SUZUKI SERIES WARMING UP FOR SUMMER SHOWDOWN
CAPTION: British sidecar duo Tim Reeves (driver) and Patrick Farrance (swinger) will make their first trip to New Zealand this summer. Photo by Mark Walters
OCTOBER 27, 2015: Hold your breath, buckle up your helmet, strap yourself down and brace for another glorious summer of superbike race action.
The popular Suzuki Series is set to kick off again in December and Whanganui-based promoter Allan ‘Flea’ Willacy has already been run off his feet trying to process entries.
A slew of international superstars have been inked into the series programme and more are on the way before the three-round series’ first race, set for Waikato’s undulating Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on Sunday, December 6.
Round two is set for Manfeild, on the outskirts of Feilding, on Sunday, a week later on December 13, with the third and final round on the closed-off public streets of Whanganui on Boxing Day (December 26).
Perhaps the most exciting news is that British sidecar pairing Tim Reeves (driver) and Patrick Farrance (swinger) will make their first trip to New Zealand and the dynamic duo will be bringing their championship-winning rig with them.
They are five-time world champions and have also tasted success on the notorious Isle of Man, which may mean that, even without any previous experience racing on them, the New Zealand tracks will hold no fears for them.
West Australian sidecar champions Des Harvey and Dirk Jeal will also add to the international flavour of this class, although they can expect to be severely tested by the elite Kiwi crews.
It is big news also that defending Suzuki Series formula one class champion Horst Saiger, from the German-speaking principality of Liechtenstein, between Switzerland and Austria, is returning and he will again ride the big 1000cc Kawasaki for the Hamilton-based Red Devil Racing Team.
Saiger’s team-mate, Swiss superbike champion Roman Stamm, from Switzerland, will make the trip to New Zealand this summer, the two men in hot form after finishing third in the world endurance championships.
With Whakatane’s Tony Rees also entered again, it means the international contingent can expect a hot reception. Rees is a former New Zealand superbike champion and a multi-time winner of the Boxing Day spectacular around Whanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit, the traditional finale to the Suzuki Series.
New Zealand’s former Isle of Man winner Sean ‘Gremlin’ Harris, of New Plymouth, will be a crowd favourite too, along with fellow Kiwi internationals Avalon Biddle and Connor London and extremely talented Whanganui racer Jayden Carrick.
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 for a Kawasaki for the Biggles Racing Team in the formula two class.
Redmayne, a British Army paratrooper, is no stranger to the New Zealand race tracks, making dozens of friend when he raced here last season.
Expatriate Kiwi John Woodley, now resident in Australia, will race in the Bears (non-Japanese bikes) class, while Japan’s Yoshi Kishimoto will arrive to race in the formula two class.
In addition, 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.
Isle of Man racer Dan Kneen and Germany’s Thomas Kreutz have yet to confirm their entries, but they will have to be quick with spaces on the starting grid filling up rapidly.
The Suzuki Series is the first big hit-out for the racers ahead of the four-round New Zealand Superbike Championships with that competition following soon after the Suzuki Series wraps up – round one of the nationals set for Ruapuna Raceway, on the outskirts of Christchurch, on January 9-10.
Early bird tickets for Boxing Day’s Cemetery circuit are available online for $25, saving $10 on the regular price, also ensuring a chance to be in the draw to win a Suzuki UK110 scooter, decked out in GP colours.
Credit: Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com