Monday, December 21


Wellington's Glen Skachill (Suzuki), in scintillating form at Manfeild on Saturday. Photo by Andy McGechan,

He may be only 19 years old, but Wellington fitter and turner Glen Skachill races motorcycles like a man with many years of experience.
In only his first season on board the Suzuki GSX-R600, Skachill is already clocking up wins with monotonous regularity in the 600 sports production class and he added another three impressive race victories when the Suzuki International Tri Series kicked off at Manfeild on Saturday.
Skachill took his Museum Hotel Suzuki GSX-R600 to the front early in each of his 600cc class outings and even broke the Manfeild lap record in one race as he went on to pocket maximum points from the weekend's work.
Skachill finished a solid eight points clear of Christchurch Yamaha rider John Ross and a further four points ahead of the third-ranked rider, Inglewood's Midge Smart (Suzuki).
Then, just to give himself extra track time, Skachill took his second bike, the lightly-modified Ozzy Performance spec GSX-R600 to race in the superbike class as well.
There he raced to fifth and sixth placing, to end the day fifth overall, just five points behind fellow Suzuki rider Sloan Frost (GSX-R1000), of Hamilton.
He now prepares for his first tilt at the national 600 sports production class title -- the five-round New Zealand Superbike Championships kick off at Ruapuna, Christchurch, on January 17.
"This will be my first full national championship campaign and I'm really looking forward to it," said Skachill.
"Of the South Island rounds, I've only raced at Ruapuna once before, so Levels (Timaru) and Teretonga (Invercargill) will be foreign to me. But I think I'm a pretty quick learner. I broke the lap record in my class at Pukekohe the first time I raced there."
Meanwhile, the formula three class looks like it will be another Williams and Fitzgerald show this summer.
Manawatu's Glen Williams (Suzuki SV650) and Taranaki's Terry Fitzgerald (Suzuki SV650) were hard to separate all weekend as they shared wins in the F3 class.
Third best in the class was another Suzuki rider, Wanganui's Ashley Payne.
"I'm going quicker now than at the same time last season," said F3 national No.1 Williams. "Terry pushed me all day and I can see he's going to be my biggest threat again this season."
Fitzgerald was also very satisfied with his racing on Saturday, his first outing this season.
"I have not done a lot of riding over the winter, so it was good to come here and blow the cobwebs out," said the 51-year-old Bell Block man.
"My lap times were competitive and I set the fastest lap time (in the class)."
Although Fitzgerald finished 2-1-2 to Williams' 1-2-1, it is Fitzgerald who leads the Tri Series standings (on count-back) because the third race was a non-points race.
"I think it's going to be very close between me and Glen this season, but I also think New Plymouth's Jason Nairn will be in the mix," said Fitzgerald.
Suzuki's Nairn was a non starter on Saturday.
Hamilton's Andrew Stroud, the defending Tri Series champion in the superbike class, had a weekend to forget.
He did not finish the first race because of a minor technical problem with his after-market rear wheel. He came back to win race two but is now forced to play catch-up for points through the rest of the series.
"It was an accessory wheel and the first time I've used it and there was a circlip missing," said Stroud. "It's very tough for me to catch up to (series leader) Craig Shirriffs now. But I'm thrilled with how the bike is going.
Source : Suzuki NZ