It was an inspiring conclusion to the 2019 Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) for Kawasaki BCperformance at Sydney Motorsport Park’s seventh and final round this weekend between 1-3 November.
Kawasaki Superbike premier class contender Bryan Staring qualified on the second row of the grid in sixth position at 1m30.480s, within half a second of pole position and setting him up strongly for Sunday’s pair of 13-lap races aboard the Ninja ZX-10RR.
The first outing saw the former champion put on an incredible charge, working his way towards the front of the field in the early stages. The Western Australian finished just 0.014s shy of a podium, crossing the line in fourth place.
Looking to earn an overall podium in race two, Staring once again positioned himself among the leading group, however a crash 10 laps in denied him the chance of challenging for a top three. Overall, Staring was ranked 13th and he secured sixth in the championship standings.
“Again, it was a weekend where we had quite good potential, so I was pretty disappointed to miss the podium in race one,” Staring explained. “It was a shame because we’ve been a bit light on with podiums in the second half of the season and I really wanted to deliver one for the team.
“In race two I was pushing for the podium again and I went down riding my absolute hardest to get that top three finish. I went down fighting, but it doesn’t make it feel any better! The positive thing is that we were super-competitive racing in the front group again and we will take the positives from that.”
Fill-in rider Ben Burke - who was already riding the BCperformance-run Ninja 400 - stepped up to the Superbike category in place of injured regular Kyle Buckley for Sydney, the experienced former team regular piloting the Ninja ZX-10RR for the first time.
Burke qualified in 16th position after gaining valuable track time through Friday and Saturday, before recording a respectable 14-11 scorecard, granting him 11th overall. It was a rewarding effort despite little preparation entering the round.
“I think we did all we could for a one-off round,” said Burke. “It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a Superbike and you can’t just step back on them and be fast. In the second race I beat a couple of ASBK regulars, so I’m actually pretty chuffed with myself!”
Kawasaki BCperformance team owner Kelvin Reilly was impressed with the team’s display of potential this weekend, while he expressed thanks for the squad’s efforts throughout the 2019 season.
“Taking the positives from the weekend, Bryan was competitive and the Dunlop tyres were really good,” Reilly commented. “The team was so good and you can't fault the Ninja ZX-10RR, plus Bryan was riding at his best this weekend. He was battling for position and fell off, just pushing on the limit.
“Ben was an excellent stand-in this weekend and gave us some valuable data with the bike - he did the job that we needed him to do. I want to thank Kawasaki Motors Australia, Ficeda, Dunlop, all of our supporters and everybody in my team - they’ve done a fantastic job this year.”
Kawasaki-supported Ninja ZX-10RR rider Matt Walters completed his season with the top privateer ranking for 2019 once again, charging to an 11-7 results sheet in Sydney for eighth overall. He earned a ranking of seventh in the championship standings.
“It wasn’t too bad of a weekend,” Walters commented. “I would’ve liked to have been up in the top five for my home round, but I simply didn’t have the pace to go with the front guys. I had no crashes throughout the year and we claimed back-to-back privateer championships, so I’m really happy and it was a nice way to finish off.”
In addition, Kawasaki-mounted Senna Agius lifted the 2019 Australian Supersport 300 Championship aboard his Ninja 400, claiming victory at the final round. It was a remarkable end to the year for Agius in the hard-fought production category, going on to win two of the three races at the finale.