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Maiden victories elate two Superbike racers

Maiden victories elate two Superbike racers

Two Superbike racers have scored breakthrough victories in Timaru during the second round of the national road-race championships.

Scott Moir from Taupo won Saturday’s opening heat and this morning Christchurch rider James Smith took race two. For both it was their first wins at the top level of New Zealand racing.

However neither could stop another Christchurch rider, Dennis Charlett, from winning the round overall and increasing his lead in the championship.
Smith led into the final lap of the first race but Moir passed him on the back straight.

“I got a good drive out of the previous corner,” Moir said. “He had a go at me at the hairpin but I kept him out.”

That was a high point in a very varied career for the 29-year-old.

“I raced motocross for 15 years and I’ve also raced Supermoto and Formula 3 with a four-stroke single,” he said. He had also had an earlier go at Superbikes on a Honda, with mixed success.

“The Suzuki I’m riding now seems easy to ride; it suits me better. With the Honda I was probably newer to it but now I’ve got more experience.

“At the start of the season I was aiming for top five in the championship but now it’s top three.”

Smith’s frustration at being pipped so late in the race was eased this morning as he won a good race, and gave Honda its first Superbike victory for some years.

“I was behind Nick Cole and Scotty Moir but Scotty fell off and I passed Nick in the esses after the Dipper,” Smith, 34, said.

“I’ve been quietly sneaking under the radar but we’ve had good speed – I was leading one race at Ruapuna [in the first round] when the bike stopped.
“I was 11th on the points but now I’m third so it’s upwards from here,” Smith¸ who is in his fifth season of Superbikes, said.

Charlett had dominated at Ruapuna but this time he was handicapped by qualifying down in ninth and in each race he had to fight his way through the highly competitive field.

In the final race he came right to first on his Suzuki and he now leads Kawasaki’s Nick Cole by 20 points. Cole scored two thirds and a second.
Auckland teenager Jaden Hassan, riding an older Yamaha in his debut Superbike season, impressed by finishing fourth in race two.

In 600cc Supersport reigning champion John Ross of Christchurch increased his championship lead as he scored two wins and a second on his Suzuki. Taupo rider Toby Summers, who has been in hot form this season, won the other heat for Yamaha.

Ashburton rider Baillie Perriton seized the lead in the 250cc Production championship as he won all three races while European Junior Cup winner Jake Lewis of Christchurch posted two seconds and a third, both riding Kawasakis.
The championship resumes in March with a meeting at Taupo and then a double-header at Manfeild.

ends

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