Breakthrough victory for young NZ SBK star
Nick Cole confirmed his elevation to the top ranks of New Zealand motorcycle racing by scoring his first Superbike championship victory in appalling conditions at Teretonga today.
Rain, strong winds and even hail made life very difficult for the riders but Cole, 25 and from Hamilton, handled the conditions in race two superbly to score his maiden win on his 1000cc Kawasaki. He also won the round overall.
“I was about third at the end of the first lap, with Sloan Frost and James Smith in front of me,” Cole said. He passed Smith and caught up Frost.
“I caught up with Sloan and followed him for a couple of laps. I got tired of riding in his spray so I passed him on the outside of turn one, the loop, pulled out a gap of about two seconds and rolled off slightly. I’m rapt.”
The wind had also made things awkward for the riders, sometimes pushing them wide on corners, Cole said.
Frost (Wellington, BMW) held on the finish second in that race, ahead of Ray Clee (Kumeu, Suzuki), Smith (Christchurch, Suzuki) and Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda). Champion Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki) and former champion Robbie Bugden (Australia, Suzuki) picked the wrong tyres for the conditions and finished well down the field.
Stroud had finished first overall ahead of Cole in race one, which was run in two parts because it had to be stopped after Christchurch rider Ryan Hampton crashed his Honda.
He won the first part but dropped to fifth in part two after light rain started. “I backed off a bit more than the others,” he said.
Bugden won part two but only after a tough fight with Frost, who passed him a couple of times. Frost was third overall in that race and he had a fine weekend.
John Ross (Christchurch, BMW) was placed second and fourth in the two parts and he also won the first 600cc Supersport race, this time riding a Suzuki. However he failed to finish the second race, which was won by defending champion Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, Suzuki.
Castrol Power1 NZ Superbike Championships, round three, Teretonga (Invercargill)
Race one, part one: Andrew Stroud (Hamilton) Suzuki 1; John Ross (Christchurch) BMW 2; Nick Cole (Hamilton) Kawasaki 3; James Smith (Christchurch) Suzuki 4; Sloan Frost (Wellington) BMW 5; Robbie Bugden (Australia) Suzuki 6.
Race one part two: Bugden 1; Frost 2; Cole 3; Ross 4; Stroud 5; Craig Shirriffs (Feilding) Suzuki 6.
Race two: Cole 1; Frost 2; Ray Clee (Kumeu) Suzuki 3; Smith 4; Scott Moir (Taupo) Honda 5; Rhys Holmes (Katikati) BMW 6.
600cc Supersport –
Race one: John Ross (Christchurch) Suzuki 1; Dennis Charlett (Christchurch) Suzuki 2; Jeremy Holmes (Invercargill) Honda 3; Josh McGrath (Australia) Yamaha 4; Alastair Hoogeboesem (West Melton) Suzuki 5.
Race two: Charlett 1; Karl Morgan (Auckland) Suzuki 2; McGrath 3; Glen Skachill (Wellington) Suzuki 4; Hoogenboesem 5.