I work for Auckland-based travel company Sporting Tours & we have recently put together packages to the Isle of Mann TT 2018 & Australian MotoGP 2017 on Phillip Island.
Isle of Mann TT: http://www.sportingtours.co.nz/motor-racing/isle-of-man-tt-2018/
If you have any further questions, or would like some more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
HONDA'S REES WINS AGAIN ON THE STREETS OF PAEROA
CAPTION: Whakatane's Tony Rees (Honda CBR1000RR), most certainly the "King of Paeroa". Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
FEBRUARY 20, 2017: It was the same old story with Bay of Plenty's Tony Rees at the weekend – he's thoroughly predictable, meticulous and safe – but you could never call this man boring, because he's also ridiculously fast.
On Sunday, the 49-year-old Honda ace added yet another major victory to his curriculum vitae when he won the iconic Paeroa Battle of the Streets event for the umpteenth time, making the 2017 road-racing season a very special one for him, and there is still plenty more racing yet to be done.
The Whakatane man first won the premier title at the Battle of the Streets event at Paeroa more than 20 years ago and then, at age 46, he celebrated his eighth big win there when he clinched the trophy at the 23rd annual running of the popular event in 2014 – the event skipped a beat in 2015 when persistent rain forced the organisers to abandon the day, the first time that had been done in the entire history of the event.
But he won there again last year and now the Honda star has made it win number ten, the most wins by any one rider at the popular annual event.
Rees won took his Honda CBR1000RR to win both the Formula One races on Sunday – each time finishing ahead of Taupo's Scott Moir and Glen Eden's Daniel Mettam – and Rees then backed that up with a start-to-finish win in the 10-lap King of the Streets feature race as well, making it an historic tenth time he's won the event's signature race.
Runner-up in that feature race was Manukau's Toby Summers, crossing the finish line more than 6.5 seconds behind Rees, with Waimauku's Ray Clee finishing third, a further seven seconds behind.
Rees wasn't quite able to break the lap record around Paeroa's fabled hacksaw-shaped circuit, set last year at 44.427 seconds, but that's okay because it was a record he owns anyway. Rees' best time this year was 44.90s (set while winning the second of the two Formula One races), not too far off his own record.
Although the Rees name topped the leader board, that wasn't the only time it featured at the weekend, with Rees' youngest son, Damon (Honda CBR600RR), finishing sixth in the feature race and his eldest son, Mitch (Honda CBR100RR), finishing 11th.
Making his Paeroa debut, the 23-year-old Mitch impressed by finishing fifth overall in the Formula One battles and 21-year-old Damon, in only his second visit to Paeroa, finished overall runner-up in the 600cc formula two class battles.
"I got a terrible start in the first F1 race," Tony Rees said. "But I managed to get past Scotty Moir on about lap four and held on to take the win. It was a lot closer in the second F1 race, with Scotty pushing me all the way.
"In the feature race I got a good start and that was that really. It was a long way back to the second-placed rider and I didn't really know who that was until afterwards."
Meanwhile, Whanganui's Richie Dibben (Honda CRF450) was unstoppable in the super motard races at Paeroa, winning both his outings comfortably and setting a new track record of 47.699 seconds in the process.
Other class winners at Paeroa were Te Awamutu's David Hall (formula two); Whanganui's Ashley Payne (formula three); Auckland's Mark Halls (classics, senior); Neville Bull (classics, junior); Neil Martin (post classics, pre 1982); Auckland's Paul Pavletich (post classics, pre 1989); Whanganui's Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan (sidecars); Whanganui's Jason Rees and Bryce Rose (post classic sidecars).
The riders now look ahead to the second half of the New Zealand Superbike Championships, the four-round series resuming with round three set for the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park circuit, on the outskirts of Taupo, this coming weekend (February 25-26), with the fourth and final round due at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on the weekend of March 4-5.
The first two rounds of this series were completed in the South Island in January and Tony Rees emerged from those early tussles with an 18-point lead over fellow Honda Alastair Hoogenboezem, of Christchurch.
It is worth noting also that, earlier this season, Tony Rees won the Formula One class in the three-round pre-nationals Suzuki Series, with Damon Rees winning the 600cc F2/Supersport class in that same competition.
Is there no stopping the Rees family?
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan
December, 2016 Rees Family Dominate 2016 Suzuki Series
Tony Rees made a clean sweep in front of a massive crowd at Whanganui on Boxing Day where he took Pole and won all three premier races including the Robert Holden Memorial race.
The Whakatane-based Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR rider had to work for his prizemoney in each F1 Superbike race after fast-starting Taupo rider Scott Moir lead the hungry pack of superbike racers on his Penny Homes Suzuki GSXR1000 during the opening laps of all three races.
Riding better than ever, Rees enjoyed three wins from six starts on his way to securing his first Suzuki Series title. The other series race winners were defending champion Sloan Frost, at Taupo, and Horst Saiger who won both heats at Manfeild. But the last time Rees was beaten around the famous Cemetery Circuit was in 2014 when Moir won race two, but there was no way 49 year old Tony Rees was going to let anyone stand in the way in 2016.
Going into Whanganui Sloan Frost was leading the Suzuki Series by nine points however a jump start in the opening race brought a 20 second penalty which dropped the disappointed Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 rider down the finishing order, to ninth.
Team RCM Suzuki GSXR1000 mounted Daniel Mettam, of Auckland, was having the ride of his life when he passed Moir for second on lap three, however Liechtenstein racer Horst Saiger slotted his Kawasaki into second three laps later to make an exciting finishing order of Rees, Saiger, and a close-finishing Mettam, Moir and Toby Summers on his Barnes Jenkins Insurance GSXR1000.
Rees single point for Pole position and 25 points for the race win edged him closer to the title, although the result lifted Saiger into the Suzuki Series lead from Rees heading into the final race.
Once again Moir took the holeshot in race two although it wasn't long before Rees muscled his way to the front and carried on for his second victory of the day - and the Suzuki Series win. Moir held onto the back of Rees throughout the race for second, and Frost won a tough race-long battle for third with Mettam, Summers and Saiger to cross the line in that order.
Northern Irishman Michael Dunlop persevered with ongoing mechanical issues with his Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 throughout the day which meant the 13-time Isle of Man TT winner was unable to show his true potential at the Cemetery Circuit.
Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R mounted Saiger rode his best during the Robert Holden Memorial where he almost matched Rees in pace and made a last lap passing attempt which was aggressively held off by Rees, who later said he really wanted that win, and apologised. The finishing order was Rees, Saiger, Moir, Summers and Hastings Suzuki racer Jamie Maindonald. 23 year old Mitch Rees was eighth in the same race, while Damon Rees, 21, was tenth after running off the track early on.
Tony Rees win in the Robert Holden Memorial was his seventh feature race victory at Whanganui - 26 years after his first win in 1990. Stamping his authority at Whanganui he set a new outright lap record of 49.052 seconds, ending Andrew Stroud's record set in 2006.
Tony Rees says "I didn't get the best start in each race so I had to pass somebody, which made it more exciting. We ran the same Pirelli tyres all day, normally we'd put a new set for qualifying, so we ran the same tyre in qualifying, practice, and all three races. Winning the Robert Holden Memorial means a lot because we were mates. It's a long time ago now but he gave me opportunities and he gave me some really good close racing."
Keeping the family trophy cabinet full, Tony Rees 21 year old son, Damon Rees, won the F2 600 Suzuki Series on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR600RR after finishing a steady third in both races. Wellington riders Shane Richardson (Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R) and Jay Lawrence (Carl Cox Motorsport GSXR600) won a hectic race each, while a fast-riding David Hall crossed the line fourth in each leg on his PJ Racing & Wrecking GSXR600, behind Damon Rees.
To win the title Damon Rees had to finish third in each race although, like his father, the youngest Rees also had to work to capture his first major championship. "I finished third in race one which was all I needed to do, but in the second race I screwed up going into turn one and went off." Rees explains. "I came back from last and I just got into third place on the very last lap! I was pretty wrecked by the end as I had to really bust it, but it was a pretty cool race as I had to work for it."
Richardson finished a fighting second in the championship, ahead of improving 19 year old Wellingtonian Rogan Chandler on his TSS Red Baron Triumph 675, a rider to watch for the future.
In the F3 class, Leigh Tidman from Taumarunui had repaired his good engine and fitted it to his Jilesen Contractors RS450, and looked set to be a worthy challenger to Wellington's Glen Skachill around the tight 1.6080km street circuit. The pair enjoyed some good tussles in both races however Skachill was able to keep his i-Tools Honda NSR300 in front of Tidman during the opening leg.
A three-time Suzuki Series F2 600 winner (2009, 2010 & 2011), Skachill had to accept third behind Tidman during race two, but neither rider would had guessed the pair of them would be trumped by Whanganui local Ashley Payne, who thoroughly deserved his victory. Skachill won the F3 Suzuki Series with 147 points ahead of Tidman's 132 and defending Suzuki Series F3 champion Aucklander Gavin Veltmeyer with 112 points, gained on his GVR645.
The expected title challenge between the John Holden/Robbie Shorter pair and the Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan team for the F1 Sidecar races didn't eventuate, and fans were disappointed after five-time world sidecar champion Tim Reeves sidecar suffered a broken chassis after a few short laps around the gruelling street circuit during first practice. With no replacement parts available in New Zealand there was no possibility to repair the Carl Cox Motorsport F1 'chair' which left UK-based Reeves and passenger Mark Wilkes as the most well-travelled spectators for the day.
The F1 Sidecar stars of the day turned out to be ex Whanganui but now Auckland-based Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawe, who made a welcome Suzuki Series return on their Eni Windle F1 sidecar to win both races after some close shaves with Holden and Shorter. Unsworth and Dawe had a nasty crash during round one practice at Taupo and only made the decision to race, still slightly injured, a few days before Boxing Day.
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan were fourth in both races on their fast Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F2 'chair', which left the way clear for Holden and Shorter to wrap up the F1 Sidecar Suzuki Series by nine points as the UK/NZ pair brought their Barnes Racing LCR Honda 600 F2 home in second position in each leg.
Holden admitted after the race the extra power of a 1000cc F1 sidecar would have been a better bet to win. "My time in NZ has been brilliant, the people and the country are fantastic - that's the job done!" Holden says. "We couldn't have wanted anything better and the support I've had from Robbie Shorter and the team is mega. After we got Pole and with Tim Reeves unfortunately unable to race I was hoping for some wins but we struggled a little bit against that one thousand [Unsworth/Dawe], which had had the legs on me and he was defending quite well on every corner.
"I'd love to come back, it's just about funding as it costs a lot to get over here but we'll have to see what we can do."
The Masterton/Whanganui duo of Spike Taylor and Craig Pedersen rode extraordinarily well on their Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000 rig to finish third on each occasion in one of the biggest sidecar fields for some time.
Glen Skachill brought his Bimota YB8 home first in all six Suzuki Series Post Classic Senior races to win the title by 37 points from Eddie Kattenburg. Veteran Paul Pavletich made a welcome return to the Cemetery Circuit on his Yamaha OW01 750 after two decades away and placed second and fourth in each heat, respectively. Jay Lawrence was fourth and then second on his Carl Cox Motorsport GSX1100 which provided enough points to take third in the title chase.
Australian Dean Oughtred rode his Carl Cox Motorsport GSXR1100 to seventh and sixth positions during his very first street race.
Shane Richardson won both Post Classic Pre ’89 junior races ahead of Dean Bentley on a Yamaha FZR600. Aucklander Scott Findlay won the Junior series on his Kawasaki ZXR400 by two points from Bentley.
Richard Dibben won both Supermoto races on his Tyresheild 450 Supermoto bike by a country mile however the ever consistent Duncan Hart took his Mimico Yamaha YZF450 to the Suzuki Series Supermoto title after gaining a pair of hard fought second places on Boxing Day. Dibben won five of the six series races for second in the championship, ahead of Ben Dowman who rode very well at Whanganui with two third placings.
Sanson rider Mark Perry won the two legs of the BEARS senior category in style on his Aprilia V-twin ahead of Jason Bardell each time, with Ashton Hughes third in race one and Rob Whittall third in the second stanza. Colin MacGregor of Tauranga won the series for his BMW S1000RR team, while Whanganui rider Bardell was second on a similar machine.
Ashton Hughes was first across the line in both BEARS junior races on his Triumph Daytona 675. The Bulls rider won the junior class handsomely from Jaden Galway by 27 points.
Rogan Chandler won the two Classic Solo races on a Norton Commando, while the Bryan Stent/Tracey Bryan duo and the Jason Rees/Bryce Rose combination shared the winners spoils in the Classic Pre '82 sidecar races.
The two $2,995 Suzuki UK110 scooter winners are Cheryl Butters (Early Bird ticket draw), and Craig Williams of Hamilton who was present at the draw.
2016 Suzuki Series results from the Cemetery Circuit at Whanganui, Monday December 26
Suzuki Formula 1 Superbike, race 1: Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR), 1; Horst Saiger (Liechtenstein, Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R), 2; Daniel Mettam (Auckland, Team RCM Suzuki GSXR1000), 3; Scott Moir (Taupo, Penny Homes Suzuki GSXR1000), 4; Toby Summers (Auckland, Barnes Jenkins Insurance GSXR1000), 5.
Formula 1 Superbike, race 2: Rees, 1; Moir, 2; Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 3; Mettam, 4; Summers, 5.
F1 Superbike final series points: Rees, 134; Saiger, 125; Frost, 123; Moir, 107; Mettam, 101.
Frost, 91; Saiger, 88; Rees, 83; Moir, 67; Mettam, 63.
Robert Holden Memorial feature: Tony Rees, 1; Horst Saiger, Scott Moir, 3; Toby Summers, 4; Jamie Maindonald (Hastings, Suzuki GSXR1000), 5.
Pirelli Formula 2, race 1: Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1; Jay Lawrence (Lower Hutt, Carl Cox Motorsport GSXR600), 2; Damon Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR600RR), 3; David Hall (Te Awamutu, PJ Racing & Wrecking GSXR600), 4; Sam Willacy (Whanganui, Pirelli Suzuki GSXR600), 5.
Formula 2, race 2: Lawrence, 1; Richardson, 2; Rees, 3; Hall, 4; Rogan Chandler (Wellington, TSS Red Baron Triumph 675), 5.
Formula 2 final series points: Damon Rees, 141; Richardson, 137; Chandler, 93; Lawrence, 90; Hall, 90.
Bike Torque Formula 3, race 1: Glen Skachill (Wellington, i-Tools Honda NSR300), 1; Leigh Tidman (Taumarunui, Jilesen Contractors RS450), 2; Ashley Payne (Whanganui, GSXR440), 3; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Coleman’s Suzuki GVR645), 4; Richard Markham-Barrett (Nikau Valley, i-Tools KTM800), 5.
Formula 3, race 2; Payne, 1; Tidman, 2; Skachill, 3; Markham-Barrett, 4; Veltmeyer, 5.
Formula 3 final series points: Skachill, 147, Tidman, 132; Veltmeyer, 112; Kattenburg, 95; Augustine, 89.
Collegiate Quality Inn F1 Sidecars race 1: Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe (Auckland, Eni Windle F1), 1; John Holden/Robbie Shorter (UK/NZ, Barnes Racing LCR Honda 600), 2; Spike Taylor/Craig Pedersen (Masterton, Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000), 3; Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan (Te Puke/Tauranga, Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F2), 4; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance (Warkworth, Shorai Anderson R1), 5.
F1 Sidecars race 2: Unsworth/Dawe, 1; Holden/Shorter, 2; Taylor/Pedersen, 3; Smith/Bryan, 4; Corey Winter/Kieran Whitham (Whanganui, Total Span DMR600), 5.
F1 Sidecars final series points: Holden/Shorter, 139; Smith/Bryan, 130; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance, 103; Taylor/Pedersen, 94; Ian Staples/James O'Donnell (Whanganui, Staples 1000), 87.
Edmonds Painting Supermoto race 1: Richard Dibben (Whanganui, Tyresheild 450), 1; Duncan Hart (Tauranga, Mimico Yamaha YZF450), 2; Ben Dowman (Whanganui, Honda CRF450), 3; Jono Hamlin (Cambridge, Dyno Lab RMZ450), 4; Aden Brown (Wanganui, Harvey Round Motors RMZ450), 5.
Supermoto race 2: Dibben, 1; Hart, 2; Dowman, 3; Brown, 4; Hamlin, 5.
Supermoto final series points: Hart 124; Dibben, 115.5; Dowman, 103; Ashton Hughes (Bulls, KTM 450SX-F), 79; Hamlin, 67.
Lyndsay Tait & Associates Post Classic Pre ’89 Senior race 1: Glen Skachill (Wellington, i-Tools Bimota YB8), 1; Paul Pavletich (Auckland, ProRider Yamaha OW01 750), 2; Eddie Kattenberg (Napier, Fast Eddie's Cycles Bimota YB8), 3; Jay Lawrence (Lower Hutt, Carl Cox Motorsport GSX1100), 4; Sean Donnelly (Paraparaumu, Kawasaki Z1000R), 5.
Post Classic Pre ’89 Senior race 2: Skachill, 1; Lawrence, 2; Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Engrich Engineering NSRFT570), 3; Pavletich, 4; Kattenberg, 5.
Post Classic Pre ’89 Senior final series points: Skachill, 153; Kattenberg, 116; Lawrence, 102; Gian Louie (Hastings, Suzuki GSXR1100) & Glen Eggleton (Rotorua, Yamaha FZR1000), 89=.
Lyndsay Tait & Associates Post Classic Junior race 1: Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Engrich Engineering NSRFT570), 1; Dean Bentley (Lower Hutt, Yamaha FZR600), 2; Scott Findlay (Auckland, Kawasaki ZXR400), 3; Tony Sklenars (Whanganui, Honda CBR400RR), 4; Malcolm McDonald (Whanganui, Kawasaki ZX4), 5.
Post Classic Junior race 2: Richardson, 1; Bentley, 2; Sklenars, 3; Findlay, 4; McDonald, 5.
Post Classic Junior final series points: Findlay, 137; Bentley, 135; Sklenars, 106; Steven Clarke (Tauranga, Honda CBR600), 75; Steven Gregg (Masterton, Honda CBR600), 72.
Q-west Boat Builders BEARS senior race 1: Mark Perry (Sanson, Aprilia), 1; Jason Bardell (Whanganui, BMW S1000RR), 2; Colin MacGregor (Tauranga, BMW S1000RR), 3; Ashton Hughes (Bulls, Triumph Daytona 675), 4; Dwayne Bishop (Whanganui, Aprilia RSV4), 5.
BEARS senior race 2: Perry, 1; Bardell, 2; Rob Whittall (Raglan, Aprilia RSV4), 3; Hughes, 4; Jamie Galway (Masterton, Triumph Daytona 675), 5.
BEARS senior final series points: MacGregor, 130; Bardell, 117; Nick Southerwood (Auckland, BMW S1000RR) & Bishop, 103= ; Shaun Manson (Whanganui, BMW HP4S), 94.
Q-west Boat Builders BEARS junior race 1: Ashton Hughes (Bulls, Triumph Daytona 675), 1; Jamie Galway (Masterton, Triumph Daytona 675), 2; Jaden Galway (Masterton, Triumph Daytona 675), 3; Richard Markham-Barrett (Nikau Valley, i-Tools KTM800), 4; Raymond Herdman (Palmerston North, Ducati 749), 5.
BEARS junior race 2: Hughes, 1; Jamie Galway, 2; Jaden Galway, 3; Markham-Barrett, 4; Herdman, 5.
BEARS junior final series points: Hughes, 153; Jaden Galway, 126; Herdman, 104; Paul McLean (Hawera, Triumph Daytona 675), 95; Daniel McGoverin (Wellington, Triumph Daytona 675), 74
Words by Terry Stevenson
Photos by Craig Dawson & Terry Stevenson
Info on the Mike Pero Southern Classic:
The most exotic collection of two-stroke race machinery ever assembled in New Zealand will be rasping their away around the Levels circuit during the Mike Pero Real Estate Southern Classic Festival in December.
Two of the bikes are absolute rarities, never previously seen in New Zealand.
Former Australian GP and superbike star Kevin Magee will be reunited with the 1992 YZR500 factory GP bike he raced in Japan. The machine is now owned by Tom Dermody, of DMR Motorsport, in Brisbane.
Fellow Australian and former champion Steve Trinder is making his debut on his recently bought ex Pat Hennen Suzuki XR23. A 652cc variant of the factory 500cc GP bikes, Trinder's XR23 is one of a rare handful that has survived from the late 1970s.
In addition, the Christchurch-based classic and post classic racing club CAMS (Classic Action Motorcycle Sport)has attracted a host of other star bikes and riders.
CAMS president Dave Reesby is excited about the special guest line-up coming for the Mike Pero Southern Classic weekend on December 2-4.
â€œWe have Kiwi grand prix privateer, Northwest 200 and Battle of the Twins winner Stu Avant returning home from Australia along with his immaculate Suzuki RGB500, which will be ridden by another kiwi legend IOM TT, World TTF1 and Suzuka 8 Hour winning Graeme Crosby.
â€œAs well, Australian-based based Irish rider and Formula Oz champ Paul Byrne will be riding a Tom Dermody McIntosh Suzuki, and Gary Middleton is bringing his ex Team Kawasaki Australia Greg Hansford KR750, plus a Kawasaki H2R for good measure.
â€œThe GP bikes will be kept in tip top shape by legendary Kiwi engineers and ex Kenny Roberts Yamaha factory team gurus Mike Sinclair and MNZ Hall of Fame inductee Paul Treacy.â€
Among other Kiwi legends attending are John Boote, Paul McLachlan and Jock Woodley.
â€œAnd I know there will be some more big names joining them,â€ says Reesby.
In addition to being meeting sponsor, multi New Zealand champion Mike Pero will be joining the â€œPast Mastersâ€ parade laps on a Yamaha TZ250.
â€œI'm really looking forward to this weekend,â€ Pero says. â€œTo get these quality bikes and riders to Timaru is a real coup for CAMS.
â€œThese are the dream bikes from my era of racing. I can't wait to see and hear them.â€
Stu Avant is equally enthused.
â€œCAMS have done us proud. I jumped at the chance to assemble all these bikes and come over.
â€œWe're all keen to make noise parading the bikes then enjoy plenty of laughs and banter at the clubrooms.â€
The three-day race event originally started in 2014 as a one off celebration of CAMS' 25th anniversary.
â€œIt has proven so popular with riders and spectators that it has become a fixture of the South Island race calendar and is the largest classic/post classic meeting in the South Island, Reesby says.
â€œThe meeting is popular with riders for its relaxed, fun feel, heaps of track time and plenty of social activities through the weekend including meet the riders Friday night and a BBQ Saturday night, all at the track clubrooms with some of our special guests speaking after dinner.
â€œBeing the weekend after the Burt Munro Challenge in Invercargill itâ€™s also the perfect excuse for a bike racing holiday.â€
Friday is practice and qualifying with racing all day Saturday and Sunday.
Race classes range from the vintage, classics to all the post classic pre 72, 82, 89 and the new pre 1996 class. Also featuring will be the ever popular classic and post classic sidecars including a couple of new local sidecar teams.
â€œPast Mastersâ€ classic parade class will feature at lunchtime, Parade of champions with all the special guests and special bikes will feature each round of racing and on Sunday a special Grand Prix feature bike race for the 30+ GP machines expected at the event.
A CAMS team will take on the NZCMRR team for a good natured teams challenge Sunday, MZCMRR have won the trophy the past two years so the locals are out for victory.
More info at http://motorcycleclassic.co.nz/
DUNLOP TO HEADLINE 2016 SUZUKI SERIES
CAPTION: Northern Irish professional Michael Dunlop, this year's Isle of Man champion, coming to race in New Zealand this summer. Photo supplied.
JULY 27, 2016: A man who has been described as the "best motorcycle street racer in the world" will be coming to New Zealand for the first time later this year.
The world-renowned Cemetery Circuit races, around the closed-off public streets of Whanganui each Boxing Day, will this year feature the rider who has for a number of years been setting alight the equally-famous Isle of Man race circuit, Northern Irishman Michael Dunlop.
The 27-year-old Dunlop is the latest in a long line of exciting, headline-grabbing athletes who have been drawn to the tricky Cemetery Circuit in recent years, with Britain's Guy Martin, Liechtenstein rider Horst Saiger and British womenâ€™s champion Maria Costello just a few of the other star attractions that Cemetery Circuit organiser Allan 'Flea' Willacy has managed to entice to New Zealand in recent years.
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 4, then takes riders to Manfeild for round two on December 11, before its traditional Boxing Day finale on the public streets of Whanganui.
The highly-respected Dunlop will also race at Manfeild's round two of the Suzuki Series, although it is the Robert Holden Memorial Trophy, given each years to the Cemetery Circuit feature race winner, that he craves most.
Willacy said Australian motards riders and more solos and sidecar racers from the United Kingdom, including World Champion/IOMTT winners, are still yet to be announced.
The Suzuki Series formula one class champion in 2014, Saiger, from the German-speaking principality of Liechtenstein, nestled between Switzerland and Austria, has also indicated that he will return to race again this year.
However, much of the spectator focus this year will likely go on Dunlop, who will choose between racing a Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike or the "more upright street-style" Suzuki GSX-S1000, supplied by Suzuki New Zealand.
From Ballymoney, in Northern Ireland, Dunlop is a part of a legendary motorcycle racing dynasty. He is the brother of fellow world class rider William Dunlop, son of the late and great Robert Dunlop and nephew of the late former world champion Joey Dunlop.
A 13-time winner around the Isle of man, Michael Dunlop is the current solo-machine lap record holder for the mountain course around the Isle of Man, set during the 2016 Senior TT in June, circulating in a hot time of 16 minutes 53.929 seconds at an average speed of 133.962 mph (215.591 km/h).
Dunlop was the first rider in the history of the Isle of Man TT to achieve a lap of the course in under 17 minutes.
Widely regarded as one of the most tenacious competitors in motorcycle racing, Dunlop's aggressive style has endeared himself to fans over the years and his appearance in New Zealand this summer will surely add numbers to his massive fan base.
"The impending arrival of Michael Dunlop for the Suzuki Series is fantastic news," said Willacy. "He is a true superstar of the sport and has been described as the best street road-racer in the world, with a total 22 TT podiums to his credit.
"We are thrilled to be able to report that a rider of this calibre is coming here to race."
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan
|Friday 15th July 2016|
NEW ZEALAND ROAD RACE LEGEND GRAEME CROSBY RETURNS TO THE CLASSIC TT
Isle of Man TT legend Graeme Crosby will return to the island later this year as one of the special guests at the 2016 Classic TT presented by Bennetts.
The New Zealander will be riding his original factory XR69 1000cc Suzuki now owned by Team Classic Suzuki, which took him to so much success in the early 1980s both on the roads and the short circuits.
Croz, as heâ€™s affectionately known, will also be meeting the fans and taking an active part in the Festival of Jurby, which takes place on Sunday August 28th, between the two race days, as well as taking to the Mountain Course again for Mondayâ€™s Classic Racer Magazine Lap of Honour.
Crosby made his debut at the Isle of Man TT Races in 1979 where he made an immediate impact, taking a brilliant fourth on the Moriwaki Kawasaki in the Formula One race. A strong season in the UK saw him snapped up by the works Heron Suzuki for the following two seasons where he enjoyed some of his greatest success.
Riding the iconic XR69 Suzuki, Crosby won both the 1980 and 1981 World Formula One Championships and took the bike to victory in the 1981 Formula One and Classic TT races, the latter seeing him lap just eight tenths of a second outside the outright lap record. He also rode an RG500 Suzuki to victory in the 1980 Senior TT giving him a career total of three TT wins.
Crosbyâ€™s short TT career only lasted three years - from 1979 to 1981 - but in that time he took three wins, a second and a fourth from his seven races. Indeed, had he competed more on the Mountain Course, itâ€™s fair to say he would have won numerous more races as he battled with the likes of Joey Dunlop, Ron Haslam, Mick Grant and Charlie Williams.
In 1982, Crosby joined Marlboro Yamaha, managed by ten-time TT winner Giacomo Agostini, as he concentrated on his GP career and he ended the year in second overall. However, disillusioned by the politics within the sport, he quit at the end of the year at the age of just 27, although he continued to have occasional outings over the next few years including the Transatlantic Trophy and Suzuka 8-Hours.
Although a GP win ultimately eluded him, Crosby had a highly successful career and, in addition to his Isle of Man TT race wins, he had the unique honour of also winning the prestigious Daytona 200 and Imola 200 races as well as the Suzuka 8-Hours. He also gave Heron Suzuki British Championship success in the 500cc and Formula One categories.
Speaking about the Classic TT, Graeme commented:
â€œIâ€™ve only missed one Classic TT since it was introduced and it is one of my favourite events of the year. I really enjoy the Classic racing scene and am actively involved in supporting riders by building classic race bikes. Iâ€™m looking forward to catching up with all the fans on the Isle of Man once more as well as getting a run out on the XR69 with Team Classic Suzuki.â€
Classic TT Grandstand tickets are available for Fridayâ€™s final qualifying session priced at Â£5. All prior qualifying sessions are free for the main Grandstand. There are also race day tickets available for both Classic TT race days on Saturday 27th and Monday 29th as well as VIP and Platinum hospitality tickets. To purchase tickets go to iomtt.com or phone Duke Marketing on (00 44) 1624 640011.
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2016 NZ Superbike Championships - LAP RECORDS TUMBLE AS CHAMPIONS FOUND