekie (KTM525) who had his hands full fending off challenges from Ben Lucchitti (Honda CRF480) and Josh MacFarlane (Aprilia SV550).
This round saw the exotic Aprilia SXV's fire their first shots in anger in a race with MacFarlane piloting the V-twins around the scenic track with the backing of technicians from John Sample group.
Kevin Magee moved away from its association with Aprilia when bikes and spares failed to materilise in time to be competitive for the season.
The results of MacFarlane and the Aprilia team were all the more remarkable considering the bikes didn't yet have alternative sprockets which hampered their setup for this particular circuit.
According to the team, an initial batch of around 30 bikes are reported to be due in late may and with it will be available further options for progressing the teams chase to be even more competitive in the Australian Supermoto scene.
With S3 Championship leader, Ben Grabham unable to attend due to a major enduro commitment, Adam Altham (Yamaha YZ250F) made a direct impact on his return to the class with pole position ahead of Cru Halliday (Yamaha YZ250F) and Simon Galloway (KTM250) and put his front line position to good use leading until the second last corner of the 1st lap when the front tyre tucked under allowing Halliday and most of the field through.
Altham eventually continued to finish seventh and blamed a cold tyre for his troubles.
"Just as we were removing the tyre warmers we noticed that someone had knocked the power socket off the front warmer and it was no where near the heat that it should have been," Altham said.
Halliday won ahead of Joe Harvey (Yamaha YZ250F), Joel Whitaker (Husqvarna TC250) and Galloway.
With a clever ride, Halliday fended off a charge from Altham on a third row grid start position, Halliday was hounded for a number of laps in the second race but didn't succumb to the pressure and he used his well performing machine to his advantage to take the win over Altham, Galloway and Harvey.
Relief was written all over the face of Altham as he finally broke through to take a win in the final race over Halliday with Linden Magee (Honda CRF250) holding off Galloway and Whitaker.
Grabham still has a substantial lead over Galloway, but the chase for second is very close as Whitaker and Blake Jacobs are still within striking distance.
The championship takes a break of nearly two months before the final round at Darlington Park, Queensland which will be the final round of the Championship.
With riders having to drop the results of one round of the championship the chase becomes all that much closer.