Sloan Frost and Tony Rees shared the winner’s spoils at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo
Report and Photos: Terry Stevenson
In the opening Suzuki Series race Tony Rees rounded turn one first on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR1000RR and went on to lead all but the final half lap when Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSX-R1000 mounted Sloan Frost kept his cool, made his move, and held on to win.
Penny Homes Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Scott Moir, of Taupo, held second until the charging Frost made his way up the leader board. Moir took the final podium spot just ahead to Barnes Jenkins Insurance Kawasaki ZX-10R mounted Toby Summers and Horst Saiger on his Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R.
The scene was set for a big race two as riders made suspension adjustments and tyre changes to lower their lap times for that all-important win.
Tony Rees was one of them, as the Whakatane-based racer easily lead from start to finish. His 23 year old son Mitch Rees crossed the line sixth on a similar machine to round out a good day at the races for the Rees family.
“In the first race I used a tyre that had done the end of qualifying so it was going ‘off’ near the end of the first race. Sloan found a gap on the corner onto the back straight that I didn’t think I’d left – good on him.” Rees says. “In race two Sloan got a better start but I thought ‘I’ve got to have you now’, otherwise it’d be hard work, and then I put my head down. My pit board was showing plus zero for the first six laps, then I got a one, a two, and then a three second lead, so I thought ‘Right, I’m not getting jumped on the last lap this time’!”
Pole sitter and defending Suzuki Series champion Frost held second for much of the race however the Wellington-based refrigeration engineer began dropping back as the laps wore on.
At the same time, Liechtenstein international Saiger began moving up through the field with a spirited ride into second position by flag fall. Despite Moir’s efforts Frost ended the race third, with Summers rounding out the top five after passing Mitch Rees on the last lap.
“It was really satisfying because I had to come from fourth place after a bad start. It is quite a tough track so you have to be quite aggressive, so it took me a while to get past everybody, so I’m happy. The bike has been great, the suspension was working well and the Pirelli tyres were good.”
Frost said he ran out of grip during race two which caused him to drop a place. Saiger ended the day with a fifth and a second position as his team improved his Kawasaki.
“In the first race we made some improvements to the bike from qualifying so it better, but I lost some grip on the rear. We changed some things for the second race and the grip and braking were much better.”
The Suzuki Series is the richest international motorcycle series in NZ with $36,550 series prizemoney and rewards consistency as much as winning, with 25 points awarded for first place, 22 for second and 20 for third.
With Frost’s single point awarded for Pole position, the 35 year old heads into round two at Manfeild on Sunday just one point behind Tony Rees.
Damon Rees owned the Suzuki Series F2 600 class all day on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR600RR after setting a stunning pole time which would have put him seventh on the F1 Superbike grid.
The youngest Rees in the family lead both F2 600 heats from start to finish and was never challenged on his way to take his first national-level victories.
The next best-dressed was Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R mounted Shane Richardson, of Wellingtonian, who was second on each occasion.
Third position was locked up by Aucklander Nathanael Diprose on his RCM Suzuki GSX-R600.
“In the first race we struggled with the rear grip so we went back to the same Pirelli tyre we qualified on for the second race, and straight away we had more grip. It’s pretty cool to be leading and pulling away, and quite comfortably, I could have kept doing those lap times all race. This morning was my first major race win!”
Damon Rees leads Richardson by seven points and he will need each and every one of them as Richardson won both hard-fought F2 600 battles on his home track last year.
Two-time Isle of Man Sidecar TT winner John Holden (Britain) and Kiwi passenger Bobbie Shorter won both legs of the F1 Sidecar races on his LCR Honda 600 powered machine, ahead of the Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan F2 combination.
Third position was shared between the Pete ‘Pirate’ Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop pairing, and Chris Lawrance and Richard Lawrance who were third in race two.
“We didn’t expect to win against the 1000s before coming here, not at all! This track lends itself to a little bike more, apart from the long back straight, so if you can get a good start and get around the twisty corners you’re not so bad.” Holden started from Pole and beat all the more powerful 1000cc ‘outfits’ into the first corner. “This has about 130 brake horsepower and they have nearly 200hp, so I think they must get a bit anxious to get off the line, with wheel spin.”
Multi-Suzuki Series F1 Sidecar champions Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawe qualified second fastest however the Auckland pair suffered a nasty crash during qualifying and didn’t make the startline due to machine damage. Both riders were uninjured.
The Formula 3 class was sewn up by Glen Skachill, of Wellington, on his i-Tools NSR300 two stroke race bike. Taumarunui rider Leigh Tidman was the only rider to challenge Skachill during the single completed F3 race that day, with Tidman making some hard passes on his Jilesen Contractors RS450 during their great Wellington vs Taumarunui tussle. Auckland’s Gavin Veltmeyer brought his GVR645 home third ahead of Eddie Kattenburg.
Race two was stopped after one lap due to a rider fall – fortunate for Tidman because his bike had already expired and he had to pull out.
The race was not restarted due to track time constraints leaving Tidman trailing Skachill by four points in the Suzuki Series, with Veltmeyer only two points behind on 20 points, to make for an exciting duel at Manfeild this Sunday.
Post Classic Senior
Glen Skachill had a good day as he also won both legs of the Post Classic Senior category on his fast Bimota YB8. Eddie Kattenberg, of Napier, placed second on a similar machine in the first heat while Rotorua’s Peter Smith brought his Suzuki GSXR1100 home a fine third.
In the second race Jay Lawrence pressured Skachill for a short time however his Suzuki GSX1100 was no match for the more modern Bimota, leaving Lawrence to take second, with Kattenberg third. Lawrence failed to make the race one startline due to a battery failure.
Skachill heads to Manfeild on Sunday with a handy nine point lead in the Post Classic Suzuki Series, while Aucklander Scott Finlay leads the Post Classic Junior series by a single point from Dean Bentley of Lower Hutt.
Suzuki Series Supermoto
Richard Dibben has the speed over all his Supermoto rivals however each year the Whanganui rider has difficulty translating that into series points to win the Suzuki Series Supermoto title.
Such is his incredible corner speed, Dibben enjoyed a 100m lead over Tauranga’s Duncan Hart by the half way stage of race one. Dibben went on to win, with Hart second.
Jette Josiah looked to have third in the bag however the young Taumarunui rider crashed on the third lap which allowed Ashton Hughes, of Bulls, to grab the final rostrum position.
Dibben completed just three laps during Supermoto race two, handing Hart an unchallenged win and a handy nine point series lead over Hughes. Whanganui’s Aden Brown enjoyed a better race two to record second position, with fellow Whangaui rider Ben Dowman third.
The BEARS senior racing were dominated by two BMW riders who scrapped it out on their S 1000 RR machines, especially during their final race. Tauranga’s Colin MacGregor held out Nick Southerwood of Auckland each time, while Ashton Hughes grabbed third in both heats on his smaller 675cc Triumph after leading the opening laps of the first race.
Hughes leads the Suzuki Series BEARS junior category ahead of Jaden Galway, of Masterton, ridding a similar machine.
The Suzuki Series heads to Manfeild this Sunday where 13-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael Dunlop joins the series on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 superbike.
27-year-old Dunlop is the fastest man ever around the Isle of Man where he set a record 215.591kmh (133.962 mph) average speed during the Senior TT on June 10. How fast will he be able to learn a new circuit and adapt to a new superbike to take on the Kiwis and internationals?
After a successfully testing a sidecar last Saturday, there is a possibility that Michael Dunlop will race a Carl Cox Motorsport sidecar on Sunday at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon. If it goes ahead it will be Dunlop’s first ever sidecar race.
Early-bird tickets for all rounds round are available at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz and go in the draw to win a $2,995 Suzuki UK110 scooter in MotoGP colours – drawn outside Suzuki NZ headquarters at Whanganui after the racing. The winner will be notified within six days.
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