Horst Saiger leads Round 2 as Sloan Frost takes overall lead
Words & Photos by Terry Stevenson
Horst Saiger won both legs in windy conditions at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon on Sunday, although Sloan Frost has snatched the lead after the second round of the 2016 Suzuki Series.
The day began at record pace when Sloan Frost fired his Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSX-R1000 almost a second under the F1 Superbike race lap record to collect the vital single point for Pole position.
But it was 45 year old Saiger who crossed the line first in the opening F1 Superbike race on his Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R.
With the first five racing within a wheel length of each other and the front three riders smashing into the lead at different times, the high-speed freight train turned into a thriller and no one could predict the outcome.
2015 Suzuki Series F2 600 and current NZ Supersport champion Mettam became the sensation of the meeting when he stormed into the lead on his Team RCM Suzuki GSX-R1000 mid-race.
A minor mistake while passing a lapped rider caused Mettam to run wide could have robbed the 20 year old of a gallant victory.
Liechtenstein-based Saiger admits to being lucky to take the win after mid-race leader Aucklander Daniel Mettam ran wide with three laps remaining, handing Saiger a small gap over Frost until race end.
“In the first race everybody was on the same pace. I struggled a little bit during braking as the front felt really soft. For the second race I changed this by making the bike a little higher at the front to have more stability during braking and better grip on the rear, out of the corners. Mettam was crazy how late he was braking but I say ‘thank you’ to him because one time he braked too late and so I could go back into the lead. I was just lucky in the first race.”
Mettam followed Frost over the line to take his first international-level podium position on a superbike.
Tony Rees suffered from a poor start to finish fourth after setting the fastest time of the day and a new F1 Superbike lap record of 1:05.196s on his Rider Insurance CBR1000RR.
Alastair Hoegenboezem finished fifth during a one-off Suzuki Series appearance on his Triple R Superbike Team CBR1000RR, after a race-long tussle with Rees.
Mettam surprised everyone when he took the race two holeshot and lead the field until Saiger moved into the lead on the second lap, which he held to the end.
While the top five race two finishers remained the same, the winner wasn’t decided until Saiger took the chequered flag after Frost had clawed his way up to Saiger at the front, but was unable to make a pass on the European in the closing stages.
“It’s been a tough day. In race one we had a battle with Horst, I followed him for a while and managed to make the pass and just as I did that, Daniel passed us both, he was a demon on the brakes! When Horst came past me there was just nothing that I could do. In race two I was running a fairly good pace behind Daniel but he was proving difficult to pass. I’d set my bike up differently so that I could match him on the brakes, but I certainly couldn’t outbrake him, so I shut my eyes and made a move on him. I caught up to Horst but there was nothing that I could do.”
Michael Dunlop didn’t finish the first race although he made amends with a solid sixth place on a Suzuki NZ GSX-R1000 during race two for the Northern Irishman as he came to grips with the new bike. Dunlop chose not to race a sidecar in order to concentrate on his superbike effort.
“We’ve had a few issues with the bike since I arrived so we just need to iron them out for Whanganui, but we’ll just keep pushing on. In race two we still had some problems but everything seems to be going OK, we’re off to Whanganui, so that’s the next race.”
With 91 points Sloan Frost leads the Suzuki Series from Horst Saiger by just three points heading into the final round at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
In third, Tony Rees is eight points behind Frost and cannot be discounted for overall victory as he is extraordinarily fast around the Cemetery Circuit.
2016 Suzuki Series – Round 2 – Suzuki Series F2 600
Whakatane racer Damon Rees won both legs of the Suzuki Series F2 600 class on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR600RR at record pace, each time ahead of his closest challenger Shane Richardson, of Wellington. Damon is Tony Rees’s 21 year old son.
Aucklander Nathanael Diprose surprised the pair of them when he shot into the lead during race one, although it wasn’t long before Rees and Richardson, on his Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R, relegated the RCM Suzuki GSX-R600 rider to third, which he held for the rest of the race.
Diprose was leading race two when he crashed out on the seventh lap which gifted Rees his second win of the day, and fourth of the Suzuki Series.
Wellingtonian Rogan Chandler impressed the spectators by taking a fine third on his TSS Red Baron Triumph 675.
“In race one I got off to a decent start behind Nathanael into turn one, and then I knew I had to attack straight away so that Shane wouldn’t tag on, so I passed Nathanael into the hairpin on the first lap. I tried my best to pull away from Shane and it worked out good. I got the holeshot for race two, I led for a couple of laps until Nathanael and then Shane came past and I thought ‘I’ll have to speed up now!’. I passed Shane, then Nathanael crashed at Higgins. He handed first place to me.”
With 101 points Rees enjoys a 12 point buffer over Richardson heading into the final round at Whanganui on December 26.
2016 Suzuki Series – Round 2 – F1 Sidecar
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan took victory in both F1 Sidecar races on their fast Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F1 ‘chair’.
British sidecar rider John Holden, 60, and Kiwi passenger Robbie Shorter were second in the opening leg on their visibly slower Barnes Racing LCR Honda 600 F2 machine, and were relegated to third in race two by Spike Taylor and Craig Pedersen on their Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000 sidecar. But only after a tight battle with the Smith/Bryan combination early on in the race.
The Warkworth-based Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance brothers came home a fighting third after a battle with the Pete ‘Pirate’ Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop pairing during race one on their Shorai Anderson R1 sidecar.
“It was a good day for us, I’m still gelling with the bike and Tracey, but we knew we’d have a horsepower advantage over John today. In the second race I was trying to be a bit smoother for Tracey so I followed John for a while to see where the pace was being set.”
John Holden/Robbie Shorter head to Whanganui tied on 94 points with Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan, who plan to race their F2 sidecar to be more competitive around the twisting Cemetery Circuit.
“We had to try a bit harder today because we can’t keep up with the 1000cc bikes on these faster circuits. We tried to do our best through the infield and try to get a gap, then jamb it down the inside under brakes. We got piped by Spike, which isn’t good for the championship.”
2016 Suzuki Series – Round 2 – Formula 3
The Formula 3 class was dominated again by Glen Skachill on his i-Tools NSR300. The Wellington racer was in a class of his own although Leigh Tidman was never very far behind during each of the three races on Sunday.
The days racing began with an extra F3 race to make up for the loss of one race at Taupo last week due to time constraints.
The racing would have been closer however Tidman’s Jilesen Contractors RS450 had suffered a mechanical failure at Taupo during round one, leaving the Taumarunui rider with an engine some 7-8hp down on his race motor.
Ashley Payne was third in the opening race while Auckland’s defending Suzuki Series F3 champion Gavin Veltmeyer was third on his GVR645 in the remaining two legs.
Tidman hopes to repair his engine before the final round at Whanganui, where he is very fast. He’ll need to be as Skachill holds a commanding 14 point advantage in the title chase.
Glen Skachill also won both legs of the Post Classic Senior category on his Bimota YB8 to record his fourth win in the Suzuki Series.
Mathew Eggleton, of Rotorua, took his Yamaha FZR1000 across the finish line second in each race while Wellingtonian Jay Lawrence was twice third on his Carl Cox Motorsport GSX1100.
Skachill has 102 points in the series, with Eddie Kattenberg holding second on 78 points and Eggleton with 63. Aucklander Scott Finlay remains in the Post Classic Junior series lead by eight points from Dean Bentley of Lower Hutt.
2016 Suzuki Series – Round 2 – Edmonds Painting Supermoto
Richard Dibben rode the wheels off his Tyresheild 450 Supermoto bike at Manfeild in his quest to make up for a DNF at Taupo.
The Whanganui rider easily secured both victories, beating ever-consistent Duncan Hart and Ashton Hughes in the shortened first heat to earn half points, then Hart and Ben Dowman in the second ‘moto’.
Russell Josiah didn’t make the leaderboard but the former NZ Superbike champ rode strongly through the field on his Suzuki RMZ450 in the second race to catch then pass 23 year old son Jette Josiah, on a Yamaha.
The pair battled for several laps until Scott Dowman finally wedged his CRF450 between the Taumarunui family. Russell finished sixth, Dowman seventh and Jette eighth.
Ben Dowman was lucky not to crash after hitting the back of Hart’s Yamaha YZF450 mid-race.
Defending champion Hart retains the Suzuki Series Supermoto lead with 80 points, 12 points ahead of Hughes, and 15.5 points ahead of Dibben, in third.
There are two races remaining at Whanganui but anything can happen in the world of Supermoto on the Cemetery Circuit.
2016 Suzuki Series – Round 2 – BEARS
Bulls rider Ashton Hughes won the first leg of the BEARS senior category on his Triumph Daytona 675, bettering a number of riders on larger machines including 1000cc Aprilia RSVR riders Dwayne Bishop and Stephen Leggett, who finished second and third respectively.
Race two was won by Jason Bardell of Whanganui riding a BMW S 1000 RR, followed home by Tauranga’s Colin MacGregor and Hughes.
MacGregor leads the BEARS senior series and Hughes leads the BEARS junior section.
2016 Suzuki Series schedule
Rnd 3: Wanganui Cemetery Circuit, Monday December 26
2016 Suzuki Series results from Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, Feilding, Sunday December 11
Suzuki Formula 1 Superbike, race 1:
Horst Saiger (Liechtenstein, Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R)
Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000)
Daniel Mettam (Auckland, Team RCM Suzuki GSXR1000)
Tony Rees (Whakatane, Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR)
Alastair Hoegenboezem (Christchurch, Triple R Superbike Team CBR1000RR)
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