-- Superbike champ has to fight ferocious wind at Teretonga
Australian superbike ace Robbie Bugden had to fight off a fierce wind as well as a strong Kiwi challenge before he managed to win both New Zealand Superbike Championship races at Invercargill’s Teretonga circuit today.
“It’s been a tough day to be honest,” Bugden said after building a solid lead in the series.
“The wind could push you a metre or two either way and coming on to the main straight it was very difficult to feed the throttle in because the wind was trying to wash the bike away.”
Under maximum acceleration the 200hp superbikes tend to lift their front wheels, but then a vicious wind gust can cause a crash.
In race one the Australian Suzuki rider was pushed all the way by Wellington’s Sloan Frost, who had his BMW working particularly well this weekend.
“It was a pretty good battle, he was putting the pressure on,” Bugden said after winning by just two-tenths of a second.
Feilding Suzuki rider Craig Shirriffs, who stands second in the championship and won a race at Timaru last weekend, came through to third in that race after getting a poor start. Their positions were reversed in race two, when it was Frost who lost time at the start and had to battle his way to third.
“That was probably the worst start I’ve ever had,” Shirriffs said of the first heat.
“In race two Ryan Hampton led the first lap and a half on his Honda. Robbie passed him but it took me a while and by then Robbie had a gap. The wind was ridiculously hard, it was pretty scary to be honest.”
Nick Cole from Hamilton twice finished fourth for Kawasaki, while Christchurch Suzuki rider Dennis Charlett did enough to retain his third place in the championship.
In 600cc Supersport Christchurch rider John Ross established a sizable lead in the championship by winning both races on his Suzuki, although Auckland teenager Jaden Hassan led many of the laps for Yamaha.
In race one Ross wrested the lead from Invercargill Honda rider Jeremy Holmes at the final corner, the sweeper on to the front straight.
Australian teenagers Troy Guenther and Luke Burgess maintained their big leads in the 125 GP and 250 Production series respectively. Richard Newbery from Balclutha continued to dominate the Superlite championship on his Kawasaki, while Hamish Murphy from Wellington still heads the Pro Twins 650 series but saw his lead reduced by Lower Hutt rider Dean Bentley.
The three South Island rounds are now completed and the championship resumes at Hampton Downs on March 16-17.
New Zealand Superbike championships, round three, Teretonga (Invercargill).
Superbikes – Race one: Robbie Bugden (Australia) Suzuki 1; Sloan Frost (Wellington) BMW 2; Craig Shirriffs (Feilding) Suzuki 3; Nick Cole (Hamilton) Kawasaki 4; Dennis Charlett (Christchurch) Suzuki 5.
Race two: Bugden 1; Shirriffs 2; Frost 3; Cole 4; Ryan Hampton (Christchurch) Honda 5.
Championship points: Bugden 145, Shirriffs 121, Charlett 81, Cole 73, Frost 68.
600cc Supersport – Race one: John Ross (Christchurch) Suzuki 1; Jeremy Holmes (Invercargill) Honda 2; Jaden Hassan (Auckland) Yamaha 3; Alastair Hoogenboezem (Christchurch) Suzuki 4; Rhys Holmes (Katikati) Yamaha 5.
Race two: Ross 1; Hassan 2; J Holmes 3; R Holmes 4; Jake Lewis (Christchurch) Yamaha 5.
Points: Ross 115, Hassan 85, R Holmes 84, Lewis 81, J Holmes 74.
Superlite – Race one: Richard Newbery (Balclutha) Kawasaki 450, 1; Glen Agate (Oamaru) Kawasaki ZXR400, 2; Hayden Scorringe (Dunedin) Suzuki SV650, 3.
Race two: Newbery 1; Agate 2; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland) Suzuki SV650, 3. Race three: Newbery 1; Veltmeyer 2; Agate 3.
Points: Newbery 212.5, Veltmeyer 127.5, Agate 126.
Pro Twins – Race one: Dean Bentley (Lower Hutt) Suzuki SV650, 1; Hamish Murphy (Wellington Suzuki SV650, 2; Nick Southerwood (Auckland) Suzuki SV650, 3.
Race two: Bentley 1; Southerwood 2; Anthony Stephens 3.
Race three: Bentley 1; Southerwood 2; Murphy 3. Points: Murphy 176, Bentley 163, Southerwood 148.
125 GP – Race one: Troy Guenther (Australia) Honda 1; Matt Hoogenboezem (Christchurch) Honda 2; Scott Kinder (Geraldine) Honda 3.
Race two: Guenther 1; Aaron Hassan (Auckland) Honda 2; Hoogenboezem 3.
Race three: Guenther 1; Kinder 2; Scout Fletcher (Christchurch) Honda 3.
Points: Guenther 216, Fletcher and Kinder both 136.
250 Production – Race one: Bailie Perriton (Ashburton) 1; Alex Bowers (Ngatea) 2; Chris Sutcliffe (Timaru) 3. All rode Kawasaki Ninjas.
Race two: Luke Burgess (Australia) 1; Sam Davidson 2; Sutcliffe 3.
Race three: Burgess 1; Davidson 2; Sutcliffe 3.
Points: Burgess 75, Sutcliffe and Grant Ramage (Timaru) both 120.
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