TAREE'S Josh Hook experienced the highs and lows of motor cycle racing in the opening round of the Australian Superbike championship at Phillip Island.
Hook scored his maiden win in the series in the first race, but was injured in a race fall in the second.
"My helmet, my leathers and a lot of luck probably saved my life,'' he said this week.
"I've got a fractured vertebrae in my neck, and broken wrist and collarbone. I'm going to be out of action for a short while, but it could have been a lot worse.''
Hook headed the all Honda front row in the opening race but it was Jamie Stauffer who held sway in turn one from Hook and Maxwell. The Honda triumvirate chased by Chris Trounson, on another Honda. Stauffer and Hook on the new CBR 1000 RR SP machines, their pursuers on the regular model Fireblade, MNC News reports.
Hook chased Stauffer for the opening two laps before making his move at turn one on the third lap after putting in a 1m33.166. Maxwell was on a mission also, putting a 33.22 in to close right on to the back of his Honda teammates to declare battle.
Stauffer edged his way past Hook once again but the youngster used the slipstream and perhaps a slight weight advantage to again take the lead at turn one. With nine laps to run the Honda trio had 10 seconds on the rest of the field, with Mike Jones leading the race for the best of the rest on his Superbike debut on the Crazy Dogs Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Maxwell had been right on the tail of the leading pair, and almost seemed to be happy to stay there as Hook and Stauffer perhaps tore their tyres up in their constant tussle for position. That was until Hook started to get a couple of bike lengths on Stauffer, then Maxwell made his move past Stauffer with seven laps to run, and dropped the hammer to chase down Hook. With half the race still to run the leading trio were covered by a slender four-tenths of a second.
Maxwell could seemingly run a tighter line than Hook, perhaps through sheer upper body strength in comparison to Hook rather than bike set-up.
The leaders started to encounter lapped traffic with four laps still to run. Hook had a little slide out of turn four which opened the door for Maxwell, the 2013 ASBK champion took that invitation and as they crossed the stripe with three laps to run Maxwell led Hook by a single tenth of a second.
Hook seemed to have an advantage over his teammates through 12 and down the chute, the back section of the circuit also perhaps advantage Hook but his teammates perhaps having a slightly better mastery between turns two and six.
With two laps to run the leading trio could hardly negotiate any track on the 4.45km circuit without their being lapped traffic in their way.
Hook showed his determination to win with a gutsy entry in to turn one for the final time to head Maxwell. Maxwell folded the front seemingly forever, and almost saved it but it just did not want to re-grip and he went down, leaving Hook to take his maiden Superbike win. Stauffer claimed second place 1.5 seconds behind Hook while Maxwell's misfortune promoted Mike Jones on to the podium ahead of Sean Condon and Chris Trounson.
"The team has worked hard to come off with pole position yesterday and to come here and convert it into a race win today and repay the team, it has been a long time coming but we have all been working hard,'' an elated Hook said.
"I have a good feel with the bike and am feeling good and everything seems to be working out for us and I am stoked to score the win here today."
Hook again led the Honda triumvirate through the opening turns at Phillip Island in the second race.
Stauffer had hit the lead towards the end of the opening lap and Hook had the power down hard between turns 11 and 12 to try and chase down the elder statesman of Team Honda but lost the rear of the new CBR 1000 RR SP. Wayne Maxwell was right behind Hook and had nowhere to go; running over the tumbling carnage of the Hook incident.
Hook was hopitalised after the race and faces an indefinite stay on the sidelines. He is in his second year in the series.