Mitchell’s show of speed squeezing the top
SUPERSPORT: James Creek supersport challenger Luke Mitchell has continued his blistering form at the start of the Australian Superbike Championship with a high octane performance at Goulburn's Wakefield Park.
With only two races on at Wakefield Park, it was do or die for Mitchell to keep his spot at third on the championship rankings.
Mitchell rose to the task in race one and after sitting on the tail of Western Australia's Sam Clarke for 13 laps, Mitchell made his move to the front only to be pulled up by a red flag ending the race after an accident.
The results fell back on how the racers crossed the line in lap 13 leaving Mitchell in second spot.
"That was very tough luck, I was pulling away in that half lap," Mitchell said. "A red flag is the flag the officials trackside show us the race has been stopped for a safety reason.
"They need to go back to when every rider had finished a lap. It is unfortunate but it is just the way it is."
In race two it was a similar affair with Mitchell again taking up a spot on the back wheel of race leader Clarke.
With Clarke dictating the pace of the race, Mitchell attempted a move around him earlier this time and in lap 12 the pair went back and forth for the top spot.
Mitchell led the race into the final straight with Clarke just getting ahead for a repeat podium of the first race as championship leader Troy Guenther rounded them out.
"When I got the lead [Clarke] came with me," Mitchell said. "I put in a lap that got me ahead in space but I made an error on the first turn that cost me.
"I grabbed the brake lever too hard on a worn front tyre and the bike started going, I kind of thought to myself I got away with one there.
"I thought right, wherever I finish is where I finish. It was either get 20 points for second or zero for a DNF."
Mitchell finished the weekend's racing in second position on the podium which put him third on 81 points on the championship leaderboard only half a point behind Clarke in second, and 14 points behind Guenther.
Mitchell showed his speed at Wakefield Park coming within 0.050 seconds of the track record lap time which was set three years ago.
He also recorded the fastest lap time in both the races he entered despite finishing second both times.
"It is one of those tracks where if you get the bike coming good off every bump you can really go fast there," he said.
"We spent so much time in testing and preparations to get everything right and it really paid off on the day."
Mitchell now looks on to round three of the Australian Superbike Championship which is at Sydney Motorsport Park at Eastern Creek on April 16-17.
"It is an old GP circuit so it is nice and fast and flowing," Mitchell said. "I like that style of racing."