Heading north for the New Zealand Superbike Championship’s (NZSBK) third round at Hampton Downs, saw the Yamaha Motor New Zealand team excel – lifting the NZTT title in three classes and taking the Superbike championship lead.
In the top-tier Yamaha Racing Team (YRT) Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem bounced back from a hefty crash in the first race to take out the prestigious TT title on his Yamaha YZF-R1.
Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT) rider Rogan Chandler, of Wellington, had a stunning return to form, riding his YZF-R6 to three race victories, including claiming the Supersport 600’s TT trophy.
Southlander Comac Buchanan also picked up the first and third race’s silverware in the Supersport 150 class on his YZF-R15.
There were ups and downs to the Yamaha team’s racing however, as Hoogenboezem’s positive start to the weekend with a personal best time in qualifying, quickly turned terrifying in the first race on Saturday.
“I came together with another rider – just a racing incident. Unfortunately I was the one that took most of the hit and got shunted hard left and was heading towards the wall. I managed to lessen the angle of the impact into the wall and ride out of it but by then I was on the grass and had a heavy fall. In the last race, I was sitting in fourth for the first couple of laps and just chipped away at third and second. With a couple of laps to go I was hauling in Scotty [Moir], who had led most of the race and worked my way even closer and drafted him to the line in the end to pick up an NZTT trophy.”
Remarkably, he escaped with only a bruised elbow and hip. while the YRT mechanics had a late night working on his R1 to get it looking sharp again for Sunday’s two races. After a tentative first few laps, Hoogenboezem regained his confidence and finished third in his second outing.
Hoogenboezem now leads Moir by 3 points in the Superbike class with two North Island rounds left to run.
Chandler had the team’s top result with his three wins allowing him to leapfrog into second in the Supersport 600 championship. He credited a change in mindset, to focus on having fun and not placing too much pressure on himself, with the positive effect on his racing results, after a tough two rounds in the South Island.
“I was really happy to finally get a round win again this year and one that I felt like I really earned. On Sunday in the first race I was super happy to get a new lap record and then we won the TT in the afternoon.”
Yamaha Motor New Zealand’s Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins says it was great to see Chandler, “back to his true form and dominating all three races. It’s what we expected, after he won the Suzuki Series.”
Thirteen-year-old Buchanan also hit the asphalt over the weekend, after qualifying on pole and winning the first race by over 19 seconds. He then crashed in the warm-up session before the second race on Sunday, damaging his YZF-R15. The team worked hard to get the bike ready but unfortunately his race started ahead of schedule so he was unable to make the grid for race two.
In the final race, he worked his way to the front of the field in the first lap and clinched a satisfying win to claim the NZTT 150 SuperSport title.
“It was wicked to end the weekend on a high note. I was determined to reward my parents, my coach Steve and the Yamaha team with the NZTT title. They all rallied to get me back out there on the track so it felt amazing to get the job done. Physically it was a real challenge and I know I’m going to be feeling this crash for a while. But as the saying goes ‘you never lose – you either win or you learn’. I banked a lot of valuable lessons this weekend which will make me stronger and even more determined for the next two rounds.”
YRT’s Jake Lewis, of Rangiora, is also in a good place heading into the last rounds after cementing some solid results in the Superbike class, with a 6-5-5 in the three races.
“The total outcome was really positive. I had a good feeling with the bike and took another step forward with it. This weekend was the closest I’ve been to the front, in terms of lap times all season. Hopefully we can make another step forward for Manfeild.”
Timaru’s Harry Parker took some time to learn the Hampton Downs’ circuit’s lines and get up to speed in the Supersport 300 class. After finishing 7th and 5th he unfortunately had a DNF in the final race.
“I got an awesome start but coming into turn one another rider cut under me and pushed the front end out which tucked the front and put me in a DNF. Luckily there’s not much damage but we will be ready to rock and roll for round four.”
Josh Coppins was thrilled with the Yamaha team’s results.
“Yamaha winning the TT in the 150, 600 and Superbike classes made a great weekend. We’ve taken the lead in the Superbike championship and it’s going to be a tight battle for the remaining two rounds. This was probably the hardest track for our guys because with four out of five of them being South Island-based riders, they have hardly ridden at Hampton Downs. The next two rounds they should be able to get up to speed a little bit quicker, which is going to help our championship chances. I’m really proud of the team and couldn’t be happier with the effort from everyone involved.”
2020 NZSBK Round Three Overall
Scott Moir – 71
Daniel Mettham – 56
Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 41
Sloan Frost – 37
Lachlan Epis – 32
Jake Lewis (YZF-R1) – 32
Rogan Chandler (YZF-R6) – 75
Richie Dibben – 61
Toby Summers – 35
Dale Finch – 32
David Hall – 26
Supersport 300 (Provisional)
Nathanael Diprose – 65
Caleb Gilmore (YZF-R3) – 62
Jacob Stroud – 54
Jason Hearn (YZF-R3) – 29
Campbell Grayling (YZF-R3) – 24
Harry Parker (YZF-R3) – 20
Hamish Simpson (YZF-R15) – 65
Jacob Pierce (YZF-R15) – 52
Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R15) – 51
Oliver Cotton (YZF-R15) – 42
Olivia Goddard (YZF-R15) – 35
Jacob Skinner (YZF-R15) – 31
2020 NZSBK Race Schedule
Round One – Ruapuna – 11th & 12th January 2020
Round Two – Levels – 18th & 19th January 2020
Round Three – Hampton Downs – 7th & 8th March 2020
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