Kawasaki's Richardson takes F1 Glory at series opener
It may have been his first competitive outing on a 1000cc superbike, but Wainuiomata’s Shane Richardson showed at the weekend that he was more than ready for a little extra horsepower.
The 23-year-old took a borrowed Kawasaki ZX10R bike to win the first of three rounds of the pre-nationals Suzuki Series at Taupo on Sunday, his back-to-back runner-up finishes on the day enough to see him end up on top of the standings and four points in front of defending series champion Scott Moir, the Taupo man who twice finished third in this premier F1 class on Sunday.
The first F1 race was won by Whakatane’s Mitch Rees and the second F1 race was won by his younger brother, Damon Rees.
It was Richardson’s debut outing on a 1000cc superbike, the man from the Wellington region more familiar to race fans as a Supersport 600 class campaigner and one who has enjoyed plenty of success over recent years.
“I’m more than happy with this result, my first time in New Zealand racing on a big bike,” said Richardson afterwards.
“Battling with Damo (Rees) again feels like a bit of déjà vu from the 2017 season,” he said, when the pair battled for Supersport 600cc class honours at the nationals.
“The racing was so tight. It was good. It’s such a good class right now and I’m over the moon.
“I didn’t expect to be leaving this track with the points lead.
“Obviously I would have liked to win both races today and that was my goal, but, realistically, being my first time on a superbike, I didn’t think it was possible.
“I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard. Obviously I was going pretty quick, but I felt comfortable on this bike straight away.
“I have to say a huge thank you to Graham Jenkins from Barnes Jenkins Insurance and Lincoln from R & R Powersports. I was supposed to have my own bike here from America to race but it didn’t get here in time and so they luckily enough loaned me their bike and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t even be here.
“In the first race I was fighting with Mitch Rees for the lead, but, unfortunately for me it was stopped with a red flag and I wasn’t leading when it was wound back to the previous lap. I had the lead onto the last lap but I didn’t get the win.
“I was right on top of Damon Rees in that second race when I hit a neutral (gear) in turn five and started to get on the gas but was going nowhere. My natural reaction was to go down a gear but then I was bogging a bit and, once I lost that gap on Damon, I was unable to make it up.
“It all gives me confidence heading to Manfeild (on the outskirts of Fielding) for the next round (this coming weekend).
“The final round (at Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day) will be a different proposition on this bike but I’m looking forward to it.”
Other class leaders in the series after Sunday’s first of three rounds in the series were Whakatane’s Damon Rees (F2 600cc); Palmerston North’s Jacob Stroud (F3); Hamilton’s Jesse Stroud (GIXXER Cup); Whangarei’s Duncan Coutts (Post Classics, Pre-89, Senior); Auckland’s Scott Findlay (Post Classics, Pre-89, Junior); Auckland’s Brendon Coad (Bears, non-Japanese bikes, Seniors); Te Awamutu’s Gary Morgan (Bears, non-Japanese bikes, Seniors); Tauranga’s Duncan Hart (Super Motard class); England’s John Holden and Tauranga’s Robbie Shorter (F1 Sidecars); Tauranga’s Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan (F2 Sidecars).