Wayne Maxwell is doing everything he can to make sure the 2019 ASBK title goes down to the wire
The championship is on the line in the 2019 ASBK class and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Wayne Maxwell has delivered when it matters, braving the low grip and cold conditions to score back-to-back round wins.
The Desmosport Ducati Panigale FE of Mike Jones gave no quarter, sharing a win a piece with Maxwell and also claiming the Elite Roads Pole Position Award. Jones set the fastest-ever two-wheeled lap of the Winton circuit with an incredible time of 1m19.994s.
When the lights went out, Jones soaked up the pressure and took the holeshot. Maxwell went with him. The lead pair traded blows but it was Maxwell who took the advantage, leading over the line by almost two seconds with Herfoss finishing third. Second in the points chase, Halliday took an important fourth with Josh Waters (Team Suzuki Ecstar) still searching for pace in fifth. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki BC Performance) picked up valuable points in sixth at a track not expected to favour his Dunlop rubber, while Matt Walters (Kawasaki Connection), Alex Phillis (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Sissis rounded out the top 10.
Race two started with Jones once again claiming the holeshot, but at turn two Mark Chiodo (Penrite Honda Racing) high-sided savagely, taking down Kyle Buckley (Kawasaki BC Performance) and bringing out the red flag.
On the restart there was more carnage, this time with Daniel Falzon (Yamaha Racing Team) sliding out at turn two. Lachlan Epis (Resonse RE) went down not far behind him. A wet race was now declared although it wasn’t damp enough for wet tyres and in the opening laps of the next restart Maxwell and Jones went for it, building a gap and running a near qualifying pace.
As rain started to fall and with all riders on slicks, Jones and then Maxwell signalled to race direction. A charging Troy Herfoss pushed past, and moments later the race was declared.
It was a controversial finish, ultimately allowing Jones to extend his championship lead over Halliday and Staring after Halliday had run off in race two.
Maxwell was able to claw back a few valuable points and as it stands, the championship is still wide open. Next stop Phillip Island over 4-6 October.
REPORT MATT O’CONNELL
PHOTOGRAPHY TBG PHOTOGRAPHY