Australian riders Troy Herfoss and Tom Toparis will be taking on the world’s best at Phillip Island this February, with the pair having been announced as wild card entries for the Australian round of the World Superbike and Supersport Championships respectively.
“I’m so stoked; over the moon.” Current Australian Superbike champion Herfoss said. “It’s a huge honour to be able to represent the number 1 plate in the domestic championship and be able to represent Australia in World Superbikes.”
Herfoss and his Penrite Honda team will be keen to improve on last year’s wildcard performance, where technical difficulties led to retirement during the first race and the team electing not to start Race 2.
“Last year didn’t go as well as I’d hoped so the team are really appreciative that we’ve got another opportunity. I’m 100% certain we’ll be a lot more competitive this year. Last year we… jumped right in the deep end, tried to build a bike… in a very short period of time and with very limited testing.
“Now we’re going to have a bit more of a competitive bike and a bit more knowledge on how the weekend works and hopefully we can get in there and get amongst it.”
World Supersport wildcard Toparis already brings experience racing at the top level, having previously made appearances in Japan and Australia racing as a wild card in Moto3 – the feeder class to MotoGP.
In addition, the Goulburn native is reprising last year’s appearance at The Island, where a strong showing in the World Supersport race saw him advance back to 15th in the overall standings after starting the race last on the grid.
“Obviously very exciting, I’ve done (World Supersport) before, so I know what to expect now and I think it’s not so much of a shock anymore,” explained Toparis.
“I’ve been given a great opportunity to try and do well at my home round – the first round of World Superbike – I’m so keen to get out with those guys again.
“Last year it was my favourite weekend of the year because I won all the Australian Supersport races and I scored a point in World Supersport, so let’s hope I can do a little bit better this year and score a couple of points to reward the team for all the effort they’ve been putting in.”
Both riders are expected to pull double-duty for the weekend, with the first round of the Australian Superbike Championship (ASBK) running as a support act to the main event. Herfoss will be looking for a good result to kick start his 2019 title defence, while 2018 Australian Supersport runner-up Toparis will be keen to go one better in 2019.
Round 1 of the FIM World Superbike Championship is at Phillip Island Circuit in Victoria on 22-24 February, and includes the first round of the ASBK.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Gosling – tbg sport