Suzuki Series Quick to Hit Full Throttle
Suzuki Series Quick to Hit Full Throttle
DECEMBER 11, 2017: It could be a case of 'out of the frying pan and into the fire' for competitors as the annual Suzuki Tri-Series moves quickly from round one to round two in the space of just seven days.
The 2017 edition of the popular pre-nationals series was immediately snapped to full throttle at the opening round at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsports Park on Sunday and the revs are expected to run right off the meter at round two of the series at Feilding's Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon this coming weekend.
Sunday's racing at Taupo was scorching and the heat is likely to be turned up even more at Manfeild this Sunday ... and it's not going to cool off any time soon with the public streets of Whanganui, and the famous Cemetery Circuit, awaiting riders for the third and final showdown on Boxing Day.
Taupo's Scott Moir revealed himself as the man to beat in the premier Formula One class – the 33-year-old qualifying fastest and then winning both F1 races on Sunday.
He took a start-to-finish win in the first of two eight-lap F1 races on Sunday, leaving father and son Honda pair Tony and Mitchell Rees to scrap among themselves for the runner-up position, with 50-year-old defending Suzuki Series champion Tony Rees eventually claiming the No.2 spot, finishing 2.1 seconds behind Moir, while Mitchell Rees settled for third and Wellington's Sloan Frost (Suzuki) and Christchurch's Alastair Hoogenboezem (BMW) rounded out the top five.
This sent a loud a warning signal to Moir's rivals that he and his new Suzuki GSX-R1000A will be a potent force this summer.
The second F1 race later that afternoon was a fractured affair, with a massive first-turn pile-up claiming half the field, Moir and Tony Rees included.
After the carnage was cleared, a re-start was ordered and, for that race, both Moir and Tony Rees lined up on back-up machines, Rees on his No.2 bike and Moir grateful to be able to loan Suzuki team-mate Frost's back-up bike.
Mitchell Rees led the way and Moir, even though he was on the borrowed Frost bike, was soon nipping at Rees' rear wheel.
These two cleared out from the rest of the field and young Rees led until halfway through the dramatic final lap, when Moir was finally able to pounce and snatch the advantage, taking the win by a bike length from Mitchell Rees, with Suzuki pair Daniel Mettam (Glen Eden) and Frost and then Yamaha's Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth) rounding out the top five.
Moir's riding was flawless all weekend, but his performance in winning race two was particularly impressive, picking himself up from a scary crash and then throwing his leg over an unfamiliar bike and taking that to victory.
"I was thinking I'd just go out and try to salvage as many points as I could. I didn't believe I could win on a borrowed bike.
"By the end of the race I was doing lap times as fast as the one I'd set to qualify fastest and this bike wasn't even set up for me."
Moir has 51 points, thanks to his back-to-back wins and the bonus point for topping qualification, and leads Mitchell Rees by nine points in the F1 standings, with Frost third, just six points further back.
Meanwhile, in the 600cc Formula Two class, Wainuiomata's Shane Richardson wasted no time in getting his campaign underway.
qualifying fastest in the 600cc Formula Two class on Sunday morning and then running away to two effortless wins in the competition proper that afternoon.
The 22-year-old Wainuiomata joiner leads Upper
Hutt Yamaha man Rogan Chandler by 13 points in the F2
standings, with Orewa's fellow Kawasaki rider Avalon Biddle
third, just two points further back.
However, at the end of the day, it was probably more relief than celebration for Richardson who has had luck abandon him in past years and he will now look to consolidating his advantage at the two rounds that follow.
"I came within four points of winning this class in the series last year (won instead by Whakatane's Damon Rees) and crashed out of the competition while I was leading it at the final round in Whanganui the year before that (with Mettam taking the F2 trophy in 2015), so it's good to get a solid start this time around."
The newly-created GIXXER Cup class, set aside for riders aged between 14 and 21 and all on identical Suzuki GSX150F bikes, got off to a booming start.
Hamilton's Jesse Stroud, the 15-year-old son of nine-time former national superbike champion Andrew Stroud, scored back-to-back wins on Sunday.
He leads the class by 10 points from the "West Coast Warrior", 14-year-old Greymouth rider Clark Fountain, with Paeroa's Blake Ross, Taupiri's Zak Fuller and Whanganui's Ollie Dennison completing the top five.
well as being an integral part of the three-round Suzuki
Series, the GIXXER Cup grade of competition will also be a
feature of the four-round 2018 New Zealand Superbike
Championships, beginning at Mike Pero Motorsport Park,
Christchurch, on January 6-7, with rounds to follow at
Timaru, Hampton Downs and Taupo.
Riders will count six of seven rounds from these two separate competitions, discarding points from their one worst round, to determine the 2017-18 champion in this inaugural GIXXER Cup competition.
Other class leaders after Sunday's Suzuki Series opener are Auckland's Nathanael Diprose (Formula Three); Lower Hutt's Glen Skachill (Post Classics Pre-89, senior); Auckland's Scott Findlay (Post Classics Pre-89, junior); Whanganui's Dwayne Bishop (Bears, senior); Hamilton's Zurrin Wikki (Bears, junior); Tauranga pair Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan (sidecars, F1); Whanganui's Richard Dibben (Super Motard); UK pair Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes (sidecars, F2).
Leading standings after the first
round of three in this year's annual Suzuki
Formula one: 1. Scott Moir (Taupo, Suzuki) 51 points; 2. Mitchell Rees (Whakatane, Honda) 42; 3. Sloan Frost (Wellington, Suzuki) 36.
Formula two: 1. Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Kawasaki) 51; 2. Rogan Chandler (Upper Hutt, Yamaha) 38; 3. Avalon Biddle (Orewa, Kawasaki) 36.
Formula three: 1. Nathanael Diprose (Auckland, Suzuki) 51; 2. Ashley Payne (Whanganui, Suzuki) 44; 3. Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Suzuki) 40.
GIXXER Cup: 1. Jesse Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki) 50; 2. Clark Fountain (Greymouth, Suzuki) 40; 3. Blake Ross (Paeroa, Suzuki) 35.
Post Classics Pre-89 (senior, over-600cc): 1. Glen Skachill (Lower Hutt, Bimota) 51; 2. Matt Eggleton (Rotorua, Yamaha) 44; 3. S.J. Cavell (Napier, Yamaha) 40.
Post Classics Pre-89 (junior, under-600cc): 1. Scott Findlay (Auckland, Kawasaki) 48; 2. Dean Bentley (Lower Hutt, Yamaha) 47; 3. Terry Moran (Wellington, Kawasaki) 40.
Bears (senior): 1. Dwayne Bishop (Whanganui, Aprilia) 51; 2. Steve Bridge (Ngaruawahia, Ducati) 44; 3. Eddie Kattenberg (Te Awanga, Ducati) 40.
Bears (junior): 1. Zurrin Wikki (Hamilton, Triumph) 51; 2. Regan Phibbs (Mount Maunganui, IMD) 44; 3. Glen Eggleton (Rotorua, Ducati) 40.
Super Motard: 1. Richard Dibben (Whanganui, Honda) 51; 2. Duncan Hart (Tauranga, Yamaha) 44; 3. Aden Brown (Whanganui, Suzuki) 36.
Sidecars (F1): 1. Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan (Tauranga, LCR) 51; 2. Chris and Richard Lawrance (Auckland, LCR Suzuki) 37; 3. Adam Unsworth and Bryce Rose (Auckland, Windle Honda) 37.
Sidecars (F2): 1. Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes (UK, LCR Honda) 51; 2. Tony Baker and Shelly Smithies (Penrith, UK, Baker Suzuki) 43; 3. Gregory Lambert and Julie Caniper (UK, GLR Honda) 39.
Full results can be found here: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1485946