by Andy McGechan
Motorcycle road-racing can appeal to all ages, both genders and even to riders with no previous experience, thanks especially to Suzuki New Zealand’s popular 150cc GIXXER bikes.
And the fast-approaching 2023-24 race season will again introduce fresh new talent onto the nation’s most famous and popular racing circuits.
Essentially a commuter road bike and not actually a full-blown racing machine, the joy of racing Suzuki’s popular bike with the GIXXER moniker – with the official model designation of Suzuki GSX150F – is something that has to be experienced to be believed.
While it’s a cheap entry-level option for the aspiring racer, it is no less exciting and no less of a challenge than it is to throw a leg over a 300cc bike, a 600cc motorcycle or even perhaps a 1000cc superbike.
While racing speeds might be a little slower on the 150cc bikes, it’s still handlebar-to-handlebar stuff when riders are sharing the racetrack with like-minded individuals, all aboard identical machines and, like the small-bike Moto3 class of world championship fame, the race action is sure to be a frantic, thrill-a-minute spectacle.
Suzuki New Zealand has a fresh supply of GIXXER bikes here for the coming road-racing season and, in addition, the company is now offering extra incentive with $10,000 in prize money to be distributed among the best-performed GIXXER Cup class riders.
“So, we now have a special contingency payment reward system in place that will make this contest even more attractive,” said Suzuki New Zealand’s general manager of Motorcycle/ATV/Marine, Simon Meade.
The $10,000 prize pool will be split equally between the genders, with $5000 to be allocated proportionately to the top five male riders and another $5000 shared among the top five females in the competition.
“We have 30 new bikes, still in their shipping crates, available for those riders entering this class in the upcoming Suzuki International series.
“With a $3500 price tag for a Suzuki GSX150F GIXXER bike, it’s a cheap option for riders wanting to give road-racing a go in this entry-level competition.
“Only minor changes are allowed to be made to the GIXXER motorcycles before they go racing, so that also keeps the costs down and, at the same time, it ensures a level playing field for all the riders.”
The 2023 Suzuki International Series is currently preparing to kick off at the Taupo International Motorsport Park on December 2-3, followed a week later by round two at Feilding’s Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon.
The third and final round of the Suzuki International Series is, as usual, set for the public streets of Whanganui, the world-famous Cemetery Circuit, to run on Boxing Day, and the 150cc racers will be an integral part of the programme there as well.
All riders in the GIXXER Cup class will be mounted on identical Suzuki GSX150F bikes and so racing is therefore virtually guaranteed to be close and exciting.
And it has certainly been that over the past few years, not to mention the fact that this class of racing has kick-started quite a few young riders on to achieving greater things, individuals such as Tapiri’s Zak Fuller (who stepped up from a Suzuki GSX150F to race a 600cc bike in 2021 and then to a 1000cc superbike for the 2022-23 season that wrapped up in March).
Other GIXXER riders who have lit up the race track in recent times include Palmerston North’s Justin Maunder, Whanganui quartet Tarbon Walker, Cameron Goldfinch, Caleb Gilmore and Luca Durning, Hamilton’s Jesse Stroud, Sanson’s Shane Miller, Feilding’s Scott Hawkes, Waiuku’s Hamish Simpson, Christchurch’s Sam Guthrie, Paeroa’s Blake Ross, Greymouth’s Clark Fountain, Pukekohe’s Thomas Newton, Timaru’s Harry Parker, Tapiri’s Billee Fuller and Dunedin’s Olivia Goddard (all of these riders later moving up to race bigger and the more-powerful bikes), just to name a few.
In addition to Billee Fuller and Olivia Goddard, some of the other rising star female racers who have immersed themselves in GIXXER Cup racing over the past few seasons include Madi Berry, Eve Scrivener, Angela Charlett, Olivia Goddard, Georgia Elvin, Sarah Humphrey, Emma Dowman, Lucy Dowman, Turiana Banks, Mihi Banks and Shari Johnson and no doubt many more will follow in their wheel tracks in the years to come.
Contact Suzuki NZ if you are interested in getting on board.
The 2023 Suzuki International Series calendar:
Round one, Taupo, on December 2-3;
Round two, Manfeild, on December 9-10;
Round three, Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day (December 26).
CAPTION: The Suzuki GIXXER 150 class is the perfect place to start motorcycle racing … and the level playing field offered by this competition means close and exciting racing is virtually guaranteed. This photo shows Whanganui’s Luca Durning leading the way. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ