NZ Suzuki Series 2015 Round One Report
European racers dominated the opening round of the 2015 Suzuki Series at Hampton Downs on Sunday
F1 Superbike rider Horst Saiger of Liechtenstein, F2 600 racer Roman Stamm from Switzerland, and seven-time world champion sidecar driver Tim Reeves with ‘swinger’ Mark Wilkes from Britain were all unbeaten despite stiff competition from New Zealand’s fastest motorcycle racers.
Reeves and Wilkes showed their true class in F1 Sidecars as the pair literally blitzed through qualifying, the lap record, and the entire field including Australians Des Harvey/Dirk Jeal on their world title-winning Carl Cox Motorsport LCR to finish both races well ahead of the pack. The Aaron Lovell/Tracey Bryan Shuzi LCR combination were second on each occasion and didn’t give up as they made a clean pass in race two, for an all too brief period.
Reeves says, “I was a bit slow into turn two and he nipped underneath me, and that was good. I just went out to enjoy myself. I think the New Zealand teams wanted to see what the sidecar teams are like on the western side of the world and I think they’d rather I pushed so they could hopefully learn some things and drag them along. And it worked, because Aaron Lovell went two and a half seconds faster than he’s ever been, and he wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t been here, because you only ever race as fast as you have to.”
Stealth Electric Bikes LCR mounted Spike Taylor and Astrid Hartnell were third in each heat while a storm brewed behind them in a three-way race two battle between the Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance brothers, the Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe pairing and ‘Pirate’ Pete Goodwin and Darren Prentis. The three fast rigs crossed the line in that order although there’ll be scores to settle during round two at Manfeild on Sunday in the hunt for their share of the total $36,550 series prizemoney.
Reeves helped defending Suzuki Series champion Aaron Lovell (Hamilton) with advice setting up his sidecar to become more competitive. Lovell explains, “We set the lap record here last year at 1m 11s, and today we were doing low 1m 09s! Tim Reeves is someone to chase, he also helped us set the bike up as we didn’t realise a couple of little things that were out – he helped set the chair wheel alignment up and told us what to do.”
Onto two wheels Jayden Carrick (Whanganui) crashed his Physiotherapy Hand Clinic GSX-R1000 during Saturday practise and was disappointed to miss Sundays F1 Superbike start line.
Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R mounted Horst Saiger was the fastest F1 Superbike qualifier and took the holeshot in the opening stanza ahead of 2014 F2 champion Toby Summers, Scott Moir and a charging Sloan Frost on his Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000. The race was red flagged after a rider fall, with riders awarded half points. By then Frost had climbed to second followed by Summers and Hamiltonian Andrew Stroud on Suzuki GSXR1000s.
Summers lead the hungry pack from the restart but not for long as Saiger grabbed the lead by turn five with Stroud and Frost in high-speed pursuit. Aucklander Summers retired his Barnes Jenkins Insurance GSXR1000 on the third lap leaving Tony Rees (Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR ) and Scott Moir (Penny Homes GSXR1000 ) to battle for fourth and to finish in that order.
Saiger was more decisive in race two where he lead from start to finish although Frost put the ice on him for much of the race as he looked capable of challenging for the lead until dropping pace near race end. Behind them Stroud came through the pack to dice in tight formation with Whakatane’s Rees and Taupo’s Moir. Superbike rookie Summers completed the race a creditable sixth.
Saiger says, “I knew after race one I could go faster because I was just going 90%, so I thought if this is enough then it’s OK, it is good. For the second race I tried to push really hard right from the start to get a gap and go away from the boys, because I knew if I have a gap I can go faster than them because they cannot follow me. The plan worked but I couldn’t get a gap because Sloan was the same speed as me!”
Frost put up a fighting display, especially in race two, “I think Horst by himself had a bit more pace than me. For the first nine laps he was towing me so I was able to follow him, but when we got into lapped traffic he got a bit of a break.”
Stroud’s results were tremendous considering that he turned up for Saturday practice just to test his Suzuki GSXR1000 but was advised he could only test if he raced on Sunday. Heading to Manfeild on Sunday for round two, Saiger leads the Suzuki Series by eight points from Frost, with Stroud only four points adrift.
Swiss rider Roman Stamm went unbeaten in the two F2 600 clashes which provided the closest racing of the day. The four-time Swiss champion has been second twice in the world endurance championship and was second in this years IDM Superstock 1000 German championship. His experience on big-bore bikes was equaled on the smaller 600cc Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R motorcycle but Aucklander Daniel Mettam, Shane Richardson (Wellington) and Damon Rees (Whakatane) took the fight to the European rider in race two.
Two wins were in Stamm’s plan, “The competition was very good in the 600 class with very young people and they were so fast. The level is very high so it’s not so easy to win the race!” Stamm explained after the race.
Recovering from an injurious mountain bike crash, Aaron Hassan crashed his Suzuki GSXR600 out of each leg from handy positions.
Superbike racing is now a family affair with Tony Rees 20 year old son Damon now keeping pace with the F2 600 leaders, while Andrew Stroud’s 17 year old son Jacob is already following in his legendary father’s footsteps by fighting for the win in the highly competitive the F3 class.
Riding his Yamaha WR450 powered Honda RS450 framed F3 special Leigh Tidman of Taumarunui managed to hold off Hamilton’s Jacob Stroud in the two F3 heats, as well as Steve Bridge on his self-made VeeArma with an air-cooled Ducati powerplant, and Gavin Veltmeyer. A blanket could have covered all four riders at times showing that NZ built bikes remain a force in New Zealand racing.
In the support classes John Oliver took two runaway BEARS victories on his BMW S1000RR, as did Richard Dibben in SuperMoto, while Eddie Kattenburg had to work for his two victories in Post Classic against a very quick Paul Russell. A standout rider in this class was America’s Cup Team New Zealand boss Grant Dalton, who picked up a sixth and fifth for his efforts against stiff opposition.
Action in the 2015 Suzuki Series continues with round two at Manfeild on Sunday, with the final round at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
$25 ‘early-bird’ tickets for the Wanganui round are available at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz and go in the draw after the last race to win a brand new Suzuki UK110 scooter in MotoGP colours – entrants must be present to win.
2015 Suzuki Series schedule
- Rnd 2: Manfeild, Sunday December 13
- Rnd 3: Whanganui Cemetery Circuit, Friday December 26
2015 Suzuki Series results from Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Sunday December 7
- F1 Sidecars race 1: Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (UK, Carl Cox Motorsport LCR), 1; Aaron Lovell/Tracey Bryan (Hamilton/Tauranga, Shuzi LCR Suzuki), 2; Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell (Masterton, Stealth Electric Bikes LCR), 3; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance (Auckland, FFM Helmets Anderson R1), 4; Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe (Auckland, Eni Windle F1), 5.
- F1 Sidecars race 2: Reeves/Wilkes, 1; Lovell/Bryan, 2; Taylor/Hartnell, 3; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance, 4; Unsworth/Dawe, 5.
- F1 Sidecars points: Reeves/Wilkes, 51; Lovell/Bryan, 44; Taylor/Hartnell, 40; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance, 36; Unsworth/Dawe, 32.
- Formula 1 Superbike, race 1-part 1: Horst Saiger (Liechtenstein, Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R), 1; Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 2, Toby Summers (Auckland, Barnes Jenkins Insurance GSXR1000), 3; Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 4; Scott Moir (Taupo, Penny Homes Suzuki GSXR1000), 5.
- Formula 1 Superbike, race 1-part 2: Saiger, 1; Stroud, 2; Frost, 3; Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR), 4; Moir, 5.
- Formula 1 Superbike, race 2: Saiger, 1; Frost, 3; Stroud, 4; Rees, 5.
- F1 Superbike series points: Saiger, 51; Frost, 43; Stroud, 40; Rees, 34.5; Moir, 32.
- Formula 2, race 1: Roman Stamm (Switzerland, Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1; Daniel Mettam (Auckland, RCM Suzuki NZ GSXR600), 2; Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata, Motorad Kawasaki ZX-6R), 3; Damon Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR600RR), 4; Connor London (Taupo, WIL Sport Suzuki GSXR600), 5.
- Formula 2, race 2: Stamm, 1; Mettam, 2; Richardson, 3; Rees, 4; Adam Chambers (Clive, Wolfpack Racing Honda CBR600RR), 5.
- Formula 2 series points: Stamm, 51; Mettam, 44; Richardson 40; Rees, 36; Chambers & London, 31=.
- Formula 3, race 1: Leigh Tidman (Taumarunui, Yamaha RS450), 1; Jacob Stroud (Hamilton, Nationwide Accessories Yamaha R6 450), 2; Steve Bridge (Ngaruawahia, VeeArma F7 Mk2), 3; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Coleman’s Suzuki GVR645), 4; Glen Skachill (Wellington, Moto TT Honda NSR300), 5.
- Formula 3, race 2: Tidman, 1; Stroud, 2; Bridge, 3; Veltmeyer, 4; Skachill, 5.
- Formula 3 series points: Tidman, 50; Stroud, 45; Bridge, 40; Veltmeyer, 36; Skachill, 32.
- Supermoto race 1: Richard Dibben (Wanganui, Tyresheild 450), 1; Casey Bullock (Reporoa, KTM450), 2; Duncan Hart (Tauranga, Mimico Yamaha YZF450), 3; Glenn Haden (Dyno Lab Suzuki RMZ450), 4; Aden Brown (Wanganui, Harvey Round Motors RMZ450), 5.
- Supermoto race 2: Dibben, 1; Hart, 2; Bullock, 3; Haden, 4; Brown, 5.
- Supermoto series points: Dibben, 51; Hart & Bullock, 42=; Haden, 36; Brown, 32.
- Post Classic Pre ’89 Senior race 1: Eddie Kattenberg (Te Awanga, Yamaha FZ1000), 1; Paul Russell (Auckland, Suzuki GSXR1100), 2; Gian Louie (Hastings, Suzuki GSXR1100), 3; Peter Smith (Rotorua, Suzuki GSXR1100), 4; Paul Wootton (Waikane, Suzuki GSXR1100), 5.
- Post Classic Pre ’89 Senior race 2: Kattenberg, 1; Russell, 2; Louie, 3; Smith, 4; Dalton, 5.
- Post Classic Pre ’89 Senior series points: Kattenberg, 51; Russell, 44; Louie, 40; Smith, 36; Dalton & Paul Wootton (Waikanae, Suzuki GSXR1100), 31=.
- Post Classic Junior race 1: Shayne Lawrey (Hamilton, Yamaha FZR600), 1; Terry Moran (Wellington, Kawasaki ZZR600), 2; Steven Gregg (Masterton, Honda CBR600), 3; Dave Smith (Auckland, Yamaha TZ250J), 4; Nigel Lennox (Auckland, Honda), 5.
- Post Classic Junior race 2: Lawrey, 1; Gregg, 2; Moran, 3: Smith, 4; Lennox, 5.
- Post Classic Junior series points: Lawrey, 50; Gregg & Moran, 42=; Smith, 36; Lennox, 32.
- BEARS race 1: John Oliver (Feilding, BMW S1000RR), 1; Dwayne Bishop (Wanganui, Aprilia RSV4), 2; Rogan Chandler (Upper Hutt, Triumph 675R), 3; Nick Prestidge (Hawera, Ducati 1098S), 4; Jason Bardell (Wanganui, BMW S1000RR), 5.
- BEARS race 2: Oliver, 1; Bishop, 2; Prestidge, 3; Stephen Leggett (Auckland, Aprilia RSV4 S), 4; Harrison Senior (Palmerston North, KTM RC8R), 5.
- BEARS series points: Oliver, 51; Bishop, 44; Prestidge, 40; Leggett & Bardell, 33=.