Stroud Leads Suzuki Tri-Series

Racing didn’t go to plan for the some of the fancied F1 Superbike riders during the opening round of the Suzuki Tri-Series at Hampton Downs on Saturday.

The pace was hot and there was plenty of action, mostly unexpected. Valvoline BMW rider BMW Sloan Frost was the surprise F1 winner of race one, held in warm and sunny conditions.

Frost made a trademark fast start on his BMW S1000RR to rocket into the lead, which he extended through the race as the big name Superbike riders scrapped it out for the next best position – second.

Suzuki Tri-Series favourite, fastest qualifier and father on nine, Andrew Stroud, had a poor start which forced the Brother Suzuki GSXR1000 rider to cut through fast traffic to have a shot of catching Frost.

However, fellow Hamiltonian Nick Cole (Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R) and a resurgent Craig Shirriffs (Suzuki GSXR1000), of Feilding, made life in the fast lane difficult for the defending champion.

James Smith followed Stroud through the field into third slot, but the Christchurch Castrol Honda CBR1000RR rider also had to deal with Shirriffs, Cole, and an improving Dennis Charlett during his return on a Suzuki Superbike.

In the closing stages Cole pulled out before Frost took the chequered flag, followed by Stroud and Charlett in third.

There’s no margin for error in one of sports most unforgiving disciplines. When motorcycle racers make a mistake they don’t get a line out or a throw-in, they sometimes get a ride to hospital.

Sloan ‘Choppa’ Frost repeated his holeshot in F1 race two but high-sided his Valvoline BMW on the exit of turn one in front of Stroud, causing a red flag race stop.

Shirriffs bolted into the lead at the F1 restart which didn’t include Frost or Cole. While the race was two riders poorer for talent it left the door open for Stroud to move into the lead ahead of Shirriffs and Charlett (Christchurch, Underground Brown GSXR1000). These three Suzuki riders circulated the entire race together in the space of a credit card.

Shirriffs was the only rider to pass Stroud as the race progressed, although Stroud regained the lead to score his first win of the Suzuki Tri-Series.

Second position remained undecided the entire race but after plenty of hard passes Charlett and Shirriffs completed the podium in that order, not far ahead of a fast improving Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000) and Ray Clee (Kumeu) on his RCM Suzuki Superbike.

Stroud leads the Suzuki Tri-Series and said after his race win, “It made for good racing as it was close at the front. My bike’s a new model and the Brother Suzuki is back!

“I’ve still got to do the best I can at Manfeild, it’s unfortunate for Sloan [Frost] that he had a nasty high-side in the second race, right in front of me, but it’s good he’s OK. And Nick [Cole] has had a DNF, so it leaves Dennis [Charlett] and Craig [Shirriffs] mainly, as Dennis finished just behind me in both races.

“I’ll be trying to win at Manfeild, and usually Nick Cole is the main guy to beat at Wanganui. I’d prefer to go into Wanganui with a points buffer if possible.”

Defending NZ 600cc Supersport champion, Charlett is surprised to find himself second in the F1 series, as it’s been several years since he raced a big bike. Yet the Christchurch rider was mixing it up with the defending Suzuki Tri-Series champ in race two. “It was unbelievable that I was in that position, I was riding around the track thinking ‘I shouldn’t be here – behind Andrew Stroud!” Charlett explains.

“My Underground Brown Superbike ran awesome all day today, just fantastic, Robert Taylor from Ohlins spent a lot of time setting the suspension and it came right in the last race today.”

It was a tough call who was fastest on the day so there will be more scores to settle on the race track during round two of the Suzuki Tri-Series at Manfeild on Sunday.

Both F2 races were convincingly won by Jaden Hassan on his Home Buyers Reports Yamaha NZ R6 at Hampton Downs and, to prove his speed Hassan broke his own F2 lap record in the second stanza with a 1m 5.89s time. He is looking to carry his success to Manfeild for round two.

Just 18 years old, the future looks bright for Hassan “It was a perfect day, I got Pole in the morning, had two race wins and I beat my lap record from last year, so it couldn’t have been better!

“My Home Buyers Reports Yamaha NZ R6 was obviously the best bike with the best set-up, so that helped me to do my bit for the two wins. My Metzler tyres worked well and the Kiwi Suspension Solutions guys did and awesome job on the suspension, so everything came together.”

Jeremy Holmes (Invercargill) and Christchurch’s John Ross (Repsol Suzuki GSXR600) slugged it out for second and third in each race to entertain a good sized crowd in bright sunshine. Holmes was second in the opening race with Ross third, although the positions were swapped in race two. German racer Thomas Kreutz, rode his Yamaha NZ R6 well to finish fourth in race two.

Ross also raced a Repsol Suzuki GSXR1000 in the premier F1 class, where he took eighth and ninth positions respectively.

The stars of the show were six ultra-fast contenders in both Supermoto legs. What the bikes lacked in speed was made up from constant passing and sliding around each corner as Toby Summers, Glenn Hayden, Scott Moir, Duncan Hart, Casey Bullock and Richard Dibben fought for the lead. Usually in any order!

You can call these high handlebar bikes what you like but no one could call the winner until the bikes went across the line, but it was Richard Dibben and Glenn Hayden who shared a win apiece on their modified Honda CRF450s.

In the F3 category Glen Williams and Scott Moir took a win each after eight paint-swapping laps per heat, with Moir holding a one point lead heading into round two on Sunday, due to his extra point as fastest qualifier.

Williams also enjoyed a pair of fine race wins on his Bimota YB8 in the Post Classic Pre ’89 class, each time ahead of 1980s star Eddie Kattenberg on a Yamaha FZR1000.

Sloan Frost rode his Valvoline BMW S1000RR to first place in race one of the BEARS class, but wasn’t able to ride the second heat due to his earlier crash. Second in race one, Travis Moan grabbed a good win in the final BEARS race of the day.

Suzuki Tri-Series action continues at Manfeild on Sunday December 15, with the final showdown at Wanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day, where American legend Pat Hennen will make a special appearance.

2012 Suzuki Tri-Series results from Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Saturday December 8.

Formula 1, race 1: Sloan Frost (Wellington, Valvoline BMW S1000RR), 1; Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki GSXR1000), 2; Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, Underground Brown Suzuki GSXR1000), 3; James Smith (Christchurch, Castrol Honda CBR1000RR), 4; Craig Shirriffs (Feilding, Suzuki GSXR1000), 5; Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 6.

Formula 1, race 2: Stroud, 1; Charlett, 2; Shirriffs, 3; Fitzgerald, 4; Ray Clee (Kumeu, RCM Suzuki Superbike, 5; Tony Rees (Whakatane, Tony Rees Motorcycles Honda CBR1000RR), 6.

Formula 1 series points: Andrew Stroud, 48; Dennis Charlett, 42; Craig Shirriffs, 36; Hayden Fitzgerald, 33; Ray Clee, 30; James Smith, 28.

Formula 2, race 1: Jaden Hassan (Auckland, Home Buyers Reports Yamaha NZ R6), 1; Jeremy Holmes (Invercargill, Castrol Honda CBR600RR), 2; John Ross (Christchurch, Repsol Suzuki GSXR600), 3; Jayden Carrick (Wanganui, Suzuki GSXR600), 4; Daniel Kempthorne (Palmerston North, Yamaha R6), 5; Toby Summers (Auckland, Yamaha R6).

Formula 2, race 2: Hassan, 1; Ross, 2; Holmes, 3; Thomas Kreutz (Germany, Yamaha NZ R6), 4; Carrick, 5; Kempthorne, 6.

Formula 2 series points: Jaden Hassan, 51; John Ross & Jeremy Holmes, 42; Jayden Carrick, 34; Daniel Kempthorne, 31; Toby Summers, 29.

Formula 3, race 1: Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Suzuki SV650), 1; Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda RS450), 2; Gavin Veltmeyer (New Windsor, Suzuki SV650), 3; Chris Osborne (Feilding, Ozzy 450R), 4; Nathaniel Diprose (Auckland, Suzuki SV650), 5; Nigel Lennox (Auckland, Suzuki SV650), 6.

Formula 3, race 2: Moir, 1; Williams, 2; Terry Fitzgerald (Waitara, Suzuki SV650), 3; Veltmeyer, 4; Osborne, 5; Diprose, 6.

Formula 3 series points: Scott Moir, 48; Glen Williams, 47; Gavin Veltmeyer, 38; Chris Osborne, 34; Terry Fitzgerald & Nathaniel Diprose, 31.

Supermoto race 1: Richard Dibben (Wanganui, Honda CRF450), 1; Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda CRF450), 2; Duncan Hart (Tauranga, Yamaha YZF450), 3; Toby Summers (Auckland, Yamaha YZF450), 4; Casey Bullock (Taupo, KTM 450SMR), 5; Lewis Waho (Taupo, Yamaha YZF450), 6.

Supermoto race 2: Glenn Haden (Wanganui, Honda CRF450), 1; Summers, 2; Dibben, 3; Hart, 4; Bullock, 5; Waho, 6.

Supermoto series points: Richard Dibben, 45; Toby Summers, 41; Glenn Haden, 39; Duncan Hart, 38; Casey Bullock, 32; Lewis Waho, 30.

Post Classic Pre ’89 race 1: Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Bimota YB8 1000), 1; Eddie Kattenberg (Hawkes Bay, Yamaha FZR1000), 2; Damian Mackie (Te Puke, Suzuki RG500), 3; Paul Wooton ((Waikane, Suzuki GSXR1100), 4; Andrew Skelton (Pukekohe, Suzuki GSXR1100), 5; Terry Stevenson (Hamilton, Marsh GSX1150), 6.

Post Classic Pre ’89 race 2: Williams, 1; Kattenberg, 2; Wooton , 3; Skelton, 4; Mackie, 5; Nigel Lennox, (Auckland), 6.

Post Classic Pre ’89 series points: Glen Williams, 51; Eddie Kattenberg, 44; Paul Wooton, 38; Damian Mackie, 36; Andrew Skelton, 34; Nigel Lennox, 29.

BEARS race 1: Sloan Frost (Wellington, Valvoline BMW S1000RR), 1; Travis Moan (Auckland, BMW S1000RR), 2; Rhys Holmes (Katikati, BMW S1000RR), 3; Richard Taylor (Wellington, BMW S1000RR), 4; Jamie Galway (Masterton, Triumph Daytona 675), 5; Nick Prestige (Hawera, Ducati 1098R), 6.

BEARS race 2: Moan, 1; Holmes, 2; Taylor, 3; Galway, 4; Prestige, 5; Blayes Heaven (Auckland, Triumph Daytona 675), 6.

BEARS series points: Travis Moan, 47; Rhys Holmes, 42; Richard Taylor, 38; Jamie Galway, 34; Nick Prestidge, 31; Blayes Heaven, 29.

2012 Suzuki Tri-Series Schedule;

Rnd 2: Manfeild, Sunday December 16

Rnd 3: Wanganui Cemetery Circuit, Wednesday December 26