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Jake Farnsworth was initially just going to do trackdays but the situation quickly escalated.

Jake Farnsworth is showing some serious pace in ASBK Supersport so far this year. He recently penned this column for AMCN prior to the start of the 2024 ASBK season, just after he campaigned a YZF-R1 M in the Summer Night Series at SMSP:

We had no intention of buying a Superbike, we were actually looking at getting hold of another Yamaha YZF-R6. A 2022 model YZF-R1 M popped up on an online auction with 6000km on the clock. So here we were, ending up with an R1 instead of an R6! Jake Farnsworth was initially just going to do trackdays but the situation quickly escalated.

The black knight became an unexpected challenger in the Summer Night Series at Sydney Motorsport Park against established Superbike racers on a largely-stock Yamaha R1

It felt like an easy bike to ride, even though I had most of the electronics dialled down. Coming from a dirt-track background I was used to steering with the rear. On my second trackday I was dipping into the 32s at Sydney Motorsport Park and we thought “wow, we haven’t done anything to this bike”.

We thought it could be interesting if we entered the Summer Night Series there. We fitted a front-brake kit and Öhlins suspension from YRD, and on the Wednesday before the first round I was into the 31s. I started to get excited and think that maybe I was on for a good result here.

At the Morgan Park ASBK round, a breakthrough weekend for Farnsworth

At the MotoSchool event before the race night I hit 30.5. I wasn’t sure what was possible on a stock bike but I was really happy. I could be a fast 300 rider, a fast 600 rider but, until I jumped on and tried it, there was always an element of doubt about whether I could hop on a Superbike and make elite lap times. It was a massive confidence boost when I did those times at SMSP… the guys I was riding against were seasoned riders.

I was excited to try and get the Superbike going for this year’s national championship but there simply isn’t the time or budget. We only have the one bike and it isn’t even set up properly yet. I am happy to stay on the 600 – there is some unfinished business – but it has made me very excited for 2025.

When I was about 11 years old, I moved to a KX65, riding every dirt-track championship possible and continuing all the way to 450cc seniors. I won about five national open events, one state championship and an Australian championship. I always really wanted to get into road racing because as a family we would gather around the television and watch MotoGP. Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi were huge inspirations for me and by 2019 I wanted to take the plunge.

At Morgan Park last year

The problem was there was no Oceania Junior Cup – no real stepping stone into the sport. You had to be over 16 to do a trackday, so we didn’t bother getting involved. But in 2019 we bought an R3 and did the R3 Cup in 2020. I also did a few ridedays, the ASBK test and St George rounds at SMSP, but there wasn’t much racing because of Covid. I think there were four ASBK rounds in two years. By the end of Covid I was approaching an age and size where I needed to step up to the Supersport class.

The second round was Morgan Park and I ended up on the podium in P3. I was a bit shocked. Maybe it was a bit of false confidence but I felt like I had a bit of speed. After going well in that one race, maybe my expectations became unrealistic but for 2023 I felt like we could be a title threat.

Last year we had two Yamaha R6s available – the spare bike completely stock – but the list of mechanical problems seemed endless. We had a shock blow up at Phillip Island, someone crashed in front of me and I had to run off, gearbox failures, blipper failures, quickshifters, you name it. Last year we built a lot of engines and I had to ride the spare bike a lot but it was still a good year of learning and being humbled.

While it’s obvious he has the speed to race in ASBK Superbike, Farnsworth and his team don’t have the budget so he’s committed to remaining in the Supersport class this year with the focus on taking things round-by-round working to a 2025 Superbike debut

Riding the standard bike so often also taught me how to utilise myself as a rider and work around a horsepower deficit. I think that is what has lead to such a good showing in the Summer Night Series. I knew I was down in certain aspects, stock ECU being one, but I had to make up for it as a rider.

My focus now is Supersport in 2024. I’m not too worried about anyone else, I just want to go to each round and produce my best results. My whole life is based around motorcycles, I just want to do my best and have the most fun possible.