Charlett Secures Suzuki Tri-Series
Underground Brown Suzuki GSXR1000 rider Dennis Charlett won the 2012 Suzuki Tri-Series at his first attempt on a Superbike, at Wanganui on Boxing Day.
Based in Christchurch, Charlett rode consistently throughout the three round series but needed to protect a slim seven point lead from Sloan Frost (Wellington, Valvoline BMW S1000RR) heading into the final round at the famous Cemetery Circuit.
The experienced campaigner did exactly what he needed to do by finishing each of the two Formula One races directly behind the flying Frost, who himself needed Charlett to finish lower down the order to have a shot at the coveted F1 crown. With Frost third and second in each race, fourth and fifth placings were enough for Charlett to win the 2012 Suzuki Tri-Series on a hot sunny day, with intermittent rain.
Charlett sums up his victory, “It was awesome – my Underground Brown Suzuki ran well all day. My plan for this event was if I can beat Sloan [Frost] easily enough I would have beaten him, but it not I only needed to be just behind him, and that is what I did. I had an enjoyable day’s racing!
“I had a few set-up problems because I haven’t been here on a Superbike before and Robert Taylor from Ohlins worked through that, so by the last race I knew all I had to do was finish behind Sloan Frost to take the championship.
“I’m really lucky to be riding a Superbike this year, Suzuki NZ have been fantastic with help to me.”
Fastest qualifier and double F1 race winner for the day was Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R rider Nick Cole, who proved impossible to beat around the Cemetery Circuit. Since stepping up to a Superbike two years ago the Hamilton rider had been threatening to take a big win in the premier class at Wanganui, although he had to come through a strong field from a slow start in race one before pulling away. Cole grabbed the holeshot in race two and was never headed until the chequered flag eight 50 second laps later.
Heavy rain late in the day prevented the final BEARS race, and the Robert Holden Memorial feature – a coveted race win which must have been within Cole’s grasp.
Cole said after his wins, “I came here knowing I could win, I just had to put the pieces of the puzzle together really. I went out as the fastest qualifier, I won the first race with the fastest lap, and I won the second race, so it can’t get much better than that!
“In the second race I got the holeshot, that was my first in years! I got the lead and just had to hold it. Sloan was coming at me the last few laps but I didn’t need to push.
me and working big hours to get me out on the track, so to win for them is great. My Pirelli tyres proved again they are as good as anything else out there, so we came home with some wins for them.”
Valvoline BMW S1000RR racer Sloan Frost (Wellington) clocked the fastest time of the day, however he had troubles with the traction control system on his Valvoline BMW during the opening race so he turned the electronics off for race two. By day’s end Charlett was only three points ahead of the persistent BMW rider.
After finishing third in race one behind Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), who put in his best ever ride at Wanganui, Frost explains how the title chase played out in race two.
“I got a shocking start so I had my work cut out, I was back in sixth. It took me until the second to last lap or so to get in behind Nick [Cole] so I was trying to catch him, because that was the title basically. Dennis followed me as I went past people so he knew he just had to follow me, and consistency paid off for him at the end of the day. I wasn’t getting very good drive off the corners so I was doing all I could to block him out.
“I’m disappointed to be second but congratulations to Dennis. He just rode smart and has won so many championships he knows how to do it, and that is something for me to learn. Given the accident I had at the start [Hampton Downs] I couldn’t be happier.”
Fitzgerald was third in the F1 title chase on a Suzuki GSXR1000, just three points ahead of a consistent Ray Clee (Kumeu, RCM Suzuki Superbike), with CBR1000RR riders Ryan Hampton (Christchurch, Hampton Honda) and Tony Rees (Castrol Honda) fifth and sixth in the championship. Hampton and Rees held second and third in the second stanza until fading to finish fourth and fifth as the title battle raged around them. Rees also lead race one for several laps during his first race in ten years at the Cemetery Circuit!
In the Formula Two category Aucklander Jaden Hassan won his first major title by a mere nine points from Wanganui’s Jayden Carrick.
Hassan was unbeatable in the previous two Suzuki Tri-Series rounds in the F2 class and enjoyed a healthy 30 point lead over Carrick at Wanganui, who inherited second because Jeremy Holmes did not compete at the Cemetery Circuit. But Hassan, 18, had never ridden the tricky street circuit and had his work cut out to retain his lead, a situation made worse due to a wet practice session.
Carrick, of Wanganui, has been riding at another level this summer and thrilled his 10,000 home race fans with a brilliant race one victory on his Suzuki GSXR600. Adam Chambers (Hawkes Bay, Honda CBR600RR) and another local, Ashley Payne, on a Triumph 675, completed the podium.
Christchurch rider Seth Devereux held second position early in the race, however the more experienced riders pushed the Kawasaki ZX-6R exponent to fourth by race end.
Hassan tried his best but could only muster 13th position, which meant the Home Buyers Reports Yamaha NZ R6 rider was under immense pressure to finish in the top ten in the next heat, if Carrick repeated his win.
Rain however became the deciding factor as Payne won a wet race two to take his first big win, with John Oliver (Bulls, Honda CBR600RR) second and Daniel Ormsby (Oxford, Yamaha R6) third.
German Thomas Kreutz enjoyed his F2 racing in NZ, and at Wanganui with a fourth in race one. Hassan tried his best in the difficult and slippery conditions which included slippery railway tracks, steel manhole covers and wet white lines. He crossed the line 15th, while Carrick encountered the same issues and finished 11th, allowing Hassan to a title well earned.
Hassan has now been invited to race in the 2013 German Superbike Championship with support from Thomas Kreutz and his Yamaha motorcycle shop, near Frankfurt.
Hassan said, “It would have been good to wrap it up with a couple of wins, like we did over the last few weeks, but realistically in my first time here and with the weather, it was never going to happen. I was uncomfortable on the bike and thrown in the deep end with the weather but we managed to bring it home, I didn’t fall off the bike and I got the championship.”
In the Supermoto category Wanganui’s Richard Dibben held off a strong title challenge from Duncan Hart, of Tauranga, who won both heats on his Yamaha YZF450. After a race long duel with several riders Dibben was second on a Honda CRF450 in the first race, ahead of Toby Summers (Auckland, Yamaha YZF450), and his third place in race two behind Hart and Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda CRF450) helped to sew up his first Suzuki Tri-Series title.
Glen Williams wrapped up the Formula Three and Pre ’89 Post Classic titles on his Suzuki SV650 and Bimota YB8 motorcycles, respectively.
Scott Moir won both F3 races on his RS450 at Wanganui, however he was not in the hunt for the series title due to a pair of non finishes at Manfeild during round two. Williams crossed the Cemetery Circuit finish line second on each occasion, with Neil Chappell taking third in the first leg, and Jason Nairn third in the second leg on his SV650.
Eddie Kattenberg came very close to snatching the Pre ’89 championship at Wanganui. The Yamaha FZR1000 rider lead the class going into the final round but finished both races in sixth position, which allowed Williams to overtake Kattenberg when he won the second race as the rain began pouring down.
Hamiltonian Jay Lawrence took a fine first in the opening leg and was second, behind Williams, in race two. Steve Bridge of Ngaruawahia was second and third in each heat on his Ducati TT2 900.
Lawrence rode extraordinarily well on a GSX1100 but did not compete in the other two Suzuki Tri-Series rounds so did not feature in the final points. Suzuki RG500 racer and international California Superbike School instructor Damian Mackie ended the series in third place.
Rhys Holmes went home happy after capturing the BEARS title on a BMW S1000RR, after the second race was cancelled due to heavy rain. Riding similar machines and reflecting the close nature of the racing, Sloan Frost completed the series just three points adrift, with Travis Moan only two points further back. Local Wanganui rider Ashley Payne was third in the race on a Triumph 675.
2012 Suzuki Tri-Series results from Wanganui, Wednesday December 26.
Formula 1, race 1: Nick Cole (Hamilton, Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1; Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 2; Sloan Frost (Wellington, Valvoline BMW S1000RR), 3; Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, Underground Brown Suzuki GSXR1000), 4; Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda CBR1000), 5; Ray Clee (Kumeu, RCM Suzuki Superbike), 6.
Formula 1, race 2: Cole, 1; Frost, 2; Charlett, 3; Ryan Hampton (Christchurch, Hampton Honda CBR1000RR), 4; Rees, 5; Fitzgerald, 6.
Formula 1 final series points: Dennis Charlett, 120; Sloan Frost 117; Hayden Fitzgerald, 106; Ray Clee, 103; Ryan Hampton, 85; Tony Rees, 84.
Formula 2, race 1: Jayden Carrick (Wanganui, Suzuki GSXR600), 1; Adam Chambers (Hawkes Bay, Honda CBR600RR), 2; Ashley Payne (Wanganui, Triumph 675), 3; Thomas Kreutz (Germany, Yamaha NZ R6), 4; John Oliver (Bulls, Honda CBR600RR), 5; Seth Devereux (Christchurch, Kawasaki ZX-6R), 6.
Formula 2, race 2: Payne, 1; Oliver, 2; Daniel Ormsby (Oxford, Yamaha R6), 3; Devereux, 4; Rhys Holmes (Katikati, Yamaha R6), 5; David Hall (Te Awamutu, Suzuki GSXR600), 6.
Formula 2 final series points: Jaden Hassan, 116; Jayden Carrick, 107; Thomas Kreutz, 85; Seth Devereux, 83; Toby Summers, 78, Adam Chambers, 77.
Formula 3, race 1: Scott Moir (Taupo, RS450), 1; Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Suzuki SV650), 2; Neil Chappell (Feilding, ZX650R), 3; Gavin Veltmeyer (New Windsor, Suzuki SV650), 4; Jason Nairn (New Plymouth, Suzuki SV650), 5; Gareth Easter (Lower Hutt, GSXR450), 6.
Formula 3, race 2: Moir, 1; Williams, 2; Nairn, 3; Veltmeyer, 4; Easter, 5; Craig Sergeant (Waipukurau, KTM Duke 690), 6.
Formula 3 final series points: Glen Williams, 141; Gavin Veltmeyer, 106; Scott Moir, 100; Gareth Easter, 83; Chris Osborne, 74; Terry Fitzgerald, 73.
Supermoto race 1: Duncan Hart (Tauranga, Yamaha YZF450), 1; Richard Dibben (Wanganui, Honda CRF450), 2; Toby Summers (Auckland, Yamaha YZF450), 3; Casey Bullock (Taupo, KTM 450SMR), 4; Steven Croad (Auckland, CRF450), 5; Ben Dowman (Wanganui, CRF450), 6.
Supermoto race 2: Hart, 1, Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda CRF450), 2; Dibben 3; Glen Haden (Wanganui, Honda CRF450), 4; Summers, 5; Bullock, 6.
Supermoto final series points: Richard Dibben, 134; Duncan Hart, 132; Toby Summers, 112; Scott Moir, 107; Glen Haden, 95.
Post Classic Pre ’89 race 1: Jay Lawrence (Hamilton, GSX1100), 1; Steve Bridge (Ngaruawahia, Ducati TT2 900), 2; Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Bimota YB8 1000), 3; Bernard Ryan, (Moto Guzzi Le Mans), 4; John Reid (Huntly TZ250), 5; Eddie Kattenberg (Hawkes Bay, Yamaha FZR1000), 6.
Post Classic Pre ’89 race 2: Williams, 1; Lawrence, 2; Bridge, 3; Ryan, 4; Sean Donnelly (Paraparaumu, GPZ1170), 5; Kattenberg, 6.
Post Classic Pre ’89 final series points: Glen Williams, 122; Eddie Kattenberg, 121; Damian Mackie, 102; Paul Wootton, 97; Terry Moran, 57; Mark Hay, 49; Sean Donnelly, 46; Andrew Skelton, 46.
BEARS race 1: Sloan Frost (Wellington, Valvoline BMW S1000RR), 1; Rhys Holmes (Katikati, BMW S1000RR), 2; Ashley Payne (Wanganui, Triumph 675), 3; Mark Perry (Palmerston North, Aprilia RSV1000), 4; Dave Oliver (Brisbane, Aprilia VDB550), 5; Brett Gray (Palmerston North, Triumph Daytona 675), 6.
BEARS final series points: Rhys Holmes, 106; Sloan Frost, 103; Travis Moan (Auckland, BMW S1000RR), 101; Richard Taylor (Wellington, BMW S1000RR), 89; Nick Prestige (Hawera, Ducati 1098R), 72; Jamie Galway (Masterton, Triumph Daytona 675), 65.
F1 Sidecars race 1: Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe (Auckland, Windle F1), 1; Michael Wolland/Maxine Skilton (Masterton, Derbyshire 1000), 2; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance (Auckland, Anderson R1), 3; John Blaymires/Charles Bilby (Te Puke, Shelbourne GSXR600), 4; Andy Scrivener/Steve Bryan (Taupo, Sowersby Hayabusa), 5; Darren Pate/Karl Verdellen (Katikati, Kawasaki), 6.
F1 Sidecars race 2: Unsworth/Dawe, 1; Wolland/Skilton, 2; Blaymires/Bilby, 3; Tracey Bryan/Jo Mickleson (Tauranga, Yamaha DMR600), 4; Des James/Warren Miller (Auckland, Applecross, GSXR), 5; Corey Winter/Tim Shepherd (Wanganui, DMR Suzuki 600), 6.
F1 Sidecars points: Unsworth/Dawe 51; Wolland/Skilton, 44; Blaymires/Bilby, 38; Bryan/Mickleson, 32; James/Miller, 29; Pate/Verdellen, 29.
Sidecar Classics race 1: John Blaymires/Charles Bilby (Te Puke/Wanganui, MotoGuzzi 850T), 1; Robert Hood/Mark Thompson (Wanganui, Norton Commando 920), 2; Mark Smith/Sid Sutherland (Carterton), 3; Peter Andrews/Shayne Perry (Wanganui, Triumph Bonneville 750), 4; Neville Mickleson/Jo Mickleson (Hamilton, Matchless G12 800), 5; Gordon McKewon/Warwick Demmocks (Tauranga, BMW R90s), 6.
Sidecar Classics race 2: Blaymires/Bilby, 1; Mickleson/Mickleson, 2; Smith/Sutherland, 3; Bruce Williamson/Julie Loveridge (Whanganui, Triumph T110) 4; McKewon/Demmocks, 5; Basil Craig/Dave Dibben (Hastings, Triumph 73), 6.
Classic Sidecars points: Blaymires/Bilby, 51; Smith/Sutherland, 40; Mickleson/Mickleson, 38; Williamson/Loveridge, 32; McKeown/Demmocks, 31; Craig/Dibben, 28.
Classic Solos race 1: Bernard Ryan (Moto Guzzi Le Mans), 1; Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, 1958 Matchless G50), 2; Peter Tanner (Palmerston North, Norton Manx 630), 3; Dave Cole (New Plymouth, Matchless McIntyre 500), 4; Warren Marsh (Napier, Norton Manx 500) 5; David Hall (Te Awamutu, Norton 500 1962), 6.
Classics Solos race 2: Tanner, 1; Cole, 2; Ryan, 3; Marsh, 4; Fitzgerald, 5; Hall, 6.
Classics Solos points: Ryan, 46; Tanner, 45; Cole, 40; Fitzgerald, 38, Marsh, 34; Hall, 30.
Photo credits to: Terry Stevenson