Pavletich up to his same old tricks
Ararimu bike racer Paul Pavletich is at it again ... winning major titles.
The 60-year-old professional riding and driving instructor again showed that age is no barrier to winning at the top level, wrapping up the five-round 2018 New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register's (NZCMRR) series with a round to spare.
This made it back-to-back title wins for the popular racer after he had also won the Pre-89 Formula One class in this championship last season.
He was virtually untouchable in the Pre-89 F1 class when the NZCMRR Series kicked off at Pukekohe in early February, Pavletich winning both the eight-lap Jason McEwen F1 Trophy race and the six-lap F1 race that followed.
In the first race, Pavletich took his 1000cc 1989 Yamaha OW-01 to cross the finish line ahead of Christchurch's former New Zealand superbike champion Dennis Charlett (McIntosh Suzuki GS1135), with Rotorua's Matt Eggleton (Yamaha FZR 1000), Te Awanga's Eddie Kattenberg (Bimota YB8) and Auckland's Neil Martin (1982 Kawasaki 1100) rounding out the top five.
In race two the finish order was the same, with Pavletich, Charlett, Eggleton and Kattenberg filling the first four positions and Paeroa's Patric Nussbaum (Kawasaki ZX10) the man to round out the top five positions.
"It was a real highlight for me to beat Dennis (Charlett). I have huge respect for Dennis. He is a rider who has won nearly every class of road-racing in New Zealand.
"The first race was particularly close and Dennis and I had a real battle," said Pavletich. "He passed me for the lead with three laps to go, but I got back past him on the last lap."
With winning rides at the annual Battle of the Streets race meeting at Paeroa two weeks later to him sharp, he was still in hot form when the NZCMRR series arrived at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, for round two.
Pavletich then took his Yamaha OW-01, prepared for him by elder brother Mark Pavletich, to also win both his Pre-89 F1 class races at Hampton Downs, further extending his series lead.
The rain arrived to make high-speed racing doubly difficult at round three of the series at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park and that weekend Pavletich had to settle for two fourth placings, a third and just the one win, but still he maintained a healthy points advantage for the series overall.
Pavletich bounced back to score a hat-trick of wins at round four, also at Taupo, and this put him in an unbeatable position for the outright series win.
This allowed Pavletich the luxury of skipping the fifth and final round at Manfeild – the three races that weekend instead won by Whangarei's Duncan Coutts (Suzuki) – and it was mission accomplished for the man from Ararimu.
Pavletich finished the series ahead of Kattenberg (Bimota YB8), with Hamilton's Mark Hatton (Yamaha FZR1000), Eggleton (Yamaha FZR 1000) and Auckland's Ken Ferguson (Suzuki) rounding out the eventual top five.
"I won eight out of 11 races and only lost in the rain at Taupo," said Pavletich.
"I am working on my wet riding. I have now taken up veterans' motocross racing again, to sharpen my skills in that area."
In all, the series produced five different race winners, with Pavletich winning races at each of the rounds he attended, while Coutts won three races at Manfeild, Clive's SJ Chavell (Yamaha) won two races at Taupo, Hatton won a race at Manfeild and Paraparaumu's Peter Bogusz (Suzuki) won a race at Taupo.
"Eddie Kattenburg was always pushing at the front as well," said Pavletich. "Unfortunately for Eddie, he had a big crash at Manfeild while practising and was unable to compete at the final round.
"I'm really looking forward to racing at Wanganui (at the traditional post-Christmas Cemetery Circuit event) on Boxing Day and then the 40th Anniversary of the New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register's annual Classic Festival meeting at Pukekohe (on January 2-3, 2019)."
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