Suzuki 1-2-3 Of Superbike Class
His title hopes were buried two months ago, but Taupo’s Scott Moir is no quitter and he again proved his trophy-winning potential at the weekend, this time at the third round of four in the 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships.
The 33-year-old father-of-one led a Suzuki clean sweep at Hampton Downs at the weekend, Moir’s 2-1-3 score-card in the three Superbike races giving him the edge over series leader Sloan Frost, the Wellington man taking a “safe and sensible” approach to protect his points lead, while a third Suzuki rider, Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam, claimed the third step on the podium.
It has been a mostly stellar season for Moir thus far – he won the Formula One class at the pre-nationals Suzuki Series, which wrapped up with the iconic street races at Whanganui on Boxing Day, and then he also won the F1 class at Paeroa’s Battle of the Streets race meeting last month.
The only reason that Moir does not represent a greater threat to Frost’s national title bid is that he crashed his bike in both the earlier rounds in the South Island.
Frost refused to be drawn into some of the intense battling that took place at the weekend, “doing just what was required” to continue his relentless march towards the 2018 championship title.
That policy worked a treat too, because Frost avoided tangling with trouble, while several of his key rivals each suffered disastrous crashes.
Frost had started the weekend a solid 24 points ahead of his nearest challenger, Whakatane Honda man Mitch Rees, and his 1-3-4 score-card over the three Superbike class races was surprisingly enough for him to boost to 47 points his advantage over Rees.
Rees, Mettam, Australian visitor Robbie Bugden (Yamaha), Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem (BMW), Ree’s younger brother Damon Rees (Honda) and Lower Hutt’s Jay Lawrence (Suzuki) each crashed out of a race at the weekend.
Perhaps the Superbike class title chase could be considered a battle of attrition and, with that in mind, Frost said he was “taking nothing for granted” and would be careful not to make any mistakes at the final round in Taupo in two weeks’ time.
The points leaders in each of the other championship classes remain safely on top, for now, although the intensity of the racing at Hampton Downs would surely suggest that nothing is guaranteed in this sport and anything could still happen at Taupo’s final round at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on March 17-18.
Other class leaders after the weekend’s third round of four in the 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships are: Christchurch’s Jake Lewis (600 Supersport); Tauranga’s Regan Phibbs (Supersport 300); Hamilton’s Jordan Burley (650 Pro Twins); Christchurch’s Nick Cain (250cc Production); Huia’s Nathanael Diprose (Superlites); Rodney’s Blayes Heaven (125GP); Pukekohe’s Thomas Newton (GIXXER Cup); and Auckland’s Peter Goodwin and Kendal Dunlop (Sidecars).
The superbike nationals at Hampton Downs at the weekend were run in conjunction with the inaugural Mike Pero MotoFest, a massive “festival of motorcycling” that included demonstrations by Kiwi international freestyle motocross exponents Levi Sherwood, Caleb Delacy and Nick Franklin and a Moto Trials display featuring record eight-time national moto trials champion Jake Whitaker, from Wainuiomata, and Wellington’s rising international star Dylan Ball, among others.
The MotoFest programme also featured meet-and-greet and autograph sessions with international motorcycling legends such as American MotoGP star Randy Mamola, sports commentator and former British champion Steve Parrish, Australian heroes Kevin Magee and Robbie Phillis rubbing shoulders with Kiwi icons Andrew Stroud (in action on the worldfamous, Kiwi-built Britten motorcycle), Hugh Anderson, Stu Avant and Aaron Slight, to name just a few.