Yamaha Head to Eastern Creek with title in hand
Another sensational season for the Yamaha Racing Team will wrap up this weekend, with the Superbike and Supersport titles set to return to their prized position in the trophy cabinet. The Queensland Raceway round saw Jamie Stauffer take an unassailable Superbike points lead, which means he will be crowned 2007 Australian Superbike Champion on Sunday, regardless of the race results.
Heading into this weekend’s Eastern Creek Final, Stauffer is also poised to grab back-to-back titles in the Supersport class, but will need to overcome strong opposition from his teammate Jason O’Halloran, who is a mere 6 points behind him.
The YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 machines have proven again to be the most dominant motorcycles in the national series, and it is testament to the build of the bikes and the commitment of the pit crew that both premier series titles look certain to return to Yamaha in 2007. Championship position will also be important for Dan Stauffer (Superbike) and Jeremy Crowe (Supersport), with both riders in with a shot at a top 3 finish following a very solid season.
Yamaha Racing Team Superbike
Just as he did in 2006, Jamie came, saw and comprehensively conquered the competition in the 2007 Australian Superbike Championship. A glance back over his results to date illustrates his domination; the New South Welshman took 9 race wins and 4 second placings, as well as 3 pole positions to seal the deal a round clear of the series decider. This weekend’s 8th and final round, to be contested at Eastern Creek, will be a mere formality for Stauffer, whose 65-point advantage cannot be bettered.
Recently returning from a stint overseas in which he partnered Norick Abe on the YMC factory team’s Suzuka R1 entry, he wants to round out another fantastic year on a high note, and believes a win would be a good reward for his hard-working team members. "Building an unbeatable points advantage has definitely taken the pressure off in the final round, I'll be out there to have some fun and celebrate the win for the team," said Stauffer. "My focus is now on Supersport, it will be tough to win this title, Jason is a very competitive racer and we'll both be putting everything on the line for the championship."
On the other side of the garage, brother Dan is also aiming to finish the year on the podium, and will be one of Jamie’s strongest challengers for the win. Currently sitting third in the championship, he is still in with a shot at pegging back a spot to take runner-up, a dream scenario for the team and one that he believes is entirely possible.
"Second place is only a few points away and I'm definitely aiming to claim it back from Craig Coxhell," said Stauffer. "I know the Eastern Creek circuit well and our test was really successful, we should be on the pace as soon as we hit the track on Friday and I'll be chasing down Jamie for the win!"
It’s been a case of ‘the one that got away’ on a number of occasions for the elder Stauffer, who has the most second place finishes in the class, with 6. These stats are accompanied by a single yet brilliant race win, and three third placings. He is also one of only three riders in the Superbike series to have recorded a pole position in 2007. This weekend’s Superbike clash consists of two combined practice sessions, two combined qualifying sessions and two 13-lap races, to be fought out in front of Sydneysiders on Sunday.
Yamaha Racing Team Supersport.
The factory YZF-R6 has again risen to the challenge in this year’s Australian Supersport Championship, proving its worth as a consistent and capable race winner at the hands of teammates Jason O’Halloran and Jamie Stauffer. As the points tally stands, the fight at this weekend’s Eastern Creek final will be well and truly on between the young gun and the reigning champ, with the title still up for grabs. And while Stauffer may have the upper hand in terms of points, there is little doubting the steely determination of O’Halloran, who has had the edge for much of the year.
Until the Queensland Raceway round surfaced, O’Halloran had never finished outside of the top 3 in a race result, and had strung together 5 race wins from 8 starts. Stauffer bounced back at the technical Ipswich circuit, and left the double-header event with a slight lead – 6 points to be exact. With a total of 50 points – plus a 1 point bonus for pole – up for grabs, O’Halloran knows he will need to outclass his teammate across both races in order to wrestle back the lead.
"We had a good test day at Eastern Creek and I know the bike is quick, I'm going out there to win and need every point I can get," said O'Halloran. "Jamie will be my biggest competition, we've been very evenly matched all season so its sure to be a very close final round."
The quiet achiever in the Supersport garage, Jeremy Crowe is also looking forward to a competitive weekend, and is confident that he will be able to run with his teammates as they settle the score for the series lead. Currently sitting 4th, Crowe will need Josh Waters, who sits immediately ahead of him, to have an average round if he is to climb into 3rd, but the unpredictable nature of the sport means anything is possible.
"I was off the pace a little at Queensland with injury, which meant I wasn't able to push as hard as I would have liked, so the final round will be about going out and aiming to put all three Yamaha's on the podium," said Crowe. "It's been a great year for me and I would like nothing more than to finish top 3 in the championship."
The Supersport class also contests two 13-lap races across the course of the day on Sunday, with grid positions decided in merged qualifying sessions on the Saturday.
1. Jamie STAUFFER, 325
2. Craig COXHELL, 260
3. Daniel STAUFFER, 256
4. Glenn ALLERTON, 233
5. Shawn GILES, 193
6. Russell HOLLAND, 187
7. Wayne MAXWELL, 187
8. Scott CHARLTON, 165
9. Robert BUGDEN, 158
10. Shannon JOHNSON, 154
1. Jamie STAUFFER, 303
2. Jason O'HALLORAN, 297
3. Joshua WATERS, 254
4. Jeremy CROWE, 235
5. Russell HOLLAND, 228
6. Gareth JONES, 165
7. Christopher SEATON, 153
8. Wayne MAXWELL, 135
9. Bryan STARING, 132
10. Judd GREEDY, 126