Sam Clarke on fire at Barbagallo

Motorcyclist Sam Clarke celebrates at Barbagallo Raceway last weekend. Picture: Keith Muir

NOT even being “a bit sidewards everywhere” in the final race stopped motorcyclist Sam Clarke from claiming his second win of the day in the Motul Supersport Championship at Barbagallo Raceway last weekend.

Earlier in the day during round four of the Yamaha Motor Finance Australian Superbike Championship the Banham WA Racing rider had already won the first race making him the Motul Supersport Championship leader with a two-point lead.

Clarke said the first race had been easier while in the second race Callum Spriggs and Luke Mitchell had really put pressure on him.

“But it makes racing fun and I’m stoked to finish with the win,’’ he said.

In the final race Clarke nailed the start on his Kawasaki, followed closely by JNL Racing’s Mitchell in second place and Cube Racing’s Spriggs in third.

With three laps completed Clarke stretched out his lead to .553 of a second, while Spriggs managed to past Mitchell to move in to second position with Graffiti Alley Racing’s Troy Guenther in third.   From there, the front four riders separated themselves from the rest of the Supersport group, and by lap seven, Clarke began to come under fire from the Yamaha mounted Mitchell who was not prepared to take second without a fight.   But in lap nine Mitchell dropped back to fourth leaving the door open for Spriggs to launch his attack on Clarke.   Fom there on the final Supersport race of the day was set to go down to the wire – Clarke holding off Spriggs by the smallest of margins (0.194) while Guenther and Mitchell also continued to apply the pressure.

Mitchell, who was determined to snatch up points in race two, managed to get by Guenther with only two laps to go.

But when the riders headed in to their final lap of the day on the Barbagallo circuit, Clarke was in the box seat to collect his second victory on home soil.
In the first race of the day despite starting on pole it was Mitchell who grabbed the lead, but by the end of the first half lap Clarke had moved into top spot.

With three laps completed Clarke had more than a 1.2 second lead on Mitchell who maintained second place, while series points leader Guenther held third position, from Spriggs and Ben Blyth, who maintained fourth and fifth positions respectively.   By lap four, Clarke was simply unstoppable out in front, setting a new lap record with a 57.184 lap time, smashing that of Jamie Stauffer’s 600cc record (57.533) which was first set in 2011. By lap 10, the front four Supersport riders Clarke, Mitchell, Guenther, and Spriggs all started to spread out, pulling a 13 second gap on fifth placed Blyth, and putting two seconds between each other’s respective positions.   From there, there was no change to the standings, with Clarke streaming to his first Motul Supersport race victory for the weekend by 2.346 seconds, followed by Mitchell, Guenther, Spriggs and Nic Liminton who made a late charge for fifth position.
By Linda Russell