Suzuki Series: Two Wheels, three legs
POPULAR SUZUKI MOTORBIKE SERIES IS COMING SOON TO A TRACK NEAR YOU
The revs are building for the Suzuki Series, the popular annual competition that threatens to rival the official NZ Superbike Championships for status and popularity.
Whanganui-based promoter Allan ‘Flea’ Willacy anticipates another exciting spectacle kicking off at Hampton Downs this weekend and winding up in his home town on Boxing Day.
The undulating Waikato track is ready to receive a slew of interational stars for practice and qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday.
Round two is set for Manfeild a week later with the final round on the closed-off Whanganui streets — the famous Cemetery Circuit.
British sidecar pairing Tim Reeves (driver) and Patrick Farrance (swinger) will make their first trip to New Zealand, bringing their championship-winning rig.
The five-time world champions have also tasted success on the Isle of Man, which may mean that our tracks will hold no fears for them.
West Australian sidecar champions Des Harvey and Dirk Jeal will also add to the international flavour, although they can expect to be severely tested by the elite Kiwi crews.
Defending formula one class champion Horst Saiger (Liechtenstein) will again ride the big 1000cc Kawasaki for the Hamilton-based Red Devil Racing Team.
Saiger’s team-mate, Swiss superbike champion Roman Stamm, will make the trip, the two men in hot form after finishing third in the world endurance championships.
With Tony Rees (Whakatane) also entered again, the international contingent can expect a hot reception. Rees is a former NZ superbike champion and a multiple winner of the Cemetery Circuit finale.
Former Isle of Man winner Sean ‘Gremlin’ Harris (New Plymouth) will be a crowd favourite, along with fellow Kiwi internationals Avalon Biddle and Connor London and talented Whanganui racer Jayden Carrick.
Biddle has just returned from Europe after winning the first Women’s European Cup.
Isle of Man resident and racer Billy Redmayne, who won the Manx Grand Prix 600cc class and became a lap record-holder there this year, will be riding a Kawasaki in the formula two class.
Redmayne, a British Army paratrooper, raced here last season.
Expat John Woodley returns from Australia to race in the Bears (non-Japanese bikes) class, while Yoshi Kishimoto (Japan) will race in formula two.
Popular Porirua racer Glen Skachill makes a welcome return to the sport, while the rapid rise of Taupo youngster Roman Rajek will be worth plotting during the series, along with that of Jacob Stroud (Hamilton), son of nine-time national superbike champion Andrew Stroud.
Thomas Wendle (formerly Kreutz, of Germany) is back for another taste of 600cc action.
He will again come up against former 600cc champion Toby Summers, the Aucklander who will also race a 1000cc bike in the superbike class.
The series is the first big hit-out for the racers before the four-round NZ Superbike Championships.
Round one of that competition is set for Ruapuna Raceway, Christchurch, on January 9-10.