Sloan Frost leads Suzuki Series
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Horst Saiger won both legs in windy conditions at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon on Sunday, although Sloan Frost has snatched the lead in the 2016 Suzuki Series.
The day began at record pace when Sloan Frost fired his Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 almost a second under the F1 Superbike race lap record to collect the vital single point for Pole position.
But it was 45 year old Saiger who crossed the line first in the opening F1 Superbike race on his Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R. With the first five racing within a wheel length of each other and the front three riders smashing into the lead at different times, the high-speed freight train turned into a thriller and no one could predict the outcome.
Horst Saiger ahead of Sloan Frost & Daniel Mettam at Manfeild on Sunday. Photo / Terry Stevenson
2015 Suzuki Series F2 600 and current NZ Supersport champion Mettam became the sensation of the meeting when he stormed into the lead on his Team RCM Suzuki GSXR1000 mid-race. A minor mistake while passing a lapped rider caused Mettam to run wide could have robbed the 20 year old of a gallant victory.
Liechtenstein-based Saiger admits to being lucky to take the win after mid-race leader Aucklander Daniel Mettam ran wide with three laps remaining, handing Saiger a small gap over Frost until race end.
Saiger says, "In the first race everybody was on the same pace. I struggled a little bit during braking as the front felt really soft. For the second race I changed this by making the bike a little higher at the front to have more stability during braking and better grip on the rear, out of the corners. Mettam was crazy how late he was braking but I say 'thank you' to him because one time be braked too late and so I could go back into the lead. I was just lucky in the first race."
Mettam followed Frost over the line to take his first international-level podium position on a superbike. Tony Rees was fourth after setting the fastest time of the day and a new F1 Superbike lap record of 1:05.196s on his Rider Insurance CBR1000RR. Alastair Hoegenboezem finished fifth during a one-off Suzuki Series appearance on his Triple R Superbike Team CBR1000RR, after a race-long tussle with Rees.
Mettam surprised everyone when he took the race two holeshot and lead the field until Saiger moved into the lead on the second lap, which he held to the end. While the top five race two finishers remained the same, the winner wasn't decided until Saiger took the chequered flag after Frost had clawed his way up to Saiger at the front, but was unable to make a pass on the European in the closing stages.
Michael Dunlop. Photo / Terry Stevenson
Michael Dunlop didn't finish the first race although he made amends with a solid sixth place on a Suzuki NZ GSXR1000 during race two for the Northern Irishman as he came to grips with the new bike. Dunlop chose not to race a sidecar in order to concentrate on his superbike effort.
With 91 points Sloan Frost leads the Suzuki Series from Horst Saiger by just three points heading into the final round at Whanganui on Boxing Day. In third, Tony Rees is eight points behind Frost and cannot be discounted for overall victory as he is extraordinarily fast around the Cemetery Circuit.
Whakatane racer Damon Rees won both legs of the Suzuki Series F2 600 class on his Honda Rider Insurance CBR600RR at record pace, each time ahead of his closest challenger Shane Richardson, of Wellington.
Damian Rees. Photo / Terry Stevenson
Aucklander Nathanael Diprose surprised the pair of them when he shot into the lead during race one, although it wasn't long before Rees and Richardson, on his Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX-6R, relegated the RCM Suzuki GSXR600 rider to third, which he held for the rest of the race.
Diprose was leading race two when he crashed on the seventh lap which gifted Rees his second win of the day, and fourth of the Suzuki Series. Wellingtonian Rogan Chandler impressed the spectators by taking a fine third on his TSS Red Baron Triumph 675.
With 101 points Rees enjoys a 12 point buffer over Richardson heading into the final round at Whanganui on December 26.
Barry Smith & Tracey Bryan hold off John Holden & Robbie Shorter. Photo / Terry Stevenson
Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan took victory in both F1 Sidecar races on their fast Carl Cox Motorsport Suzuki F1 'chair'.British sidecar rider John Holden and kiwi passenger Robbie Shorter were second in the opening leg on their visibly slower Barnes Racing LCR Honda 600 F2 machine, and were relegated to third in race two by Spike Taylor and Craig Pedersen on their Mobility Wairarapa LCR GSXR1000 sidecar.
The Warkworth-based Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance brothers came home a fighting third during race one after a battle with the Pete 'Pirate' Goodwin/Kendal Dunlop pairing on their Shorai Anderson R1 sidecar.
John Holden and Robbie Shorter head to Whanganui tied on 94 points with Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan, who plan to race their smaller F2 sidecar to be more competitive around the twisting Cemetery Circuit.
The action continues at Whanganui on Boxing Day for the final round of the Suzuki Series.