Stroud and son hit the racetrack
Media release on behalf of Motorcycling New Zealand 8/12/2011
Stroud and son hit the racetrackNew Zealand Superbike champion Andrew Stroud has a new team-mate when the summer season starts at Hampton Downs on Saturday -- his 13-year-old son Jacob.
While Andrew Stroud takes on the country’s best riders -- plus Australian star Robbie Bugden -- on the 1000cc, 200hp Superbikes in the first round of the $30,000 Suzuki Tri-Series, the dead-keen Jacob has his first serious races on a 150cc bike in a junior class.
Jacob, the eldest of Stroud’s eight children, has always followed his father around the circuits and his knowledge of motorcycle racing is so extensive that for the last couple of seasons he has regularly helped out with race commentaries.
“It’s good for me too, it gives another dimension to traveling around the circuits,” Andrew Stroud says. “It’s also good for our relationship -- it just seems to have brought us closer quite quickly, both being in the same game.”
In his own racing, 43-year-old Hamiltonian expects his stiffest competition to come yet again from Bugden, who is race-sharp after another season in Australia and has twice beaten Stroud to the New Zealand championship. Both are on Suzukis.
Stroud has the same bike as last
season but says off-season work on the suspension has
improved its handling.
“I feel more comfortable on the bike now,” he says. “It’s better than it’s ever been.”
While Stroud and Bugden remain the riders to beat, a new wave of fast-improving younger riders is threatening their supremacy.
Hamilton racer Nick Cole was very impressive in his debut season last summer and now he has a fast new Kawasaki. However he is recovering from breaking a collarbone a month ago.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how long I can hang on but I shouldn’t be too far off, I think,” he says.
Wellington-based Sloan Frost will also benefit from a season’s experience and with a well-developed BMW he is feeling confident.
“I’ve done my training and my preparation and got everything going in the right direction,” he says. “I just need a little bit of luck to go my way now.”
Another to impress on debut last season was fast-starting Christchurch rider James Smith. He is Bugden’s team-mate and now has a faster bike, the Suzuki that Bugden rode last season.
Suzuki racer Craig Shirriffs from Feilding has been a front-runner for a long time, and has now put extra work into his fitness and visibly lost weight.
Honda is fielding two Superbikes, one for the established Hayden Fitzgerald from New Plymouth and one for rising Christchurch rider Ryan Hampton.
Other riders to watch include Taupo rookie Scott Moir, who has been very successful in other classes and has bought a fast Honda from Australia.
The Formula 2 category, mainly for 600cc Supersport production-based bikes, also attracts fierce competition and the pack will probably led by Wellington’s Glen Skachill, who won all six of his races for Suzuki in this series last season.
He can expect to be hounded by reigning NZ Supersport champion Dennis Charlett and runner-up John Ross, both from Christchurch and both on Suzukis. Hamilton rider Jaden Hassan, already at 17 recognised as a rising star, will fly the Yamaha banner and Aucklander Karl Morgan is always within striking distance on his Suzuki.
Other categories include F3 Sportbikes, Post
Classics, BEARS (British, European and American bikes),
Supermoto, Ultra Lites and Sidecars.
The Tri-Series continues at Manfeild on Saturday December 17 and concludes with the big street meeting on Wanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.