The Bend Motorsports Park was the location for the Grand Finale of the 2021 ASBK season, and championships were on the line in all classes. Big name riders returned from international racing to compete at the final ASBK round, including MotoGP superstar Jack Miller and World Endurance racer Josh Hook…
The premier Superbike class saw Wayne Maxwell (Pirelli) enter the weekend with a comfortable points lead over second place, but with a championship up for grabs, and with a field stacked deep with talent, Wayne would have to be on top of his game. And from Friday afternoon it was evident just how good Maxwell and the entire Boost Mobile K-Tech Ducati team are. Setting the fastest lap time in Free Practice 3 on his Ducati V4R was just the start of what was a flawless weekend for Maxwell, going on to take Pole position with a new qualifying lap record on Saturday afternoon, and two race wins on Sunday to secure the Superbike Championship for himself, the Boost Mobile K-Tech Ducati team and Pirelli.
Taking second overall for the round and securing second place in the championship standings was Glenn Allerton (Pirelli) aboard his Maxima Racing BMW. Allerton rode strong all weekend and put in two great second place finishes behind Maxwell in what was a great result for Glenn and the Maxima Racing BMW team. Rounding out the championship standings podium was Cru Halliday, with Troy Herfoss in fourth, while DesmoSport Ducati’s Oli Bayliss (Pirelli) in his rookie year on board a Superbike rounded out the top 5.
The Australian Supersport Championship is always hotly contested and 2021 would be no different, with 3 riders in the hunt for the title going in to the Grand Finale at The Bend. It was a battle between Broc Pearson (Pirelli) who led the points going in to the final round ahead of Tom Edwards (Pirelli), and Max Stauffer (Pirelli) and it would be no holds barred racing between the riders in what made for some epic racing that won’t soon be forgotten.
Race 1 saw Edwards, Stauffer and Pearson battle at the front of the field early before Edwards was able to make a convincing pass for the lead and gap the other 2 riders. Stauffer was then able to make a pass on Pearson for second with 2 laps to go, holding him off until the finish line. The implications of that pass meant Edwards now trailed Pearson by 1 point in the championship standings with 1 race remaining. The final race of the season would determine the 2021 Supersport champion. And didn’t the final race of the season deliver. With everything on the line, Tom Edwards and Broc Pearson pushed the absolute limits of their Yamaha R6’s at the front of the field, trading paint and swapping positions almost once a lap for the entire race.
On the final lap it was Broc Pearson who was able to make the pass on Edwards, and with just several corners to contend with, was able to block any pass attempts Edwards made to lead in to the last turn. With a short run to the finish line it was Broc Pearson who would cross the finish line first, just 5 one hundredths of a second in front to claim the 2021 ASBK Supersport Championship. A well-deserved and hard fought championship win. Tom Edwards secured second in the championship with his second place finish for the round, while Max Stauffer rounded out the podium in third.
The two deepest fields of the weekend belonged to the two 300 classes, the Supersport 300 class, and the Yamaha R3 Cup. The two extremely competitive classes both had full grids for their 3 races across the weekend, but there was one rider who had been a dominant force in both classes all year. Ben Baker (Pirelli) came in to the weekend with a sizeable points lead in both classes, and just needed consistent finishes across the 3 races in each class to wrap up the titles.
Two third place finishes and a race win in the final race of the weekend was enough to see Baker crowned the 2021 ASBK R3 Cup champion, ahead of Glenn Nelson (Pirelli) who put in 3 great rides which included a race win in Race 2 to secure second overall in the championship standings, while Cameron Dunker (Pirelli) did enough to secure third overall for the championship despite a crash in the last race of the weekend.
In the Supersport 300 class it was anything but smooth sailing for Baker who had once again put himself on Pole, and after a solid third place finish in race 1, it was a crash in race 2 that left him outside of the points and potentially opened up the opportunity for another rider to snatch the championship from his grasp. The final race saw Baker ride a solid race to finish fourth, enough to wrap up the ASBK Supersport 300 Championship.
An amazing effort by Ben to win both the R3 Cup and the Supersport 300 championships. Reece Oughtred (Pirelli) had a great weekend to secure his second place finish in the Supersport 300 class, while Zac Johnson (Pirelli) did enough to hang on to his third place finish overall despite a crash in the final race which saw him finish outside of the points.
The Oceania Junior Cup always sees great battles with every rider aboard identically prepared race bikes, and the Grand Finale at The Bend was no different. With a points lead coming in to the final round, Cameron Swain (Pirelli) would be the rider to beat for the championship, with the likes of Ryan Larkin (Pirelli) and Levi Russo (Pirelli) looking for race wins and maximum points. In the end it was Swain who came out victorious with 2 second place finishes and a race win for the weekend to take out the 2021 Oceania Junior Cup. Larkin put in 3 great rides with 2 race wins and a third place finish to secure his second place overall for the championship, while Levi Russo was super consistent all weekend to lock away his third place for the championship.
Congratulations to all of the 2021 ASBK Champions as well as every rider that went racing in what was a difficult year due to the interruptions and cancellations of events throughout the year. Bring on 2022.