It was without a doubt a dream weekend for Jam Jerrup’s Zack Johnson at last weekend’s third round of the mi-bike Motorcycle Insurance Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK).
Johnson entered the Wakefield Park round optimistic of scoring good results, but he openly admitted that he certainly wasn’t expecting to finish on the overall podium.
The 21-year-old started the weekend off by setting the second fastest lap time in the combined practice times on Friday, with a 1:05.588 which he posted in free practice three.
Johnson explained that he was able to push hard from the get go, thanks to the bike setup being in the ‘window’, which allowed him to focus on lap times, rather than chasing a setup, like he had to do at Winton Motor Raceway in March.
Saturday’s sunshine brought ideal conditions as Johnson navigated the Johnson Racing Team Kawasaki Ninja 400 around the 2.2km circuit to secure his first Australian Supersport 300 Championship front row start of his career, by qualifying with the third fastest time with a 1:06.263.
“I’m very happy with how qualifying went,” said Johnson.
“We will make a few more changes to the bike, which should make it even better for race conditions. I just have to make sure I get a good start off the line in the three races.
“If I can do that, I’m sure we will be there or thereabouts,” he added.
Race one on Saturday afternoon saw Johnson getting a shocking start off the line.
He was first involved in an aggressive contest for second spot, having made his way from sixth to second in three laps. Johnson put his head down with a handful of laps remaining to finish in second place, 4.503sec ahead of Reece Oughted.
“My start was not the best, which made it hard, but once I got up to second it became more comfortable. I can’t afford to get starts like that tomorrow,” said Johnson after race one.
Race two went more according to plan with Johnson managing to get a good start.
After battling with Angus Grenfell for the first part of the 10-lap race, Johnson was able to pull clear in the closing stages.
For the third and final race on Sunday, Johnson again got a decent start but didn’t get into turn one in the best position. But he was able to pick off his competitors one-by-one throughout the race and managed to race into second place by lap two, where he stayed for the duration.
With a 2-2-2 result, it handed Johnson second place for the weekend – his best result thus far in the Australian Supersport 300 Championship.
Thanks to the results, Johnson climbs to second in the overall standings, 35-points behind the championship leader.
“I’m stoked to come away with three seconds places,” expressed Johnson.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to be up in the top three this weekend, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to finish second overall.
“I have to thank my crew chief, Chris Edmunds, from Lynchy’s Garage, who just worked his magic this weekend with the Bitubo suspension. We were able to start the weekend off on the right foot as he got our bike settings down pat, which is a huge credit to him.
“This allowed me to focus on my race craft and putting in fast lap times, rather than chasing bike setup. It just made the rest of the weekend so easy, which is exactly what you want.
“On top of that I have to thank all of our other team sponsors who are making this year possible. Rebuilder, Prebuild Solutions, The Grinning Dingo, Earmold Australia, Arai, Trucare and Two Wheel Decals. I can’t thank them enough.”
Round four of the 2021 Australian Supersport 300 Championship is scheduled for 20-22 August at Morgan Park Raceway, located in Warwick, Queensland.