Thursday, November 8

PHILLIP ISLAND - THE DECIDER...

FOR the past few years, the winner of the eni Superbike World Championship has been a rider who has won a race at the opening round at Australia’s Phillip Island circuit.

The exception was 2010, when Leon Haslam (Suzuki) and Carlos Checa (Ducati) shared the SWC race wins in Australia, but Max Biaggi went on to score the first of his two Superbike World Championships.

But in the years 2005-2009, and in 2011 and ’12, the winners in Australia have ended up world champions.

Australian Superbike legend Troy Corser won both races at the Island in 2005 on a GSX-R1000 Suzuki and was world champ by year’s end; a year later he and the other Aussie Troy (Bayliss) shared race wins, with Bayliss taking the championship for Ducati. In 2007, Bayliss and Englishman James Toseland (Honda) shared the wins, with Toseland taking the world title. Bayliss bounced back to score a Phillip Island double in 2008, and took another championship while in 2009 Ben Spies qualified on pole, got bumped off the track in the first race to finish 16, but powered to a convincing win in race two – the first of 14 wins that season, and won the title at his first attempt – Yamaha’s only SWC title.

Similarly, last year, Spaniard Carlos Checa started from pole and won both Australian races on the Althea Ducati, and took 13 more chequered flags on his way to the 2011 championship.

In 2012, Max Biaggi won the first race at Phillip Island, and finished runner-up in the second – his best-ever Superbike results at the Island - and went on to win this year’s championship.

Perhaps Tom Sykes will finally win a race at Phillip Island in February 2013. If he does, will he go on to be world champ?

If you want to be on hand to witness the cut-and-thrust SWC action next February, join the Kiwi Rider tour.

Call Michael Esdaile, 09 416 5309, or 027 495 4510 for more info. Alternatively, email: AD-HOC@takeme2.net