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Lewis All Keyed Up For 2014 Season

Lewis All Keyed Up For 2014 Season

by Andy McGechan | www.BikesportNZ.com
December 24, 2013

Rangiora’s Jake Lewis is counting down the days until he’s again twisting the throttle on his Yamaha R6.

The 18-year-old finished third in the 600cc supersport class at last season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships, but a lot has happened since that series wrapped up in March 2013, certainly enough to rank Lewis among the favourites to win a few races in the national 600cc championships in 2014.

It has been a sparkling past 12 months for the Canterbury teenager.

He headed overseas immediately following his domestic campaign in March and went straight into battle against some of the brightest young stars from all around the world as he tackled the European Junior Cup.

Lewis quickly reaped international glory as he impressed in Spain, Holland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and France – racing at such famous venues as Assen, Monza, Imola, Silverstone, the Nurbergring and Magny Cours – eventually clinching the title at the final round at Jerez, in Spain, in October.

That victory earned him a paid-up ride in the European Superstock 600 Championships for next season and he’ll head straight back to Europe following his brief working holiday at home.

Unfortunately his stay in New Zealand won’t be long enough for him to race a full season of national competition, but it will be exciting nonetheless to see the Kiwi international in action at least at some of the rounds.

“I learned so much from my year in Europe,” said Lewis.

“There is just so much to take in. The European Junior Cup riders share the pit paddock with the World Superbike Championship racers and you learn so much just by watching and listening to them.

“There is an age limit of 21 in the European Superstock 600 Championship, so I still have plenty of time on my side. I really want to progress to a full World Supersport 600 ride or a place on a European Superstock 1000 team.

“I’m trying to follow in the footsteps of (fellow Kiwi internationals from the 1990s) Simon Crafar and Aaron Slight. Simon (Crafar) is often trackside at these European events giving advice and pointers ... he’s brilliant,” said Lewis.

“It has definitely been a dream of mine to race internationally like this, but I never thought it would become a reality so soon.

“I have achieved this after only five years of road-racing. I started riding motocross when I was aged three and then had a break from motorcycling when I was about 12.”

He stepped into the road-race scene “just to give it a go” and tasted almost immediate success.

Lewis won New Zealand 125GP title as a 16-year-old in 2011 and then he secured the 600 superstock crown in 2012, collecting the New Zealand GP titles in both classes along the way.

The four-round 2014 New Zealand Superbike Championships kick off in Christchurch on January 5, with rounds to follow at Levels Raceway, Timaru, on January 12 and Taupo Motorsport Park on March 23, before wrapping up at Manfeild, on the outskirts of Feilding, on March 30, although Lewis will really only play a small part in that competition.

Lewis revealed he will be able to tackle only rounds one and two before Europe beckons him back.

“I have to get back to Europe to begin bike testing,” he explained, although he will be making the most of his stint at home to sharpen and polish his skills.

ENDS

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