Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Rea the king of Oz after treble

Jonathan Rea was crowned King of Wanneroo 2009, during Sunday’s triple header at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth, Western Australia, posting three wins from three starts on his Honda Fireblade street bike.

Local favourite Shannon Johnson on the factory-supported KTM RC8R started on pole, but Ballyclare world superbike rider Rea had far too much in reserve for the sometimes over confident 26-year-old Aussie.

After an early race one exchange, both Rea and Suzuki-mounted Ian Lowry pulled the pin at the front of the field with Johnson having to settle for third place. Rea also set the fastest lap of the weekend in this race with a 56.18sec lap on the second circuit.

Alastair Seeley, also on a Suzuki, was four seconds adrift of the leading trio in fourth, with Andrew Pitt and Simon Andrews rounding off the top six. Sadly for Michael Swann, his race weekend lasted just eight laps when his KTM RC8R developed a terminal engine problem.

Rea had an unusually bad start in race two leaving it to Seeley to bash bars with Johnson, and that’s exactly what the Wee Wizard from Carrickfergus did.

On lap seven, coming out of turn one, Johnson and Seeley clashed hard enough to raise a big cheer from the Australian crowd, but it also forced Johnson’s KTM to over-rev and touch a valve, forcing him out of the race one lap later.

With his biggest rival now on the sidelines, Rea produced another faultless performance at the head of the pack taking his points tally to a perfect 50, with Seeley impressive in second, albeit some five seconds behind.

Lowry, suffering from arm pump and a lack of grip in the 30 degrees heat was a further four seconds back in third while Aussies Pitt and Daniel Stauffer just held off KTM-mounted Jeremy McWilliams for fourth and fifth.

With no spare bike or engine available, Johnson was forced to pull out of the final race, introducing a new battle for second and third places on the overall podium. The expected recipients were Lowry [38 points] and Seeley [37], but there are no formalities in racing and the next 15 laps proved just that.

Seeley, pushing hard to catch his Relentless Suzuki team-mate, lost the front of his GSX–R1000 going into the final turn on lap three — game over for the Carrick man.

Lowry was next to exit. Sitting in second place behind Rea, the 23-year-old looked a cast iron certainty for that place on the overall podium, until his exhaust bracket snapped at half distance.

After bravely stopping to pull the exhaust and link pipe off his machine, Lowry continued to chase points, eventually finishing 12th on a bike that by then sounded more like a prototype MotoGP machine!

As expected, Rea hooked up his Pirelli-shod Honda with consummate ease, eeking out a nine-second advantage over Pitt and Andrews at the chequered flag. McWilliams was fifth behind Stauffer, with Keith Amor, Conor Cummins and Guy Martin, seventh, eighth and ninth.

Rea took the overall with 75 points from Pitt, his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team-mate, second on 53. There was a three-way tie for third with Andrews, Stauffer and Lowry all on 47 points.

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