Superbike Nationals Wrap up in Taupo
Superbike Nationals Wrap up in Taupo
MARCH 19, 2018: The 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships ended with a hiss and a roar at Taupo on Sunday.
With comfortable points leads, it had seemed that many of the various category leaders would have to do little more than show up at Taupo’s popular Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park at the weekend to collect their trophies.
But, far from being a foregone conclusion at this fourth and final round of the series, the racing was tight, tense and spectacular and, in several cases, nothing was certain until the final lap of the final lap at the two-day event.
In the premier Superbikes class, Wellington’s Sloan Frost held a commanding 47-point lead over his nearest rival, Whakatane’s Mitch Rees, at the start of the weekend, and his “safe and sensible” approach to racing on Saturday and Sunday – qualifying fastest and then finishing fourth, sixth and third in his three Superbike races – was enough to get the job done, allowing Frost to add the 2018 crown to his first superbike title, which he won in 2016.
Rees won the weekend overall, celebrating his first ever Superbike class win in the weekend’s first Superbike race on Saturday, backing that up with a solid third in race two on Sundaymorning and then mounting a thrilling charge through the field to win the final race of the weekend late on Sunday afternoon.
Rees eventually finished the series in runner-up position, a remarkable achievement in only his second season of superbike racing, having shaved the deficit from 47 points to 21 at the weekend, and he vowed to return next season with even more resolve.
Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam eventually claimed the No.3 spot in this class.
“It feels like more of an achievement this year than my other win,” said Frost afterwards.
“There was a lot of pressure coming into this final round. To coming so close last year to winning the title … all those emotions were coming back to me. I was riding really tight this weekend.
“The first person to come up and congratulate me was (injured 2017 champion) Tony Rees and that was really nice. That was really special, showing great sportsmanship.”
Meanwhile, in the 600cc Supersport class, Canterbury’s Jake Lewis built on his 31-point advantage over fellow Christchurch man James Hoogenboezem, to wrap up the title with a race to spare on Sunday.
Lewis finished with a 1-4-1 score-card at the weekend, his girlfriend Avalon Biddle scoring her first 600cc class win when she ran away with the weekend’s second 600cc race.
Biddle had also impressed at the previous round at Hampton Downs and her performance in the second half of the series elevated her to third overall for the final series standings.
In the Supersport 300cc class there was a change at the top with Christchurch’s multi-time former national champion Dennis Charlett edging past early leader Regan Phibbs, of Tauranga, to snatch the title away at Taupo’s final round, while Christchurch’s Andrew McLaughlin also came on strong at the weekend to move up from fourth to claim third overall.
Other title winners were: Hamilton's Jordan Burley (650 Pro Twins); Christchurch's Nick Cain (250cc Production); Huia's Nathanael Diprose (Superlites); Rodney's Blayes Heaven (125GP); Pukekohe's Thomas Newton (GIXXER Cup); and Auckland's Peter Goodwin and Kendal Dunlop (Sidecars).
The 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships were supported by Honda Cars, providing safety/medical vehicles, Pirelli tyres, Corprint, CTAS and MX Timing and the inaugural GIXXER Cup was supported by Suzuki New Zealand.
Final leading standings in the 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships:
Superbike class: 1. Sloan Frost (Wellington) 227; 2. Mitch Rees (Whakatane) 206; 3. Daniel Mettam (Glen Eden) 161.
Supersport 600 class: 1. Jake Lewis (Christchurch) 270; 2. James Hoogenboezem (Christchurch) 218; 3. Avalon Biddle (Christchurch) 173.
Supersport 300 class: 1. Dennis Charlett (Christchurch) 211; 2. Regan Phibbs (Tauranga) 201; 3. Mclaughlin (Christchurch) 142.
650 Pro Twins class: 1. Jordan Burley (Hamilton) 280; 2. Liam Underwood (Auckland) 188; 3. Nick Cain (Christchurch) 188.
250 Production class: 1. Nick Cain (Christchurch) 215; 2. Jackson Cotton (Christchurch) 208; 3. Harry Parker (Timaru) 168.
Superlites class: 1. Nathanael Diprose (Huia) 274; 2. Dennis Charlett (Christchurch) 230; 3. Chris Huddlestone (Christchurch) 137.
125 GP class: 1. Blayes Heaven (Rodney) 254; 2. Chris Cain (Christchurch) 182; 3. Zayne Agate (Timaru) 175.
GIXXER Cup class: 1. Thomas Newton (Pukekohe) 225; 2. Blake Ross (Paeroa) 189; 3. Clark Fountain (Greymouth) 153.
Sidecars class: 1. Peter Goodwin and Kendal Dunlop (Auckland) 231; 2. Andy Scrivener and Tina McKeown (Taupo) 190; 3. Chris and Richard Lawrance (Auckland) 185.