Dennis Charlett aiming for Robert Holden Memorial Trophy
Suzuki’s multi-time New Zealand Superbike Champion Dennis Charlett begins this weekend’s three-round Suzuki Superbike series on a mission to win; and also collect the coveted Robert Holden Memorial trophy.
The GSX-R1000-mounted 46-year-old from Canterbury has numerous national titles to his credit after a sparkling career that spans more than three decades, but he still has unfinished business to complete before he finally hangs up his helmet and boots.
Said Charlett: “I have never won the Robert Holden Memorial trophy and to win that is one of my main aims this season.”
The New Zealand Superbike season kicks off at Hampton Downs with the first of three rounds of the popular Suzuki Series; the final round on public roads at Wanganui on December 26th where the Robert Holden feature race trophy will be up for grabs.
“I’ve won New Zealand TT titles, New Zealand GP titles, I have been national 125GP class champion, national 600cc champion, I am currently the New Zealand Superbike champion and I have also won the Suzuki Series in the past (in 2012), but the trophy I really want is the Robert Holden Memorial.
“I know I’ll retire a happy man regardless, but I would like to add this one to my curriculum vitae, just so that I can tick all the boxes. Road-racing can be a dangerous sport, but I have resisted the temptation to retire because I’m still fit-enough to race at the top level and I’m still enjoying it so much.”
The Four-round New Zealand Superbike Championships follows the Suzuki-supported series, with round one set for Ruapuna Raceway, on the outskirts of Christchurch, on January 10-11th.
National No.1 Charlett knows there will be a target on his back and is taking nothing for granted: Last season’s Suzuki Series winner Nick Cole and perennial front-runner Craig Shirriffs have both retired from racing, but Charlett is well aware that there are still half a dozen others who will threaten him.
“Sloan Frost will be fast again and so will Jaden Hassan. Then there’s Australian Linden Magee, Hayden Fitzgerald along with Jayden Carrick. Jayden’s a bit of a dark horse really because he’s just moved up from the 600cc class, but he always goes well at Manfield and on the streets of Wanganui. He races there a lot, so he will have to be respected. These guys are all young, fit and fast, so it’s going to be tough for me.”
Charlett will also face a challenge from an international contingent, with first-time visitor to New Zealand Horst Saiger arriving from Liechtenstein, bordering Austria, and Australian father and daughter pairing Phil and Sophie Lovett returning for another crack at the Kiwi Superbike scene. British rider Guy Martin also returns, but he will only race the final round of the Suzuki Series.
“Consistency is vital in winning a championship. I will just keep gathering-up the points where I can and see how it all adds-up at the end,” said Charlett.
“I’m glad to have the backing of Suzuki New Zealand. I have been given the bike of five-time former New Zealand Superbike Champion Robbie Bugden to ride this year. It’s a 2012-model GSX-R1000 and a great bike.
“Also I can’t thank ultra-fast broadband installers Underground Brown enough for the support they give me. I wouldn’t still be racing if it weren’t for their sponsorship. Perhaps they can make an ultra-fast motorcycle racer out of me again!”
The Suzuki Series includes competition for Formula Two 600cc Supersport, Formula Three Sportbikes, Post Classics, Bears (non-Japanese bikes), Super Moto and sidecars classes; giving action-packed programmes at each round.