Cru Halliday has ended the 2021 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) on a high note claiming a third place for the round and also third place in the championship after the final round was conducted at The Bend Motorsport Park, in South Australia.
The Yamaha Racing Team rider entered the final round in fifth place after some consistent racing in the opening rounds but with the big break in racing due to Covid border restrictions, it was a chance to Halliday to review and refresh. With about 20 points separating second through sixth positions plus the return of several international riders, anything was a possibility for the championship podium.
Halliday finished the day with 3-4 results in the two races conducted to take third for the day and leapfrog his way to third in the championship. Race one saw Halliday in the top five and looking to move forward when the race was stopped after a rider fell heavily. Officials re-stacked the riders on the grid for a three lap, all out sprint to conclude the opening leg. Halliday was able to make a last lap pass and to secure third place.
Race two and there was action all over the place on the opening lap, two multi rider pile ups in the opening half a lap saw competitors back on the grid and waiting for the track to be cleared. On the restart, Halliday was in fifth on the first lap before moving into fourth at the halfway stage. He made a late race charge on Miller but was unable to secure another podium for race two, forced to take fourth.
“The weekend has been positive all-round. Each session we were able to get faster and close the gap on the time sheets and I knew our strength would be the ability to maintain our speed during the race. In the races, I couldn’t quite run at the pace of the front couple and they were able to get a little gap, but from the half way stage on, the bike and tyres came into their own. Thanks to YRT and the Dunlop guys for giving me a good package all weekend. Thanks again to everyone at Yamaha and YRT who always work hard and its only two months before we are back on track at the first test for 2022, so there is no time to rest now,” Halliday ends.
Team-mate Aiden Wagner also had one of his best outings, only a crash in race one dampened an otherwise productive weekend. Wagner finished the weekend outside the top ten, but his efforts were more than his results. The opening moto had Wagner in fourth and looking for a way around Jack Miller. After a lap of continuous pressure, Wagner made his move and slipped down the inside of the GP star before losing the front end and fell, taking both himself and Miller out of the race.
He regrouped for the final race of the year and moved into sixth place on lap five, where he stayed until the chequered flag. Like Halliday, Wagner improved his time in each and every session as the team worked hard to get the bike and suspension right for the tricky “The Bend” circuit. He even pulled out a top three lap in the warm-up on Sunday morning which is more indicative of what Wagner is capable of.
“Fourteenth on paper doesn’t look good, but I felt I gave it everything I had and rode as well as I have in some time,” Wagner explains. “Maybe I was pushing a little too hard when I went down in race one and I will own that, but I just wanted to get up the front and get a podium for myself and the team. Thank you to YRT and my supporters. 2021 has been tough for everyone but we kept swinging all the way until the end,” said Wagner.
Yamaha also won the manufacturers championship with 167 points, well clear of BMW in second on 95 and Ducati in third with 85. This brings the 2021 ASBK season to a close. With the first official test of the new year usually at the end of January, it will be a quick two month reset for YRT, who aim to be a major contender in the 2022 championship.