Stop Press Road Racing
2017 Suzuki Series - OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Boxing Day at the Cemetery Circuit
Scott Moir leads the pack in race two at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
Scott Moir wins 2017 Suzuki Series
Scott Moir dominated racing at the Cemetery Circuit by winning race one and then the Robert Holden Memorial feature race at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
The Taupo-based rider’s race one victory and second placing in race two was more than enough to clinch his first major Suzuki Series title after posting three wins throughout the 2017 Suzuki Series on his CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000.
Moir was fastest into turn one of the opening F1 Superbike leg although a rapid Hayden Fitzgerald was right on Moir’s rear wheel, until Daniel Mettam passed the New Plymouth rider early in the race. Wellington’s Jay Lawrence was the fourth fast rider in the group racing in line astern until race end, to finish in that order. Although, Fitzgerald made a late drive for the line to almost steal second place from Mettam.Further behind came Adam Chambers from Clive, with Mitch Rees very close behind. Internationals Connor Cummins (Isle of Man) was ninth and just ahead of Lee Johnson (Northern Ireland) who was beginning to acquit himself well to the tight street circuit.
Race two had an exciting start when Lawrence took the holeshot but was held up slightly at turn two when Fitzgerald decided his bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-R1 should be in front. That small fracas allowed Moir to charge through to take the lead and to make a small gap over the next few laps, with Lawrence and Fitzgerald still disputing who was next fastest, for second place. In his first season on a superbike Lawrence began closing on Moir as the race ran down.
Lawrence loves street circuit racing and it showed when he jetted his Carl Cox Motorsport GSXR1000 into the lead near race end which he held until taking the chequered flag. With just over a lap remaining Moir went into risk management mode in second position to secure the Suzuki Series.
Fitzgerald finished uncomfortably close to Moir for third while Mettam won the battle for fourth with Sloan Frost on his Fujistu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSXR1000, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR-mounted Mitch Rees and Kawasaki rider Adam Chambers all finishing together.
Glen Skachill was forced to ride his old Bimota YB8 Post Classic bike after the standard rear shock broke on his superbike. The Wellingtonian incredibly lapped his 1988 Bimota only 1.5 seconds a lap slower than the leader to score a race one eleventh, then eighth in race two, finishing ahead of more than a few top riders!
Moir wrapped up the Suzuki Series with 137 points while Mettam finished second overall with 122, and Mitch Rees was third in the title chase amassing 112 points.
The Robert Holden Memorial is the most prestigious motorcycle trophy in New Zealand and everyone wants their name on it. Mettam put his ideas into practise by leading the fastest invite-only riders of the day until he ran wide on the first lap which allowed Moir and Lawrence through in what looked to shape up as titanic street battle. Moir however rode even faster than in the previous two F1 Superbike races to ensure it was his name emailed to the engravers.
Lawrence was a good second but the talking point was new Suzuki Series F2 600 champion Shane Richardson, who lapped his Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R at the same near record pace as the two riders in front – on larger capacity 1000cc Suzukis.
Moir says, “It is a pretty good feeling for sure! This is my fifth crack at it and I’ve got a second before, so to get it I am over the moon! I never thought I would get past Daniel (Mettam) because he’s pretty good, but he was pushing a bit hard, made a mistake, and the door was open so I got my head down and I gave it all.
“There was a bit of pressure coming into the round but winning the first race gave me a points buffer so I was happy to settle for second in the second race. I’ve done Supermoto, F3 a couple of seasons on a 600, a season on a superbike then I stopped for a few years before I got back into it.”
By the end of the day Lee Johnson was beginning to work out the technical Cemetery circuit and rode his Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 into sixth, behind fourth placed Mettam and David Hall. Cummins finished 11th on a bike he’d never raced before and had issues much of the day setting the suspension to suit the rider and the bumpy track. The pace was hot as the fastest nine riders were lapping within one second of Moir.
Johnson enjoyed his time in the NZ summer, “I really enjoyed it. The first race was tough as we only had five wet laps and five dry laps in practice then straight into a race, so you can’t get a rhythm because you don’t know where you’re going. It is so technical here, I misjudged it a bit thinking it was only a short lap so it can’t be too hard to learn, but there’s so many bumps and dips, curbs, manholes and white lines – especially in the wet. But the second and third race I actually enjoyed it, I was feeling good.
“I’ve absolutely loved it, the country, and the racing as well so I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to come for the future, it’s definitely an awesome place.”
Connor Cummins may not have recorded the F1 Superbike and Supermoto results he hoped for riding the injured Tony Rees superbike as the team worked throughout the day to set the Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR up for the tall 193cm (6’ 4”) Isle of Man-based rider. “It’s been interesting riding the track, everyone said it’s a ‘road’ however it is a very different track with stop-start corners, dips and apexes, manhole covers, while lines - which in the wet made for interesting riding this morning during practice,” 31 year old Cummins says laughing, who remains in NZ for his honeymoon. “I had a great time and a big part of that is the people, a big thanks to the organisers and Tony Rees and his team!”
With Whanganui experience now under their belts both Johnson and Cummins hope to return for all three Suzuki Series rounds next year.
Wainuiomata rider Shane Richardson won the 2017 Suzuki Series F2 600 class by taking a mostly unchallenged victory ahead of Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R- mounted Toby Summers in race one, then settling for second in the final heat to a charging Summers.
David Hall (Suzuki GSXR600) and Rogan Chandler (Yamaha NZ R6) enjoyed a fantastic duel for third in both races which was won by Te Awamutu’s Hall on each occasion. After missing the opening Taupo round Sam Willacy came back from injury to post an eighth and a good sixth on his home track.
Richardson closed his NZ season in the best form possible by taking four wins from six starts for 145 points. 2014 F2 600 series champion Toby Summers finished his effort with 115 points equal with Chandler, although Summers is unofficially second due to his Whanganui and Manfeild race wins. Hall has 96 points to Ashton Hughes with 91.
Richardson returns to the US in the New Year to continue racing abroad. “I finally managed to win it!” Richardson says. “I was pretty sure I won the series after the first race which was nice going into the second race and not have to worry about pushing it. I’m more than happy as my Kawasaki ZX-6 performed phenomenally all season, it wasn’t a walk in the park but I’m pretty happy with four wins out of six starts.”
Richardson was third in the Robert Holden Memorial, “That was my last race of the season in NZ for me so I had nothing to lose so I pushed the envelope a bit! We’re currently getting the money together to go to Daytona to put a good package together and see how we stack up in the Daytona 200.”
Based on past performance and 20 British BSB sidecar wins in 2017 there was little doubt that Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes would take both wins, and that’s how the story went. Although, Reeves was penalised 20 seconds for a race one jump start however the UK pair opened out such a large gap on their Carl Cox Motorsport LCR600 F2 ‘chair’ to second place they still managed to win by eight seconds.
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan had planned to race a smaller F2 sidecar with a GSX750 engine in order to remain in the F1 category but on race day the newly installed engine didn’t run correctly leaving them to race their larger 1000cc F1 rig. It didn’t matter as the ex-pat Brit and kiwi Bryan collected a pair of third placings to win the coveted F1 Sidecar Suzuki Series title thanks to four wins in the earlier rounds.
Adam Unsworth (Auckland) and Bryce Rose (Palmerston North) rode their 1988 Windle 1000 sidecar well above its station for two fine second positions.
With the top order battles sorted the real interest on the day was how well the many international sidecar teams would fare on the tight and bumpy street circuit for the first time.
Greg Lambert (UK) and Julie Caniper (Isle of Man) easily won that challenge as they brought their Carl Cox Motorsport F2 GLR Honda F2 rig home in fifth in race one and were going better than that in race two but were handed a 20 second jump start penalty, dropping them down to ninth by race end.
The next best dressed international team were the consistent Graeme Evans/Eamon Mulholland pairing, from Australia and NZ. They collected a pair of sixth placings. UK-based Tony Baker and Shelly Smithies had a race two battle royale with Evans and Mulholland for fifth position as the pair became used to the Cemetery Circuit during their final race. 72 year old Baker won the duel.
2017 was Reeves third NZ visit and he handsomely won the F2 class, “I wanted to win here for Mark (his passenger), so a massive thanks to Carl (Cox) and what a job Flea and his wife do (series organisers), and all the crowd were great! When you’re enjoying yourself you ride well, and I come here the weather is great, everyone is great - the kiwis make you feel so welcome so you’re relaxed and enjoy riding.
“The competition at home is quite stiff, it’s like ten blokes are all capable of winning the race so you’ve got to be sharp and on the ball.”
Nathanael Diprose took both F3 victories and the F3 Suzuki Series on his Suzuki GSXR450 triple – which is a GSXR600 with one piston mechanism removed. The Aucklander earned his wins the hard way with Steve Bridge on his self-made Veearma Ducati 750 powered machine tailing and then passing Diprose with two laps to go in race one. Luck didn’t go his way as Bridge lost time passing a lapped rider over the railway lines which allowed Diprose to catch and then pass him on the last lap. Had Bridge crossed the line first it would be the first time in several years a NZ-build race bike won at Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit.
Ashley Payne brought his three cylinder Suzuki GSXR450 home in third, but won the second stanza well ahead of Diprose. Payne would have won the opening heat but was penalised 20 seconds for a jump start which eventually placed the Whanganui rider in fourth.
Hamilton’s Jacob Stroud completed the podium on his exclusive Mike Pero Real Estate Kramer HKR690 after a huge race-long duel with Bridge - thanks to some test riding help from his famous father Andrew Stroud the previous week to optimise Jacob’s suspension settings.
Whanganui is a place of firsts. Japanese racer Yoshi Kishimoto qualified his Team Mirai Zero FXS electric bike in fourth position in a first appearance by an electric motorcycle at the Cemetery Circuit. Kishimoto rode his machine incredibly well throughout the day and placed his battery-powered machine seventh in race one and a fighting sixth in race two. Kishimoto made another electric first when he snatched the race two holeshot on his silent bike, which could have been an interesting outcome, however the race was red flagged on the opening lap due to a crash and then restarted.
Riders need to be 16 years or over to race on the fabled Cemetery Circuit so several young riders were missing from the Gixxer 150 cup grid at Whanganui. Which is why riders can drop a round for the series points. None of the riders who did ride had ever raced at Whanganui so everyone was starting with no previous Cemetery Circuit experience.
Juan-Peter Seibrits and Thomas Newton shared the spoils on the day with an easy win each. Zak Fuller posted a pair of fine second placings with the final rostrum spot taken by Hunter Stoneman-Boyle very close behind Fuller in each leg. With riders able to drop a round for the Gixxer 150 Cup, Zak Fuller was given the overall win for the day. Trophies for the 2017 Suzuki Series were awarded for the Taupo and Manfeild rounds only, headed by Blake Ross, of Paeroa.
After several attempts Ritchie Dibben came good in Supermoto for his first Suzuki Series win. Like Dibben, Glen Skachill remained unbeaten on a Bimota in the six Suzuki Series races in Post Classics. Dwayne Bishop won both Formula Sport/BEARS races but not without a good fight with Steve Bridge in race one and then Zurrin Wiki in the second leg. Bishop won that Suzuki Series class ahead of Bridge and Eddie Kattenberg.
The Suzuki GSX150F ‘early bird’ ticket prize winner was Brian Reardon, of Whanganui. The prize was drawn by Ticketek.
2017 Suzuki Series round 3 results from Whanganui, Tuesday December 26.
Suzuki Formula 1 Superbike, race 1: Scott Moir (Taupo, CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000), 1; Daniel Mettam (Auckland, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 2; Hayden Fitzgerald, (New Plymouth, bLU cRU Yamaha R1), 3; Jay Lawrence (Wellington, Carl Cox Motorsport GSXR1000), 4; Adam Chambers (Clive, Wolf Pack Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R), 5.
Formula 1 Superbike, race 2: Lawrence, 1; Moir, 2; Fitzgerald, 3; Mettam, 4; Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 5.
Final F1 Superbike series points: Moir, 137; Mettam, 122; Mitch Rees, (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR), 112; Fitzgerald, 106; Frost, 103. Lawrence, 96.
Robert Holden Memorial feature: Scott Moir, 1; Jay Lawrence, Shane Richardson, 3; Daniel Mettam, 4; David Hall, 5; Lee Johnson, 6.
Pirelli Formula 2 600, race 1: Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1; Toby Summers (Auckland, Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R), 2; David Hall (Te Awamutu, Suzuki GSXR600), 3; Rogan Chandler (Wellington, bLU cRU Yamaha R6), 4; Ashton Hughes (Feilding, Triumph Daytona 675), 5.
Formula 2 600, race 2: Summers, 1; Richardson, 2; Hall, 3; Chandler, 4; Hughes, 5.
Final Formula 2 series points: Richardson, 145; Summers & Chandler, 115= ; Hall, 96; Hughes, 91.
Bike Torque Formula 3, race 1: Nathanael Diprose (Auckland, Suzuki GSXR450), 1; Steve Bridge (Ngaruawahia, Veearma F7 750), 2; Jacob Stroud (Hamilton, Kramer HKR690), 3; Ashley Payne (Whanganui, GSXR450), 4; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Coleman’s Suzuki GVR645), 5; Yoshi Kishimoto (Japan, Team Mirai Zero FXS electric bike), 7.
Formula 3, race 2: Payne, 1; Diprose, 2; Stroud, 3; Bridge 4; Richard Markham-Barrett (Nikau Valley, KTM690), 5; Yoshi Kishimoto (Japan, Team Mirai Zero FXS electric bike), 6.
Final Formula 3 series points: Diprose, 149; Veltmeyer, 114; Payne, 64; Payne, 108; Stroud, 94; Jordan Burley (Hamilton, Suzuki SV650), 74.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup, race 1: All riding Suzuki GSX150F motorcycles. Juan-Peter Seibrits (Wellington), 1; Zak Fuller (Taupiri), 2; Hunter Stoneman-Boyle (Whanganui), 3; Matt Brough (Paraparaumu), 4; Harry Parker (Timaru), 5.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup, race 2: Thomas Newton (Pukekohe), 1; Fuller, 2; Stoneman-Boyle, 3; Michael Wilson (Invercargill), 4; Tarbon Walker (Whanganui), 5.
Gixxer points - Whanganui only: Fuller, 44; Stoneman-Boyle, 40; Wilson, 32; Brough, Walker & Parker, 31 =.
Gixxer Series points - for Taupo & Manfeild: Blake Ross (Paeroa), 83; Clark Fountain (Greymouth), 76; Walker, 70; Wilson 53; Newton & Parker 52 =.
Collegiate Quality Inn F1 Sidecars race 1: Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (UK, Carl Cox Motorsport LCR600 F2), 1; Adam Unsworth/Bryce Rose (Auckland/Palmerston North, Eni Windle F1), 2; Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan (Te Puke/Tauranga, Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F1), 3; Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell (Masterton, Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000), 4; Greg Lambert/Julie Caniper (UK/Isle of Man, Carl Cox Motorsport), 5; Graeme Evans/Eamon Mulholland (Australia/Ireland, Rick Hanger Racing ZX-10), 6.
F1 Sidecars race 2: Reeves/Wilkes, 1; Unsworth/Rose, 2; Smith/Bryan, 3; Taylor/Bilby, 4; Tony Baker/Shelly Smithies (UK), 5; Evans/ Mulholland, 6.
Final F1 Sidecar series points; Smith/Bryan, 146; Unsworth/Rose, 132; Chris & Ritchie Lawrance, 99; Evans/ Mulholland, 97.5; Pete Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop (Auckland, F1 GRR), 92.5
Final F2 Sidecar series points; Reeves/Wilkes, 128; Tony Baker/Shelly Smithies (UK), 107; Gordie McKeown/Geoff Davies (Tauranga), 77; Corey Winter/ Kieran Whitham (Whanganui), 67.5; Kees Endeveld/Craig Petersen (Australia.NZ), 67.
Words & photos by Terry Stevenson
The final round of the 2017 Suzuki Series at Whanganui on Boxing Day is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory.
Scott Moir leads the championship by just seven points from two young guns in Daniel Mettam and Mitch Rees. If they want the Suzuki Series win they cannot make a mistake as a single error or small slide could let the other rider past on the tricky street circuit.
If the close racing at Manfeild last Sunday is anything to go by the fans will get their monies worth on Boxing Day. But it won’t be the same because historically some riders take to the Cemetery Circuit as if they were riding around their back yard, Tony Rees is one on them, while others find racing over white lines, slippery steel manhole covers and railway lines challenging, and unsettling.
Taupo’s Moir (CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000 ) and Auckland’s Mettam (Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 ) excel in these conditions, while Mitch Rees remains largely untested on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR. The Whakatane rider has only raced the Cemetery Circuit a single time, although he posted handy positions last year the 24 year old wasn’t at the pace of his legendary father. Mettam and Mitch Rees have 82 points apiece.
Mettam says, “I finished third and fourth at Whanganui last year so I think we can have a good result next week. There’s no time to set the bike up so you have to get on the pace straight away.”
Mitch talks up his chances, “If I can go faster at Whanganui that’s a bonus. We’ve got a bit more experience under the belt this year and it’s a completely different experience as no one rider or practices there.”
The big news is Tony Rees will not be racing on Boxing Day due to a suspected break in his hand from a fall at Manfeild. As such, he won’t be defending his Robert Holden Memorial title on Boxing Day, which leaves the gate wide open for whoever wants their name on the trophy most.
Tony Rees offered his opinion during the week, “I think Scotty Moir, Dan Mettam and Hayden Fitzgerald will go well at Whanganui. Mitch is riding well there but he’s only raced there once, but he’s going well so you never know. The track may be too tight for Lee Johnson?”
Tony said he is definitely not retiring and hopes to make a return at the Burt Munro in February.
Isle of Man resident Connor Cummins has arrived in NZ and is testing Tony Rees’ 2017 Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR at Taupo today, which he may elect to race instead of the Honda he brought halfway around the world. Cummins has placed on the Isle of Man TT podium several times and may be remembered from his televised high speed crash off the road and disappearing over a bank during the 2010 Isle of Man Senior TT.
Regardless of Rees opinion Johnson nor Cummins can’t be discounted as they are professional racers with vast ‘roads’ experience, even if their ‘roads’ circuits are longer tracks. Johnson, of Northern Ireland, crossed the line fourth in race one at Manfeild however was penalised for a jump start, although he proved to have the pace.
Johnson says he came to NZ to compete at Whanganui. “Maybe next year we’ll try to do all three rounds? Whanganui is a street circuit and I am a ‘roads’ racer now so I’m genuinely looking forward to it and everybody has been telling me good things like it has a good crowd and a good atmosphere and the track is tight, twisty and knarly, so it should be good.”
Hayden Fitzgerald, of New Plymouth peddled his fast bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-M1 to a podium position last week and was a close fifth in race two. His work last year on a standard bike in preparation for this summer is already paying dividends.
Sloan Frost puts a lot of preparation into his race effort however he has his work cut out to be in the points hunt. With nothing to lose and now a lot of Cemetery Circuit experience on his Fujistu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSXR1000 the Wellington racer will be at the pointy end on race day. Frost is fourth in the Suzuki Series standings with 73 points and as we’ve seen in the past, anything can happen on the day to put him further up the order.
With 89 points, Moir leads in the 2017 Suzuki Series heading into one of his favourite tracks plus, he is the last person to taste victory other than Tony Rees, back in 2014. Place your bets!
“I’ve got a points lead so that is a confidence boost going into Wanganui,” Moir expands. “I’m not scared of ‘pushing’ it around there and I guess my motocross background helps, plus I started my road racing around the streets.”
If a rider at Whanganui makes a small mistake they’re not awarded a scrum, line-out or throw-in, they get a quick trip into the hay bales. And whoever is hungry enough to make a pass on the rider they need to hold their breath, go off-line and brake a half metre later than their rival – something which is not easy to do at speed, and with the distractions of over ten thousand screaming fans telling them what to do.
And it’s all the more difficult passing a much wider sidecar. In 2015, five-time world champion Tim Reeves stunned the spectators with his incredible lap record pace and you’d not want to miss that sight again on Tuesday. The current British F1 Sidecar champion got just a few laps in last year before a machine issue and on his bucket list is to win at Whanganui with passenger Mark Wilkes, who couldn’t race in 2015 due to injury.
Reeves is revved up, “I love Whanganui, I can’t wait! We’ll be on equal machinery at Whanganui, Barry will be on a short bike with a 600 Suzuki motor and I’ll be on a short bike with a 600 Honda motor. Mark and I have unfinished business there and I really want to get a win for Mark and for me, and on the F2 bike it’ll be super fun. Bring it on!”
There are eight overseas teams and other than Reeves one of the fastest so far has been the Tony Baker/Shelly Smithies UK combination on their Silicone Engineering Baker Suzuki 600, and the Cemetery Circuit may better suit all the riders with the smaller F2 rigs so we may see a very different finishing order on race day. The Australia/Ireland Graeme Evans/Eamon Mulholland duo took a handy fifth at Manfeild on their Rick Hanger Racing ZX-10 F1 machine.
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan have been unbeatable after four races and they are pulling the covers off their smaller F2 Carl Cox Motorsport F2 ‘chair’ especially for Whanganui to protect their points lead.
Smith says, “We rode that bike at Whanganui last year and we didn’t do too badly on it, so we’re hoping to finish as high as we can in the F1 class on the smaller bike.”
But do not forget Adam Unsworth and Bryce Rose who took the fight to Reeves last Sunday. Unsworth and former passenger Stu Dawe won both races last year and currently hold second in the F1 sidecar standings – matter not they are on a three decade of sidecar!
There’s more interest in the F2 category with that class lead by Shane Richardson who is a handy 19 points ahead of Rogan Chandler, with Avalon Biddle in third. He won’t need reminding but Richardson lost his points lead and with it the F2 championship the last two years running after crashing out of contention at Whanganui.
Paeroa rider Blake Ross leads the Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup with 83 points to Clark Fountain who is seven points adrift, but won’t be racing on Boxing Day. Tarbon Walker, of Whanganui, has shown patches of brilliance and so has Thomas Newton from Pukekohe, amongst others. Jesse Stroud will also not be racing at Whanganui.
2017 Suzuki Series schedule
Rnd 3: Whanganui Cemetery Circuit, Tuesday December 26
Suzuki F1 Superbike series points: Scott Moir, 89; Daniel Mettam & Mitch Rees, 82 = ; Sloan Frost; 73; Hayden Fitzgerald, 66.
Pirelli Formula 2 series points: Shane Richardson, 98; Rogan Chandler, 79; Avalon Biddle, 70; Toby Summers, 67; Ashton Hughes, 59.
Collegiate Quality Inn F1 Sidecars series points; Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan, 102; Adam Unsworth/Bryce Rose, 81; Chris & Ritchie Lawrance, 68; Pete Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop, 67.5; Graeme Evans/Eamon Mulholland (Australia/Ireland), 61.5.Collegiate Quality Inn F2 Sidecar series points; Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (UK), 77; Tony Baker/Shelly Smithies (UK), 65; Corey Winter/ Kieran Whitham, 49.5; Gordie McKeown/Geoff Davies, 44; Eckart Rosinger/Darren Prentice (Germany/NZ), 39.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup series points: Blake Ross, 83; Clark Fountain, 76; Tarbon Walker, 70; Michael Wilson, 53; Thomas Newton & Harry Parker 52 =.
Words & photos by Terry Stevenson
Mettam and Frost feel heat at Manfeild
Suzuki riders Daniel Mettam and Sloan Frost shared the feature race wins in sun drenched conditions during the second round of the 2017 Suzuki Series at Manfeild on Sunday.
Aucklander Mettam didn’t have race one all his own way in the F1 Superbike class however as Taupo’s Scott Moir rocketed off the line on his CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000 and let the fast-track pack until the final turn of the opening lap where he almost crashed. Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR-mounted Mitch Rees, of Whakatane, took over the lead on lap two with fast starting Northern Ireland rider Lee Johnson hot on his heels on a Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 as he quickly came up to speed during his first NZ visit.
Mettam held third at this early stage of the race although he put a nice pass on Johnson with no quarter asked, or given. Frost held fourth when Tony Rees crashed at turn one, where a following rider clipped Tony’s hand as he slid off the track, which may force the 50 year old veteran to miss defending his Robert Holden Memorial title at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
Mettam says, “I managed to take the win in race one after a tight race with Mitch, and in the last race I was chasing Sloan down but the race was cut short two laps so I finished second. I was planning a move but it didn’t happen so that’s racing and I’m happy with the overall win.”
At the same time a fierce battle developed between Mettam and Mitch Rees, and shortly after Frost ran off the track after he missed a gear shift, which effectively put him last as the high speed freight train had 11 riders within a couple of hundred metres of the leaders all race long.
Mitch Rees made a late charge to the line however it was Mettam who took a well earned win by a bike length from Mitch. Third was New Plymouth rider Hayden Fitzgerald (bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-M1) who passed Johnson near the end of the race to snatch the final podium spot, ahead of Moir and Alastair Hoogenboezem (Christchurch) on an M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR.
In what must be one of the closest F1 Superbike finishes ever, the top ten riders finished within 11 seconds of the leader.
Race two was yet another torrid battle between several riders who all wanted victory in front of the large Manfeild crowd. Entertained they were. Frost shot his Sloan Frost Fujistu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSXR1000 into the lead at the start with Mettam, Moir, Fitzgerald and Johnson hot on his heels.
Frost was pushed all the way to the line as Mettam and Moir constantly swapped places behind the Wellington rider. The high-speed Suzuki GSXR1000 freight train went on to take the chequered flag in that order.
In the sizzling heat Mitch Rees struggled to maintain the same traction level as the opening leg and held fourth to race end, with Fitzgerald right behind.
Equal second with Mettam in the series Mitch Rees feels no pressure. “Race one was an awesome race with Dan, right down to the wire so to be on the podium again was awesome. I tried to get a run around the outside and see if I could out-drive him (to the line) but he weighs less than me,” Rees says. “They were going faster in the second race and I didn’t have the grip. It’s only my second season and I’m going faster than ever before, and if we’re at the front fighting for wins, if we’re fifth or twelfth, so long as we are going faster that’s all I want.”
Again, all the riders were on pace and the top nine places crossed the finish line within 11 seconds.
Lee Johnson is on fire on a new bike with new tyres and a totally new track in a different country, “It’s so good to be here, the weather is awesome, the track is good and the people have been unbelievable the way they’ve looked after us. They can’t do enough for you, it reminds me of back home in Northern Ireland so it’s really nice and I’m enjoying it,” Johnson says. “In qualifying we were only 0.2s off pole so I knew then we’d be in the mix for the race but I struggled a little with the brakes, we tried one thing for race one and they weren’t so bad but I couldn’t make a pass safely. We changed the master cylinder and lever for the second race but it was the wrong thing so it wasn’t safe to carry on so we DNFd,”
The last person to win at Whanganui other than Tony Rees is Scott Moir, in 2014.
With 89 points Moir retains his lead in the 2017 Suzuki Series as he heads to one of his favourite tracks, the famous Cemetery Circuit at Whanganui on December 26. Mettam and Mitch Rees are tied on 82 points behind so there will be no rest and everything to play for at the street circuit.
Shane Richardson and Toby Summers shared the F2 600 spoils after two races at blistering pace in blistering temperatures. Summers day started out the hard way after he suffered a high-speed crash at the ‘Sweeper’. Summers walked away but the team had a lot of repair work to do before race one.
Richardson and his Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R was in a class of his own during race one, where second position was contested by 20 year old Rogan Chandler on his Yamaha R6 and Summers, who has repaired his Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R in time, and Avalon Biddle on her MTF Finance ZX-6R. The trio finished in that order.
Race two became a hard fought affair at the front between Summers and Richardson, with Summers coming out on top for his first win in the F2 600 class of the Suzuki Series. Richardson was second with David Hall a fine third after Chandler was relegated down one position after passing another rider under a yellow flag.
Toby Summers says, “I was pushing real hard in qualifying and ran off at the fastest corner on the track, I hit the barrier and bent the bike a bit. I fixed that and had a good battle but I was lucky to stay in third because Avalon was very close. I put a new tyre on the rear for the second race and I put my head down and sat on the back of Shane, it’s the first time I’ve felt comfortable sitting there, he was struggling a little for grip. I managed to put a pass on him with a lap to go and he tried pass me back, I was out of the saddle at the Hairpin but I came out on top, so I’m happy.”
With so many international riders the Sidecar category held a lot of interest for the fans. The fast Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan proved unbeatable in both races at Manfeild on their Carl Cox Motorsport LCR1000. UK-based Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes tried to keep them honest on their much lower powered Honda 600 F2 sidecar using all their skill and talent in an effort to keep Smith in sight each race to cross the line second.
Tim Reeves says, “I got a good start in race one, I knew Barry was going to catch me so it was just a matter of holding on for as long as I could, then he just blasted me down the straight. Barry rode good, him and Tracey are doing a good job.”
There were many great battles down the order but it was Adam Unsworth and Bryce Rose who stole the show on their massively outdated 1988 Windle 1000 sidecar, especially in race two where the pair picked an on-track fight for second against a multi-world champion in Tim Reeves. Reeves won the battle although Unsworth and Rose won the crowd accolades as the Auckland-based rider was spectacularly sliding his Windle through every single corner.
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan have won all four races on their ‘long bike’ and will be swapping it for an smaller F2 ‘chair’ to better tackle the tight Whanganui street circuit on boxing Day.
Smith recounts his day, “It pretty much went to plan, I knew with the F1 bike we had more straight line speed and after qualifying I knew we were a couple of seconds faster than Tim. The plan was to get away at the start and keep the gap constant, I rolled off a little towards the end to look after Tracey because of the heat.”
After two rounds of the F3 class no one has beaten Nathanael Diprose and his Suzuki GSXR450. Jacob Stroud has shown flashes of brilliance such as when the 19 year old Hamiltonian came from behind to catch and pass Jason Easton in the opening leg. A consistent Gavin Veltmeyer leaves the Aucklander second in the points behind Diprose, with Ashley Payne in third. Payne would be higher in the points however the Whanganui rider fell during the opening race, although he came back strong to post a podium in the restarted race two.
The Gixxer 150 cup races kept the crowd entertained as the young and mostly inexperienced racers hammered it out amongst themselves on identical 12.7Kw (17hp) Suzuki GSX150Fs at much slower speeds than any other class. Many riders have come from a motocross background to try their hand on the tarmac although some have done a little road racing before, such as 19 year old Tarbon Walker, of Whanganui.
They might not have the speed but they have the fire and there were battles aplenty between Blake Ross, Thomas Newton, Clark Fountain and Walker, to name a few at or near the front.
Jesse Stroud, 15, suffered a nasty looking crash during qualifying but the 15 year old was seen walking around the pits later in the day. With round one double winner Stroud out of the hunt it was left to Blake Ross to take victory in the first leg from Walker and Newton, then Walker took his first Suzuki Series win in the second leg ahead of Ross, and Scott Hawkes in a very close finish over the line with fourth placed Fountain.
The support classes were dominated by Ritchie Dibben in Supermoto and Glen Skachill in Post Classics as each rider won both races and remain unbeaten in the series. Brendon Coad also won both races of the new Formula Sport/BEARS class.
Early-bird tickets are available at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz and go in the draw to win a Suzuki GSX150 if tickets purchased online. The winner will be drawn prior to Whanganui.
2017 Suzuki Series schedule
Rnd 3: Whanganui Cemetery Circuit, Tuesday December 26
2017 Suzuki Series round 1 results from Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding, Sunday December 17.
Suzuki Formula 1 Superbike, race 1: Daniel Mettam (Auckland, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 1; Mitch Rees, (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR), 2; Hayden Fitzgerald, (New Plymouth, bLU cRU Yamaha R1), 3; Scott Moir (Taupo, CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000), 4; Alastair Hoogenboezem (Christchurch, M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR), 5.
Formula 1 Superbike, race 2: Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 1; Mettam, 2; Moir, 3; Mitch Rees, 4; Fitzgerald, 5.
F1 Superbike series points: Moir, 89; Mettam & Mitch Rees, 82 = ; Frost; 73; Fitzgerald, 66.
Pirelli Formula 2 600, race 1: Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1; Rogan Chandler (Wellington, bLU cRU Yamaha R6), 2; Toby Summers (Auckland, Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R), 3; Avalon Biddle (Christchurch, Kawasaki ZX6R), 4; David Hall (Te Awamutu, Suzuki GSXR600), 5.
Formula 2 600, race 2: Summers, 1; Richardson, 2; Hall, 3; Chandler, 4; Biddle, 5.
Formula 2 series points: Richardson, 98; Chandler, 79; Biddle, 70; Summers, 67; Ashton Hughes (Feilding, Triumph Daytona 675), 59.
Bike Torque Formula 3, race 1: Nathanael Diprose (Auckland, Suzuki GSXR450), 1; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Suzuki GVR645), 2; Jacob Stroud (Hamilton, Kramer HKR690), 3; Jason Easton (Palmerston North, Tigcraft 550), 4; Paul Hammond (Hastings, TZR650), 5.
Formula 3, restarted race 2A: Diprose, 1; Veltmeyer, 2; Payne, 3; Stroud, 4; Hammond, 5.
Formula 3 series points: Diprose, 102; Veltmeyer, 84; Payne, 64; Jacob Stroud, 54; Scott Findlay, Matt Dunlop & Liam Underwood, all 49 points equal.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup, race 1: All riding Suzuki GSX150F motorcycles. Blake Ross (Paeroa), 1; Tarbon Walker (Whanganui) 2; Thomas Newton (Pukekohe), 3; Clark Fountain (Greymouth), 4; Harry Parker (Timaru), 5.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup, race 2: Walker, 1; Ross, 2; Scott Hawkes (Feilding), 3; Fountain, 4; Newton, 5.
Gixxer Series points: Ross, 83; Fountain, 76; Walker, 70; Michael Wilson, 53; Newton & Harry Parker 52 =.
Collegiate Quality Inn F1 Sidecars race 1: Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan (Te Puke/Tauranga, Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F1), 1; Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (UK, Carl Cox Motorsport LCR600 F2), 2; Adam Unsworth/Bryce Rose (Auckland/Palmerston North, Eni Windle F1), 3; Pete Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop (Auckland, F1 GRR), 4; Andy Scrivener/Tina McKeown (Taupo, RSR Suzuki 1000), 5.
F1 Sidecars race 2: Smith/Bryan, 1; Reeves/Wilkes, 2; Unsworth/Rose, 3; Goodwin/Dunlop, 4; Graeme Evans/Eamon Mulholland (Australia/Ireland, Rick Hanger Racing ZX-10), 5.
F1 Sidecar series points; Smith/Bryan, 102; Unsworth/Rose, 81; Chris & Ritchie Lawrance, 68; Goodwin/Dunlop, 67.5; Evans/ Mulholland, 61.5.
F2 Sidecar series points; Reeves/Wilkes, 77; Tony Baker/Shelly Smithies (UK), 65; Corey Winter/ Kieran Whitham (Whanganui), 49.5; Gordie McKeown/Geoff Davies (Tauranga, 44; Eckart Rosinger/Darren Prentice (Germany/NZ), 39.
Words & photos by Terry Stevenson
Note to editors; spelling of bLU cRU Yamaha R1 is correct.
The Jesse Stroud-Tarbon Walker Gixxer 150 Cup tussle continues on Sunday. in the Suzuki GIXXER Cup Series
Sizzling Suzuki Series set for Manfeild
The second round of the 2017 Suzuki Series will be staged at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon on Sunday, and if the action during round one at Taupo is anything to go by, don’t miss it.
The large Taupo crowd saw Scott Moir take two heroic wins on two different Suzuki GSXR1000s, they witnessed the Gixxer 150 Cup pushing, shoving, and crashes, and they took in the huge sidecar field with the David and Goliath battles between Barry Smith on his 1000cc F1 rig and multi-world sidecar champion Tim Reeves on a smaller F2 600 chair.
Manfeild on Sunday is shaping up to be even more exciting as riders will have their machines more sorted for even faster lap times during the second round of the Suzuki Series.
The Suzuki Series is NZs richest motorcycle event on the calendar and everyone wants a piece of the action. Moir (CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000) is very fast around Manfeild but so is Sloan Frost (Fujistu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSXR1000) who will want to improve his current third in the standings.
Moir, who leads the series says, “I haven’t had the best time at Manfeild but with the practice I have done on the new bike I’m on good pace, so I should be close to the front.”
Frost says, “There’s a couple of changes I need to make on the bike which will give me more confidence, and we need to make good days of our testing and consolidate what we’ve got.”
Defending Suzuki Series winner and 2017 NZ Superbike champion Tony Rees (Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR) will be out to prove a point after a battery went flat on his bike last Sunday.
Add to that mix Mitch Rees who stunned most of the big-bore riders by taking two second placings on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR plus, the 24 year old almost won the second race if not for a small mistake.
Mitch is keen to pick up more points at Manfeild but has few expectations, “I’ve only been there four times, it’s going to be like last weekend where I didn’t expect to be on the podium and I didn’t expect to be doing the lap times I was doing. We’re on a new bike and we are still getting used to it, I am comfortable and happy, so we’ll see if we can do the same next weekend.”
Northern Ireland professional rider Lee Johnston arrives for his first stint racing in New Zealand, riding a Suzuki NZ GSXR1000. The 28 year has an enviable track record, he has won the North West 200, finished on the Isle of Man TT podium three times and is a former British Superstock 600 champion.
He’ll have a lot of catching up to do in learning a new circuit as he prepares for a tilt at the Robert Holden Memorial at Whanganui on Boxing Day. It has just been announced that Johnston will be riding the 2018 season for the Honda Racing roads team, alongside Ian Hutchinson.
There’s still more flying Kiwis Johnston needs to consider such as Hayden Fitzgerald (bLU cRU Yamaha YZF-M1), Daniel Mettam (Suzuki NZ GSXR1000) and Wil Sport ZX-10R-mounted Connor London.
Mettam, 21, made his mark in F1 Superbike last year at Manfeild by taking a pair of surprise third placings after fighting with the leaders, while Christchurch rider Alastair Hoogenboezem was never far behind him, this year on an M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR.
For all that talent the rider to watch in the big-bike class is Jay Lawrence on his immaculate Carl Cox Motorsport GSXR1000, on his home track.
With the last northern summer racing in the US, Wainuiomata rider Shane Richardson is odds-on favourite to continue his Taupo double winning streak in the Suzuki Series F2 600 class. Manfeild is his home circuit and it will be a very brave person who can ride faster than the Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R-mounted rider.
Although, Aucklander Toby Summers has the pedigree to win when he gets more used to his smaller 600cc Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R, after a couple of seasons on Superbikes. Another home track rider with potential to challenge at the front is Wellingtonian Rogan Chandler (Yamaha R6), while Te Awamutu rider David Hall and Whangaparoa rider Nathan Jane (both Suzuki GSXR600s) were not far behind Summers after some hectic racing at Taupo.
Fresh from another season racing in Europe Avalon Biddle holds third in the title chase on her MTF Finance ZX6R.
Richardson expands, “I’m looking forward to Manfeild as that is my home track but I know I will have good competition there, especially from Rogan Chandler who is going pretty quick so he’ll be one to watch on his new R6, as well as Toby [Summers], Dave [Hall] and Av [Biddle]. Hopefully I can win another two races at Manfeild then another two at the Cemetery Circuit.”
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan lead the Suzuki Series Sidecar class on their more powerful Carl Cox Motorsport LCR F1 sidecar, and must be favourites at Manfeild.
Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes will have their faster Honda 600 powerplant fitted in time for Manfeild after using a stock engine last Sunday, but will it be enough to challenge for the win on their lower powered Carl Cox Motorsport LCR F2 outfit?
Five-time world champion Reeves isn’t so sure, “It’s still not going to get anywhere near Barry’s bike, that is fast!” Reeves says, “That is the bike I rode all year in the British championship, it has 20 wins and a190hp at the rear wheel, compared to my little thing which has 135hp. I really enjoyed it, that bike is really good.”
The depth of sidecar talent is astounding. Spike Taylor and Astrid Hartnell scored podium positions at Taupo on their smart looking Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000 rig, and Manfeild is their home track. Chris and Ritchie Lawrance were unlucky to get a puncture in race one at Taupo on their new Colemans Suzuki LCR1000, however the pair came back strong in race two for third position, and don’t be surprised if you see them higher up the leader board come Sunday.
Adam Unsworth and fresh passenger Bryce Rose rode their 1988 Eni Windle F1 so well at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park that they too, must be in the mix near the front.
With more time to get acclimatised we’re likely to see the other seven internationals perform further up the field. One rider who surprised last Sunday was 72 year old Tony Baker, with Shelly Smithies (UK), while German Eckart Rosinger and Steffen Werner may find the more flowing Manfeild circuit to their liking.
Aucklanders Peter Goodwin and Kendal Dunlop were also getting into their stride by Taupo’s final sidecar race, and they have the capability and the rig to fight for the podium. Keep a lookout also for former NZ champion Andy Scrivener and Tina McKeown, of Taupo, who have won many times at the Feilding circuit.
Despite their lack of speed down the straights the Gixxer 150 Cup races provided most of the entertainment as the 14 to 21 year old riders duked it out on the track with no-holds barred antics. The diminutive Jesse Stroud, 15, secured both wins at Taupo last Sunday and has raced at Manfeild before. Tarbon Walker kept the Hamiltonian honest and will likely be alongside Stroud on any given corner - or all of them. But there is plenty of scope for other riders on the identical Gixxer 150 bikes to show their mettle at Manfeild on Sunday.
Early-bird tickets are available at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz and go in the draw to win a Suzuki Gixxer 150 if tickets purchased online. The winner will be drawn prior to Whanganui.
2017 Suzuki Series schedule
Rnd 2: Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding, Sunday December 17
Rnd 3: Whanganui Cemetery Circuit, Tuesday December 26
Words & photos by Terry Stevenson
2017 Suzuki Series - OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Moir takes two at Taupo
New Zealand’s richest motorcycle series got underway at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on Sunday where local rider Scott Moir won both F1 Superbike races on two different Suzuki GSXR1000s.
Large crowds flocked to Taupo for what turned out to be a sizzling opening round of the 2017 Suzuki Series where few things went to plan for the top riders, with many still adjusting to their new machines.
Starting from Pole position Moir shot into the front on his CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000 however rising star Mitch Rees quickly snatched his first race lead at premier level. His lead didn’t last long as the Whakatane-based Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR mounted racer almost fell several corners later which allowed Moir into the front, and held to the finish.
It was all high-speed action behind him though as defending Suzuki Series champion Tony Rees, 50, passed Mitch Rees early in the race and carried on to take second place ahead of his 24 year old son, with Sloan Frost a threatening fourth.
Frost’s Suzuki NZ team rebuilt his number one Fujistu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSXR1000 overnight after Frost had a fast tumble during Saturday practice. Fourth place was the best the Wellington-based racer could do as Frost said he didn’t have the pace to make a pass.
Race two began with a huge crash at turn one involving several riders, with four falling including front-runners Moir, Rees and Christchurch rider Alastair Hoogenboezem on an M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR. Fortunately no one suffered injury and the restart got underway shortly after with Rees on his spare bike and Moir on Sloan Frost’s spare GSXR1000.
Despite the odds and some bruising Tony Rees rocketed into the lead until an under-charged battery failed, allowing Mitch Rees to lead the flying pack. Moir held second by the third lap but had some catching up to do as he became used to someone else’s Suzuki – which had a normal ‘road shift’ gear change pattern to get used to instead of his favoured ‘race pattern’. Not an easy task to deal with and the consequences of changing gear the wrong way are massive - especially when you’re topping 300kmh plus down the back straight!
As the race progressed Moir caught then past Mitch Rees on the last lap when Mitch ran wide at turn one, gifting Moir a well deserved second F1 Superbike win for the day.
Moir says, “I was lucky to get where I got in the last race, I didn’t expect that win. Thanks to Sloan [Frost] for giving me his spare bike to use, it shows you how good the new GSXRs are! I’m over the moon really, that last race was one of the best wins of my career, on a bike I had never ridden - to win. And I did good times, I went faster in the second race [on the borrowed bike] than I did in the first race!”
With Frost starting slow as he worked to understand some bike issues he kept his cool and crept up to fourth when the chequered flag came out. But the attention was on the battle for third place which was more often than not lead by New Plymouth’s Hayden Fitzgerald (Yamaha YZF-M1) who was scrapping with Daniel Mettam, Hoogenboezem and a lively Connor London on a Wil Sport ZX-10R. Not necessarily in that order.
That battle was won by Mettam who neatly slotted his 2017 Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 into third on the last lap. Defending Suzuki Series champion Tony Rees dropped out of contention and eventually retired near race end.
Shane Richardson of Wainuiomata easily won both F2 600 races on his Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R. The 23 year old took the holeshot in each heat and was never challenged in either race and takes a handsome points lead heading to Manfeild on Sunday.
Richardson spent several months this year racing in the US with some success, “It was good to get back on my own bike and get back into the flow of our little NZ tracks.” Richardson said. “I was confident and knew I could run a good pace here, but we are just taking it race by race and round by round.”
2014 F2 600 winner Toby Summers (Auckland) was sent off the track while holding third position behind Rogan Chandler (Yamaha R6) during the opening race after David Hall crashed and then tapped the rear of Summers Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R at turn one. Chandler, of Wellington, placed second with Nathan Jane filling the podium.
Summers came back strong for race two and crossed the line second, ahead of Suzuki GSXR600-mounted Hall. Richardson leads the F2 600 Suzuki Series by 13 points from Chandler, with international racer Avalon Biddle third.
It has been a very long time when 28 sidecars were seen on one grid in NZ, with no less than eight of those internationals.
The pressure was on UK-based multi-sidecar world champion Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes as they had to swap their more powerful but problematic Isle of Man TT engine on race day for a stock standard Suzuki GSXR600 powerplant, losing 35hp in the process, and a chance to keep the faster 1000cc powered rigs behind him.
Which turned out to be the case as Reeves shot into the lead each time followed by Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan who took a while to begin reeling Reeves in and take full advantage of his stronger Carl Cox Motorsport LCR sidecar down the long back straight. Which propelled him into the lead mid-race all three stanzas.
The best Reeves and Wilkes could do was watch from behind, although they plan to have their TT engine repaired for Manfeild on Sunday.
Race one was red flagged and restarted with both legs earning half points. Current NZ champions Spike Taylor and Astrid Hartnell rode extremely well to complete the podium in both part-legs on their Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000. The Adam Unsworth/Bryce Rose combination were a fine fourth in leg one on their aging 1988 Eni Windle F1, while the Lawrance brothers Chris and Ritchie were fourth on their Colemans Suzuki LCR1000 sidecar in race one, part two.
72 year old UK-based sidecar builder and racer Tony Baker was the next international home in fifth in leg one, while German Eckart Rosinger and Steffen Werner were sixth in leg two.
Race two was a relatively straightforward affair as Chris and Ritchie Lawrance were third on their improving machine after suffering a race one puncture, and Peter Goodwin and Kendal Dunlop brought their rig home in fourth. Baker and Smithies were sixth, behind Unsworth and new passenger Rose.
With two wins from two races Smith and Bryan lead the Suzuki Series Sidecar category and head to Manfeild as clear favourites on a circuit more suited to the larger and more powerful F1 sidecars.
Smith said, “It pretty much went to plan, as with Tim being on a 600 we knew he was going to be quicker through the infield, so we just made sure we didn’t get too much of a gap so we could close him down on the straight. We knew we had the speed on the straight so that’s where we passed him each time, which made it a little easier.”
Fans may wonder why the recent influx of 600cc F2 sidecars and while they have been raced at the Isle of Man TT for some years now, this year the world sidecar championship changed to F2 rules.
Five-time world champion Tim Reeves said after the race, “Baz rode really good today. My main engine blew a head gasket so I put my spare in this morning, it’s bog standard and out of a road bike that’s done about 15,000 miles. We made it to the grid just in time. For the first three and a half laps when I was in front I felt I was riding really good, I was inch perfect everywhere, so I was putting in consistent laps and I could see Baz getting nearer down the back straight – if the track didn’t have that big long straight I’d have been alright I think. I’m really happy as Carl [Cox] has given us a fantastic bike, we’ve already discussed next years TT and this is preparation for it.”
Nathanael Diprose earned respect in the F3 category with some silky smooth riding to take victory in both races on his Suzuki GSXR450. Ashley Payne and Gavin Veltmeyer were second and third on each occasion. Hamilton’s Jacob Stroud, 19, brought some interest to the class on a Mike Pero Real Estate Kramer HKR650, however he crashed out of his first race but came back to cross the line fifth in race two, behind a fast improving Jason Easton.
15 year old Jessie Stroud owned both Gixxer 150 Cup races but not without a tough fight with Tarbon Walker in each leg. The action was happening thick and fast as each rider wanted their name in the spotlight for the first race of this Suzuki inspired development class.
The pressure got to Walker when he crashed in the opening leg although the youngster came back to cross the line second in the race two, after some more pushing and shoving with Stroud, ahead of Feilding rider Scott Hawkes. Clark Fountain and Blake Ross made up the race one podium.
While the machines only have 12.7Kw (17hp), this new class proved to be one of the highlights of the day due to the closeness of the racing. Riders must be between 14 and 21 years old and for $5,995 riders receive a new Suzuki GSX150F along with a Bell helmet and Alpinestars race gear.
In other support classes Ritchie Dibben went home with two solid Supermoto wins, as did Glen Skachill (Wellington) in Post Classics, and Dwayne Bishop (Whanganui) on his fast Aprilia RSV4 RR in the new Formula Sport/BEARS senior category.
Early-bird tickets are available at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz and go in the draw to win a Suzuki Gixxer 150 if tickets purchased online. The winner will be drawn prior to Whanganui.
2017 Suzuki Series schedule
Rnd 2: Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding, Sunday December 17
Rnd 3: Whanganui Cemetery Circuit, Tuesday December 26
2017 Suzuki Series round 1 results from Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo, Sunday December 10.
Suzuki Formula 1 Superbike, race 1: Scott Moir (Taupo, CD van der Meer Builders GSXR1000), 1; Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR), 2; Mitch Rees, Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR), 3; Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 4; Alastair Hoogenboezem (Christchurch, M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR), 5.
Formula 1 Superbike, race 2: Moir, 1; Mitch Rees, 2; Mettam, 3; Frost, 4; Hayden Fitzgerald, (New Plymouth, bLU cRU Yamaha R1), 5.
F1 Superbike series points: Moir, 51; Mitch Rees, 42; Frost; 36; Mettam, 35; Fitzgerald, 30.
Pirelli Formula 2 600, race 1: Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1; Rogan Chandler (Wellington, Yamaha R6), 2; Nathan Jane (Whangaparoa, Suzuki GSXR600), 3; Avalon Biddle (Christchurch, Kawasaki ZX6R), 4; Ashton Hughes (Feilding, Triumph Daytona 675), 5.
Formula 2 600, race 2: Richardson, 1; Summers, 2; David Hall (Te Awamutu, Suzuki GSXR600), 3; Biddle, 4; Chandler, 5.
Formula 2 series points: Richardson, 51; Chandler, 38; Biddle, 36; Jane, 35; Hughes, 30.
Bike Torque Formula 3, race 1: Nathanael Diprose (Auckland, Suzuki GSXR450), 1; Ashley Payne (Whanganui, GSXR450), 2; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Suzuki GVR645), 3; Jordan Burley, (Hamilton, Suzuki SV650), 4; Scott Findlay (Auckland, Kawasaki ZXR400), 5.
Formula 3, race 2: Diprose, 1; Payne, 2; Veltmeyer, 3; Jason Easton (Palmerston North, Tigcraft 550), 4; Jacob Stroud (Hamilton, Kramer HKR690), 5.
Formula 3 series points: Diprose, 51; Payne, 44; Veltmeyer, 40; Findlay & Liam Underwood (Auckland, SV650), 28 equal.
Collegiate Quality Inn F1 Sidecars race 1A: Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan (Te Puke/Tauranga, Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F1), 1; Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (UK, Carl Cox Motorsport LCR600 F2), 2; Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell (Masterton, Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000), 3; Adam Unsworth/Bryce Rose (Auckland/Palmerston North, Eni Windle F1), 4; Tony Baker/Shelly Smithies (UK, Baker Suzuki 600 F2), 5.
F1 Sidecars race 1B: Smith/Bryan, 1; Reeves/Wilkes, 2; Taylor/ Hartnell, 3; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance (Warkworth, Shorai LCR 1000 F1), 4; Unsworth/Rose, 5.
F1 Sidecars race 2: Smith/Bryan, 1; Reeves/Wilkes, 2; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance, 3; Pete Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop (Auckland, F1 GRR), 4; Unsworth/Rose, 5.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup, race 1: All riding Suzuki Gixxer 150 motorcycles. Jesse Stroud, (Hamilton), 1; Clark Fountain, 2; Blake Ross (Paeroa), 3; Cameron Goldfinch (Whanganui), 4; Matt Brough (Paraparaumu), 5.
Suzuki Gixxer 150 Cup, race 2: Jesse Stroud, 1; Tarbon Walker 2; Scott Hawkes (Feilding), 3; Fountain, 4; Thomas Newton (Pukekohe, 5.
Gixxer Series points: Jesse Stroud, 50; Fountain, 40; Ross, 35; Zak Fuller (Taupiri), 25; Ollie Dennison (Whanganui), 24.
Words & photos by Terry Stevenson
Press, Terry Stevenson 027 222-5656, Email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Auckland Motorcycle Club
9 December, 2017.
AMCC supporting 4 Member Riders in NZSBK ambitions:
Formed in 1926 – Auckland Motorcycle Club has in excess of 90 years of history in support of the activity of motorcycling; and most significantly in the area of motorcycle road-race.
Alongside the Club’s annual Summer Club Series, and complementary Miniature Road-Race (Bucket) Series, AMCC additionally provide various support across a wide range of events.
From Playday-On-Track with the Motul 6-Hour, to the Suzuki Series; to the Paeroa Promotion Trust with the annual Paeroa Street Races, and on to the NZSBK, where AMCC traditionally host the northern Round of the National Road-Race Championships – AMCC and its members are present in a number of capacities, contributing to the success of these iconic events.
Less well known however, is that the Club supports member riders who have National and International aspirations, via a sponsorship programme that assists racers to compete at the highest level.
Two-time European Women’s Champion Avalon Biddle, World SuperSport and EJC competitor Connor London, and Italian National Trophy 1000 competitor Dillon Telford have all received sponsorship from AMCC to assist their international campaigns. This alongside a number of NZSBK competitors over the past few seasons.
For the 2018 NZSBK, four AMCC members will receive sponsorship from within the Club, in support of their upcoming National season.
Daniel Mettam (Superbike), Nathanael Diprose (SuperLite), Matt Reichenbach (125ccGP) and Gavin Veltmeyer (SuperLite) each applied and met the criteria – and each will be well amongst the action when the NZSBK commences at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch on 6th January.
All four are AMCC Club Series regulars, and have pervious National experience.
Indeed, Mettam is a previous 600 SuperSport National Champion; but for 2018 is in his second season in Superbike - and as part of a 3-bike Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki Team supported by Suzuki New Zealand, and teamed with Sloan Frost and Scott Moir, Mettam is a real chance in Superbike.
To be held over 4 Rounds for 2018, the NZSBK winds up at Taupo in mid-March; but not before AMCC host Round 3 at Hampton Downs on the weekend of 3/4 March.
SUZUKI SERIES' POPULARITY CONTINUES TO GROW
CAPTION: Glen Eden's Daniel Mettam (Suzuki GSX-R1000A), one of the favourites to win the Suzuki Series this year. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
NOVEMBER 14, 2017: It promises to be bigger and better than before and that's a tough pledge to keep.
Whanganui's Allan 'Flea' Willacy is overjoyed with the huge overseas interest being shown ahead of this season's annual Suzuki Series motorcycle road-race competition and he believes the 2017 edition, set to kick off in Taupo on December 10, could be the biggest yet.
Each year Willacy organises for the public streets of Whanganui to be closed off for a drama-filled 24-hour Christmas-time period as he and his workers run the renowned Cemetery Circuit event, one of the very few motorcycle street race meetings in the world.
This year he has been absolutely swamped with entrants, many more of them from overseas that ever before, and he really will be stretching the boundaries to fit them all in.
The Cemetery Circuit event on December 26 will again be the third and final round of the popular annual Suzuki Series, which kicks off at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park near Taupo on December 10, then takes riders to Manfeild, on the outskirts of Feilding, for round two on December 17, before its traditional Boxing Day finale on Whanganui's streets.
The Boxing Day event always draws crowds in their thousands and invariably turns on a spectacle worthy of all the attention.
Last year's Suzuki Series winner was Whakatane's Tony Rees, although he will again face a stern challenge from arch rival Sloan Frost, of Wellington, and others such as Taupo's Scotty Moir and Glen Eden's Daniel Mettam.
Frost won the 2015 Suzuki Series ahead of Rees, with Liechtenstein rider Horst Saiger, the early leader in the series, slipping down to eventually settle for third overall.
The year before that, in December 2014, it was a classic down-to-the-wire battle between Saiger and Moir. In the end, Saiger won the series by just three points from the hard-charging Moir.
This year it's again anybody's guess as to who will dominate the series or, perhaps even more importantly, who will win the Boxing Day finale and its signature Robert Holden feature race.
In addition to former series winners Rees, Frost and Saiger, former series runners-up Moir and Mettam, along with Manukau's Toby Summers and New Plymouth's Hayden Fitzgerald, are also sure to be contenders, not to mention all the other nationally-ranked Kiwis, while British world champion sidecar pairing Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes, will obviously again add international sparkle to the sidecar class.
Also in the starting line-up this time around will be Irish former Isle of Man race winner Lee Johnston and Isle of Man native Connor Cummins, also a winner at the Isle of Man and the British Superbike Championships as well.
"The series' growing popularity has created a bit of a headache for me again this year," said Willacy.
"The sidecar class numbers have gone ballistic this year, with three teams entered from Australia and seven from Europe.
"It's a tough position to be in, with this year's entry list the largest we've had in the nine years since the competition began (in 2008). The popularity is global, particularly for the Cemetery Circuit final round, and I guess that means we've been doing something right.
"We make it very easy for people to enter and race and the spectators love being so close to the action too."
Willacy said members of the public could save money by purchasing "early bird tickets" through Ticketek and then they'll also go in the draw to win a Suzuki GIXXER150 bike in MotoGP colours.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan
Peter Bloore, owner of the 1950 “Works” Norton and a pair of Goodwood spec Manx Norton’s, which we have built in NZ, couldn’t resist Jerry Summerfield’s offer of a kitset 1970 spec Petty 350cc Manx Norton.
Earlier in the year a box arrived at McIntosh Racing in NZ, with a Ray Petty replica frame kit and Summerfield “81 Bore” ultra-short stroke Manx motor.
The Technical Rules for the Isle of Man Classic TT allows 4-stroke bikes made up to 1972, to run in the GP1 Classes and this includes using the later style Seeley chassis and period disc brakes. The Ray Petty designed frame is from the same early 1970’s period and is an up-dated Featherbed but most importantly uses period AP Lockeed disc brakes and the bike is a lot lighter than a standard spec Manx.
A lot of work was done at McIntosh Racing by Pete Welch and myself, to turn a bunch of parts into a (hopefully) competitive racing motorcycle. Almost 100 dyno runs on Bret Robert’s dyno were completed before a nice, smooth, power band was achieved.
The bike will now run from 1000 rpm to 9000 rpm without any hesitation. Some people might think that is impossible with an original Amal GP Carb bored out to 40mm and an original Lucas 2MTT racing magneto!
Changes to exhaust, inlet, compression ratio, ignition and jetting all produced as many questions as answers, and our experience with 500cc Manx Norton’s was a little help but didn’t provide any of the settings!
Twice Isle of Man winner Cameron Donald has ridden my 92mm bore Manx Norton at three meetings in Australia and New Zealand and had overall victories in them all, as well as having ridden Fred Walmsley’s 350cc AJS 7R to an Isle of Man podium a couple of years ago.
He was an obvious choice and I always wanted to give Cameron an “Isle of Man” ride on one of our classic bikes as a “thank you” for persuading Bruce Anstey to ride my Manx and win the 500cc GP1 Class “Hailwood Trophy” in 2014. I am sure without Cam talking Bruce into it, it would never have happened!
After all the dyno work, a road test was needed, and with very little persuasion I had the most experienced Manx Norton test rider in the world. 4 x World Champion Hugh Anderson continued our long association and having ridden Manx Norton’s since 1960 and now only in his early eighties he was certainly up to the job. He reported that the “bike was showing IoM potential”.
Ken McIntosh and Hugh Anderson testing the 350cc Petty Manx before shipping to the Isle of Man Classic TT
With the bike going almost straight from the work bench to the toughest race in the world it will be a real test of our skills. I have to say that our little team has all had the same focus; to eliminate problems before they show up and the effort from everybody involved has been 100%.
Bruce Verdon from TT Industries in Nelson, NZ has produced the 6 speed gearbox, and Steve Roberts has made the polished alloy petrol tank which should be large enough for a non-stop 4 laps of the 37-3/4 mile circuit.
The bike was sent to the UK last week by our good friends at Air Transport World Freight Ltd who have done such a great job of freighting our bikes around the world for the last 10 years.
Our “unfinished business” is the 2015 Goodwood bike which was ridden by Kevin Schwantz and Rodney O’Connor and is also owned by Peter Bloore.
The bike was tested in New Zealand, but as previously reported in an earlier post, it did the unmentionable and dropped an exhaust seat out of the head in the early laps of the Saturday race. It did a lot of damage, but I must report that Summerfield’s were excellent to deal with (as always) and went out of their way to rectify the damage. Between me and my customers we have had almost 30 Summerfield engines and this is the only one to have had a serious problem.
Peter Bloore, James Bloore and Don O’Connor at Goodwood 2015, before the motor stopped!
Later, when Pete Welch was refitting the exhaust pipe back in NZ he was surprised the find the rather mangled valve seat fell out of the pipe! How it stayed in there, who knows?
Because the Goodwood classes alternate each year between pre-1953 and pre-1967 the bike was not used last year. It came back to NZ for Cameron to ride in the NZCMRR Classic Motorcycle Festival at Pukekohe, in February this year. This proved successful with Cameron winning both the 500cc Trophies and setting the fastest lap of all the 500’s. All with an 86 bore engine on Avgas and 19 inch wheels!
With Kevin Schwantz’s retirement from racing we missed the chance of having the “dream team” of Kevin and Cameron together at Goodwood and then Cameron had to make the hard call to return to Australia after the Classic TT to work on his nearly completed new house. After fire destroyed the original family homestead a few years ago it has been full-on for Cameron to get the house finished so Kaz, Lola and dad Ken can finally move in.
Cameron reported the bike was going really well so we are hoping for a good result after getting Second place last year, with pole position, fastest lap and fastest speed trap on the 1951 Long-stroke Manx.
After a few false starts we have a really top rider on board for Goodwood Revival 2017, Dean Stimpson, just last week crowned winner of the premier UK Classic Championship, “The Lansdowne Cup”. The second rider is still to be announced with a long list of possible riders who for various reasons have not been able to attend.
But first, Debbie, Peter Bloore, his son James and I are off to my fourth visit to the Isle of Man Classic TT.
Is it the Mike Webb from New Zealand??
I saw on an FIM Media Release about Moto3 technical information applications, see the FIM & World Championship page, the FIM Technical Director is Mike Webb, so sent him a note to ask. Here is the answer
Certainly is the same one!
It's good to hear from you again, and to know you are still in touch with the FIM information.
I've been MotoGP Technical Director for 10 years now, I took over from Jack Findlay when he retired.
Prior to that I worked as crew chief for the factory Yamaha team, first when it was run by Wayne Rainey then later when Yamaha Japan took it over again.
And before that for a privateer Yamaha 500cc team run by a near neighbour of yours Peter Clifford, so it's been 20 years or more since I was in the motorcycle industry in NZ... wow 20 years!
Next year I take over from our retiring Race Director in MotoGP.
I had a quick look at the website, very interesting. Particularly the upcoming Mini MotoGP where the school kids race the bikes they built themselves, I didn't k now that existed in NZ.
We hope to hear more from Mike as soon as he returns to his base in Andorra, where he can give us a then & now update.
Now go to "Stop Press" >> & click on "A Kiwi at the top of MotoGP" for much more.
Oh & by the way he knows about Avalon Biddle competing as a wild card in the 125 Class at Phillip Island next weekend, & hopefully will talk to her.