Newfound ASBK championship rivalry comes to a head on-track in Victoria.
Fireworks have erupted between defending Australian Superbike champion Troy Herfoss and title threat Cru Halliday in an on-track altercation during this week’s test at Winton.
Day two of testing at the rural Victorian venue saw Penrite Honda Racing’s Herfoss and Halliday embroiled in a heated exchange after the latter balked Herfoss during the afternoon.
Yamaha Racing Team leader Halliday had run off the circuit at turn 11 and was working his way back up to speed when a fast-approaching Herfoss almost collided with him through turn four. That led to a confrontation that escalated once they arrived in pit-lane afterwards.
“I’ll be straight up, I was in the wrong,” recalled Halliday. “I went off-track and came back on all muddy and that, so I let [Kyle] Buckley past and I knew Herfoss was there, but he was still a fair way off. I went through turns one and two, still with mud on my tyres, and then when I got to three he was right on me.
“I tried to get on the gas, but I was a gear taller than usual because I wasn’t really getting into it. I went around turn four and stayed left because, usually, you’d pull it right for the next long sweeper, so I tried to get out of his way. He was already up the inside of me, so he passes me, holds his hand out and palms me in the ribs.
“I saw red and chased him, then he pinned it. I was on a hard shock and hard tyre, but knew he was on a soft because you could see it, so he was just too fast and gapped me straight away. I kept going and then he stopped getting into it, came back to me and he tried to start it again. Afterwards, I went to say sorry and he got into me, but I wasn’t having it.
“I’m not letting him push me around like he’s done to other people before. I had no problem with Herfoss, but I find it funny that he’s been in the same situation with other riders before when it comes close to crunch-time in fighting for the championship. He can do whatever he wants and I will keep doing what I’m doing – my own thing.”
Herfoss was less descriptive of the incident, but is understood to have been on lap record pace for a number of laps – which he says were set on ‘a race tyre’ – when the clash took place. It’s a newfound rivalry that could prove critical when the Motul Pirelli Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) resumes at Winton between 6-8 September.
“I think he ran off the track or something and I could see him from about half a lap before, dawdling in the middle of the track,” Herfoss said. “Anyway, I went around the old turn two and nearly ran up the back of him because he was turning one way and looking the other… I just give it to him.
“He wanted to say something on the way back into the pits and I didn’t want to hear it. I don’t care, to be honest – it’s nothing personal. I figured he was looking for a tow, so I gave him one and hope he enjoyed the lap.”
Current championship leader Mike Jones (DesmoSport Ducati) is ahead of Halliday by a single point in the standings following four of seven rounds, while Herfoss – winner of the round and championship at Winton one year ago – currently sits fourth, a further 14 points behind Halliday.