Walters Dominant Sydney Swann Series Opener

MARCH 14, 2016: Kawasaki Connection Repsol’s Matt Walters has taken out the opening round of the 2016 Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park after winning two of the three races this afternoon.

Walters dominated the opening IPONE Superbike race of the season, sprinting away from the field in the seven laps to commence the Swann Series season for an untouchable 3.961s victory – his fastest lap almost a second quicker than his closest rival.

Upon return to fulltime competition Robbie Bugden out-diced SA Kawasaki BCperformance teammate Ben Burke for the runner-up, with rookie Michael Blair (IPONE Blairbuild Yamaha) close in tow for fourth.

LTR Honda rider Paul Byrne claimed fifth from Mathew Harding (Kawasaki), Brendan McIntyre (Suzuki), Liam Wilkinson (Yamaha), a fading Beau Beaton (Racers Edge Performance Craig McMartin Racing Ducati) and top of the Formula Xtreme runners Dane Purcell (Kawasaki) filling the top 10.

It was a tight fight for the top in the second Superbike race of the round, but in the end it was dominant Kawasaki-mounted Walters who maintained his unbeaten run for the weekend.

The additional opposition for Walters came in the form of Blair, who set the quickest lap of the race at 1m32.454s and missed out on the win by just 0.193s at the conclusion of seven laps.

Finishing third this time out was Bugden, two seconds back down the track, and in turn almost another couple of seconds ahead of teammate Burke.

Also dipping into the 1m32s this time out was Byrne, taking home another top five and comfortably ahead of Beaton in position six. The top 10 was rounded out by Brad Swallow (Kawasaki), Harding, McIntyre and Wilkinson.

Like Supersport, there was a new rider in victory lane for the first time all weekend come the final race of today, as Burke barged his way to a 0.037s advantage over the round winner Walters, who put on a strong challenge in the closing laps of the seven.

While Burke broke through for the race win from Walters, Blair crossed the line comfortably in third position after setting the fastest lap of the race, followed home by Bugden and Byrne. Beaton meanwhile was sixth for race three, with Swallow, Harding, Wilkinson and McIntyre rounding out the top 10.

Overall it was Walters the winner and early championship leader, with Blair’s strong run of results securing second and Burke’s final race win landing him on the final step of the podium.

Within the Superbike ranks aside from race one, the first Formula Xtreme round win of the year for C- and D-gradr entries belonged to Hamish McMurray (Kawasaki) from Dominic De Leon (Kawasaki) and Daniel McCrathy (BMW). Races two and three were topped by Dane Purcell (Kawasaki), fourth overall after non-scores in the remaining races.

SA Kawasaki BCperformance’s Kyle Buckley won the opening round of the Supersport championship in Sydney, winning three of the four races in an expanded Saturday schedule for all classes aside from the Superbikes.

After winning Friday, Buckley kept his winning streak going in race one of the Supersports, holding off a fast-finishing Mitch Levy (Yamaha) and Cambridge Olivier (Yamaha).

Buckley controlled the race from the outset, which was restarted following an initial red flag, eventually winning the seven-lap affair by 0.277s.

Meanwhile in fourth was Mark Chiodo (Triumph), trailed by Jordan Carlsson (Yamaha) completing the top five. Sam Muldoon was an early casualty, crashing his ZX-6R in turn nine on lap two while running inside the top five.

The second Supersport leg of the round looked as though we’d see a new winner in the form of Levy, taking charge on the opening lap and leading much of the seven laps.

However a late charge from Buckley this time saw him post his fastest lap of the race at 1m35.579s on the final lap, taking the lead in the process to keep his unbeaten run in tact for the weekend.

Levy crossed the line second just 0.382s in arrears, while Olivier was also within a second of the lead in third. Michael Knight (Yamaha) was fourth this time out, getting the better of Chiodo again inside the top five.

With the third Supersport race of the round hitting the track behind schedule this afternoon, Buckley once again withstood the pressure of Levy for a fifth win of the weekend so far.

Today it’s been three from three for Buckley, working his way to the front and taking a 0.536s win over Levy and another impressive showing from Olivier in third.

Chiodo crossed the line fourth after Knight crashed out of position at turn eight with just over a lap to run, also allowing Carlsson to move up a place for fifth by the finish. Bouncing back from an earlier incident, Muldoon made his way forward to sixth.

A new winner emerged in the fourth and final Supersport race of today, Repsol-backed Triumph rising star Chiodo denying Buckley a clean-sweep of the weekend after switching to his ‘number one’ bike for the final race of the weekend.

And he did so in great control, taking over the lead in the early laps and then withstanding the immense pressure of Buckley for a 0.132s victory. Early leader Levy ended the weekend in third place, near a second ahead of Olivier, while Muldoon was a lonely fifth.

Overall for the round in Supersport it was Buckley the winner, joined on the podium by Levy and Olivier, with Chiodo a consistent fourth.

In the Kawasaki Insurances FX300 Ninja Cup category it was Sam Condon who claimed the overall victory following four hard-fought races.

Condon won race three of the weekend in a consistent showing, clinching the round from race four winner Hunter Ford and Jimmy Broadbent, who won race two. Opening race winner Jack Dawes didn’t finish the remaining races of the day.

The Formula Oz category was all about Simon Galloway (Yamaha), winning all four races on his YZF-R1 to take the overall from Steve McLeod (BMW) and Evan Byles (Kawasaki).

It was a similar result for Adrian Pierpoint (Aprilia) in the Nakedbikes, however he was unable to match Pro-Twins round winner Michael McMillan (Aprilia). Races one and two winner Beau Beaton (Irving Vincent) encountered dramas and didn’t score points in the final races.

The Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship will be on track again for round two at Mallala Motorsport Park in South Australia on 26-28 May.

CycleOnline.com.au

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