Yamaha Racing's, Cru Halliday, has claimed second place in the 2020 Mi-Bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) after a huge double header weekend at Wakefield Park, in New South Wales, bought the championship to a dramatic conclusion.
Halliday endured a challenging weekend but rallied late in the final race and move past Mike Jones to gain a position which gave him one extra point that proved critical in the final championship chase as Halliday pipped Troy Herfoss for second place by a solitary point.
Halliday was a fraction off all weekend and on a tight track like Wakefield Park, it proved to be the difference between winning or mired in the pack. With a complete round contested on Saturday and another in Sunday, it was a tough weekend on riders and teams but provided a fitting finale to the championship.
Halliday started the weekend in reasonable shape with P-3 in qualifying on Saturday but wasn’t able to capitalise on it in race one when he miss timed his jump off the grid and was swallowed on lap one. He then made another mistake at the mid race stage but was able to fight back in the later stages to finish in fifth place.
A fourth place in race two on Saturday saw him finish fourth for the day, just a few points shy of the podium for the round.
Returning on Sunday, Halliday proved consistent finishing with 4-5 results to again take fourth, this time just one point from the round podium, but more importantly, he was able to hang onto second place in the championship – a career best finish in the ASBK Superbike class.
“I have mixed emotions about the weekend as it as good to finish second in the championship and I’m proud of that result for myself and the Yamaha Racing Team, but I know that I’m better than how I raced either day this weekend,” Halliday sighs.
“I was struggling to get off the grid both days and just really didn’t ride 100% at any stage over the weekend. As I said in pre-race interviews, I was pretty nervous coming into the weekend and maybe that had an effect, but it’s something I will learn from and I plan on coming back next year fitter, faster and more determined than ever.
“Thank you to the Yamaha Racing Team for their support all year as well as my family who continue to back me 100%. As announced today, I’m back with YRT next year and we will look to go one better in 2021,” Halliday signed off.
For Aiden Wagner, it was a weekend spent getting re-adjusted to the national pace of ASBK. Wagner raced the opening round under an injury cloud and although he has been able to contest local events in Queensland during COVID, it wasn’t with a field as deep or as fast as the full ASBK contenders.
But he battled through and will be far better for the hit out taking sixth on Saturday with 5-6 results and racked up another sixth on Sunday with 6-7 finishes. He proved ultra-consistent all weekend but like Halliday, Wagner wasn’t getting off the grid well and was left fighting his way through the pack in all four races.
“I really want to use the weekend as a big learning curve and one that I can take a lot from. You can learn more from weekends like this and I happy to take in every lesson and ensure I will be better in the future.
“We have a great team with the Yamaha guys, and we have all the tools to do well, so its time to get to work over the off-season and come back swinging at round one next year, which isn’t that far away.
“I want to thank John and everyone at YRT for backing me and my plan is to repay them in 2021 with a solid season and be right up the front in the championship chase,” Wagner said.
Despite Covid-19, the ASBK championship was able to complete a championship and provide a credible and worthy series. Having Halliday on the podium for the championship pleases team manager, John Redding, but his mind is already looking forward to 2021.
“Congratulations to Cru and the team on his second place in the championship. It was hard fought all the way to the end and although not pretty, he was able to stay firm and finish on the podium in a very high quality field of riders.
For Aiden, it’s his first year with the team and now we have a solid base to work with for him and I think next season we will see a much improved Aiden Wagner after a year under his belt with YRT.
“As announced today, Broc Parkes will also join the team for 2021 and again signifies the passion both Yamaha Australia and YRT have for racing. Broc brings years of experience to us and we can that not only can he have a huge impact on the championship but also help and mentor Cu and Aiden to be better riders.
“We will regroup and be ready for 2021 but I must also thank the tireless work of Kevin and Dylan back in the work shop, the support crews of each rider as well as a our loyal team of sponsors, headed by Yamaha Australia,” Redding acknowledges.
Yamaha also won the ASBK Superbike manufacturers championship scoring 112 points to be well clear of Suzuki in second on 92 and Ducati with 84.