Jaden Hassan New Zealand Superbike Champion
Jaden Hassan has been crowned New Zealand Superbike Champion after another faultless performance at the fourth and final round of the 2015 series near Taupo at the weekend.
The 20-year-old Suzuki rider from Westmere became the youngest ever national champion in this premier bike category when he stormed to another impressive hat-trick of wins over the two days. This follows his three superbike races at the second round of the series near Timaru in January.
Runner-up to Hassan this season was 2014 champion Dennis Charlett, who finished a distant 42 points behind the young Aucklander, with Sloan Frost taking the third step on the series podium – and keeping his No.3 ranking from last season – finishing 18 points further back.
All three individuals conducted their respective campaigns on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 model bike.
“I had a crazy weekend at round three at Hampton Downs the week before Taupo, crashing out of one race, but, by winning pole position twice in the series, at Timaru and Taupo, and then scoring hat-tricks at both tracks, I think I proved I was the consistently fastest rider in the class,” said Hassan.
“I can’t thank my team enough, especially Ian, Keith, Nick and dad (Greg), who took all the pressure off me. All I had to do was turn up and concentrate on racing the bike.
“I was disappointed with my day at Hampton Downs because that’s really my home track, but at least I managed to bring the title home in the end.”
Hassan wrapped the title up early, after winning the first two races of the weekend at Taupo, and this allowed him to ‘play about a bit’ in the final race, popping wheelies and doing burnouts.
“I was able to just go out and enjoy myself in that last race. I couldn’t really believe it when I won the title after race two on Sunday. It didn’t really sink in at first and I was a bit numb when I was on my warm-down lap. This is the biggest moment of my career.”
Surprisingly, Hassan said he has no plans to defend his title next season.
“I think I’ll be taking a year off to travel the world a bit. I’m young and I want to do that before I’m too much older. I’ve been racing bikes since I was 12 years old and it’s such a dangerous sport … you put your life on the line every time you race and I don’t want to get to 30 and have regrets that I haven’t done anything else in my life.
“I will come back to the sport. I just want to go away and re-set myself.”
Meanwhile, Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem wrapped up the 600cc Supersport title at the weekend in what was really little more than a formality for the 22-year-old.
The Suzuki GSX-R600 star arrived at Taupo with a massive 61-point margin over the rider in runner-up spot, his own elder brother James and, with only 75 points available at Taupo, the pressure was certainly off for him.
“I only needed to finish fifth or better in the first race at Taupo to clinch the title,” said Alastair Hoogenboezem, who actually won race one, before rounding-out his big weekend with a couple of runner-up placings.
Hoogenboezem had previously won the national 125GP class title, but his 600cc class win this season is the highlight of his career.
James Hoogenboezem (24) was a little unlucky to see his runner-up position gobbled up by Auckland rider Toby Summers – the big winner in the 600cc class at the weekend with a 2-1-1 score-card – in what was one of the most fiercely-fought series this year.