TEAM JOE ROCKET SUZUKI:
Team Joe Rocket Suzuki rider Josh Waters dominated both races at the final round of the 2009 Australian Superbike Championship at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on Sunday, 29 November to claim the Australian Superbike Championship in his rookie season, and the team’s sixth national Superbike crown.
Twenty-two-year-old Waters held off the challenges of championship rivals Glenn Allerton and Wayne Maxwell to claim the number one plate in a thrilling winner-take-all finale to the seven-round series.
In a memorable day for the team, Waters’ Team Joe Rocket Suzuki teammate Shawn Giles and Team Joe Rocket Suzuki Satellite rider Robbie Bugden shared in the celebrations with second and fourth respectively for the round, with Team Joe Rocket Suzuki rider Troy Herfoss claiming his first race victory on his Suzuki GSX-R600 in the Australian Supersport Championship.
Waters had entered the round two points adrift of defending champion Allerton and seven points clear of Maxwell, but withstood the pressure placed on him by his rivals to claim the title.
Waters took victory in the opening 10-lap race by 6.126sec over Allerton, with Giles just 0.046sec adrift in third.
In championship-deciding final race Waters again proved too strong, taking the win by 3.176sec from three-time Australian Superbike Champion Giles, with Allerton third.
“I’ve never felt as nervous as I did today,” said Waters. “The team has been fantastic and worked so hard to give me a bike that would do the job.
“I knew when I had my teammate sitting behind me as wingman in the last race that the title was mine.”
After entering the round two points adrift of defending champion Allerton, Waters finished the 2009 season on 301pts, 10pts clear of Allerton and 56pts ahead of third-placed Maxwell.
“Congratulations to Josh – that was an awesome ride he put in today,” said Allerton.
Title contender Maxwell saw his championship chance disappear on the opening lap of race one when he crashed heavily after hitting a patch of water as he exited Turn 11.
Waters, Giles and three-time New Zealand Superbike Champion Bugden gave Suzuki three riders in the top five in the championship standings, and underlined the performance of the Suzuki GSX-R1000K9 in its debut season and just its fifth race meeting.
In the Australian Supersport Championship Herfoss, the 2008 US Supermoto Champion, claimed his first race win in his rookie road-racing season, taking a thrilling victory in the opening 12-lap race by 0.080sec over Bryan Staring.
A fourth in race two saw 22-year-old Herfoss tie on points with 2008 champion Jamie Stauffer on the day, the latter being awarded the overall win on count-back by race officials.
Staring finished third overall for the round to claim the 2009 Australian Supersport Championship, with Herfoss an impressive fifth on the championship points table in his debut season.
PHIL TAINTON – TEAM MANAGER
“It’s been a great weekend for the team – I’m so proud of Josh and the whole squad.
“Josh thoroughly deserves his win as he’s so dedicated – he’s a typical dedicated Aussie racer.
“The whole team has worked so hard for this championship. It’s been one of the most competitive seasons I can remember, and to come down to the last race to decide the championship is a great way to finish.
“Shawn and Robbie should be proud of their results today, and Troy taking his first race win in Supersport has made it a weekend to remember.
“I didn’t think it would be this soon, but Troy is a very talented rider and it’s a great result to be mixing it with those guys in his first season.”
JOSHUA WATERS – TEAM JOE ROCKET SUZUKI
“What can I say – the team has been fantastic, and the bike was great all weekend. I can’t thank the team enough.
“I honestly didn’t expect I’d be in this position when I started the season on the Superbike.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me, and all those who have believed in me – and especially my mum and dad, who have sacrificed so much so I could go racing.
“Phil and Lynne Tainton have taken me in as part of their family, my mechanic Hayden Joyce never stops working, and Shawn is always there to help me and offer advice.
“I’d like to dedicate this win to two good mates of mine, who lost their lives doing what they love – Kirk McCarthy and Judd Greedy. This one is for you guys.”
SHAWN GILES – TEAM JOE ROCKET SUZUKI
“I’d like to congratulate Josh on the championship – it just shows what a young guy can do.
“The team’s championship success says a lot about how good the new GSX-R1000 is.
“The team has worked so hard this year, and put in lots and lots of hours getting the bikes developed – it’s a credit to everyone.
“To give the team a one-two in the final race is a great way to finish off the season.”
ROBBIE BUGDEN – TEAM JOE ROCKET SUZUKI SATELLITE
“I really wanted to give the team a one-two-three in the final race, but I began to lose grip at the rear and dropped off the pace a bit in the closing laps.
“Phillip Island is a track that places big demands on set-up as the corners are so fast. You need everything spot-on, and that’s a challenge when the weather conditions keep changing.
“I am really happy with the season and to have three GSX-R1000s in the top five shows the calibre of Suzuki’s Superbike. Now it is time to go and defend the New Zealand Superbike Championship.
“I’d like to congratulate Josh on the championship – awesome effort.”
TROY HERFOSS – TEAM JOE ROCKET SUZUKI
“To be honest, I was hoping for those wet conditions we had in race one and to get the win was great.
“I feel okay in dodgy conditions, and feel I can race with those guys now.
“I’m still learning every time I go out. I’m still getting used to having to hang my body off the bike after years of Supermoto racing.
“Congratulations to Josh on his championship. It’s great to be part of Team Joe Rocket Suzuki.”