Tuesday, December 29

STROUD BACK ON TRACK - RETAINS SERIES TITLE

Andrew Stroud is back on track.
Following a day beset by problems at the opening round of the Suzuki International Tri Series at Manfeild a week ago, Hamilton’s Stroud struck gold at the second round of the series on the streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day.
The Tri Series defending champion took his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to runner-up spot in the day’s opening race on Wanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Saturday, “boiling brake fluid” forcing him to relinquish his lead to main rival Craig Shirriffs, of Feilding, but Stroud was unstoppable in the next two outings.
It was also the turn for Shirriffs to strike a little bad luck as he crashed out of the second superbike race, thus swinging the series advantage back in favour of Stroud.
The two men have now each recorded two wins, a second placing and a dnf in their four Tri Series superbike outings and it will go down to the wire at Monday’s third and final round at Taupo to decide the title.
In addition, Stroud won the coveted Robert Holden Memorial feature race, snatching the lead from Shirriffs on the final lap.
“Craig came past me early in the memorial race and then I got blocked by back-markers. Then he got held up and I lined him up on the last lap and passed him right on Suzuki corner. It couldn’t have been better really.
“I didn’t have a great weekend at Manfeild but it worked out for me here today,” said Stroud.
Wanganui pair Stephen Bron and Dennis Simonsen won the F1 sidecars class on their Suzuki LCR, while New Plymouth’s Terry Fitzgerald and Palmerston North’s Glen Williams resumed their dog-fighting from Manfeild as they made it a Suzuki 1-2 in the Formula three-class.
Defending national F3 champion Williams had the upper hand at Manfeild but it was arch rival Fitzgerald, on another Suzuki SV650, who ended up on top at Wanganui.
It’s looking like being another fierce battle between these two great riders in 2010.

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STROUD RETAINS SERIES TITLE

A cool head and years of experience paid rich dividends for Hamilton father-of-seven Andrew Stroud on Monday.
It was a must-win situation when the Suzuki star arrived at Taupo’s Centennial Race Circuit for Monday’s third and final round of the Suzuki International Tri Series.
He was level in the points standings with arch rival Craig Shirriffs, of Feilding, after the pair had scored identical results at rounds one and two – at Manfeild a fortnight ago and on the streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day – but the deadlock was broken in the first of two races at Taupo’s finale on Monday.
The weather played a big part and seven-time former New Zealand superbike champion Stroud guessed right with his tyre choice in race one, opting for slick tyres while the more cautious Shirriffs picked grooved rubber.
The rain that threatened never arrived and Stroud was able to race away to a commanding victory while Shirriffs was forced to withdraw, his tyres not up to the pace.
"Then it started spitting again and that made it quite greasy, so I had to slow down," Stroud said.
But the points were already in the bag and sensible riding in the next outing was all that was required for Stroud to successfully defend the crown he won last year.
But Stroud raced to the lead and, although Shirriffs challenged hard, it was Stroud in front at the finish, the title staying in his hands.
Stroud said he now felt very well prepared for the New Zealand Superbike Championships, which kick off at Christchurch’s Ruapuna circuit o January 16.
For the pre-season Tri Series, Stroud won races at all three rounds, and also set lap records at Manfeild and Taupo, and then won the Robert Holden Memorial feature race at Wanganui.
Wellington teenager Glen Skachill (Suzuki) won the tri Series’ Formula 2 title and New Plymouth veteran Terry Fitzgerald (Suzuki) won the Formula 3 category.
Results from the Taupo international motorcycling tri-series races on Monday:

Superbikes:
  • 1. Race 1: Andrew Stroud (Hamilton) Suzuki 1, Sloan Frost (Hamilton) Suzuki 2, Ray Clee (Kumeu) Suzuki 3.
  • 2. Race 2: Stroud 1, Craig Shirriffs (Fielding) Honda 2, Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth) Honda 3.
  • 3. Series winner: Stroud.

Formula 2:
  • 1. Race 1: Jamie Galway (Masterton) Honda 1, Paul Dobbs (Waiuku) Ducati 2, Sam Love (Taur) Yamaha 3.
  • 2. Race 2: Love 1, Galway 2, Karl Morgan (Auckland ) Suzuki 3.
  • 3. Series winner: Glen Skachill (Wellington) Suzuki.

Formula 3:
  • 1. Race 1: Terry Fitzgerald (New Plymouth) Suzuki 1, Jason Easton (Palmerston North) Tigcraft-Aprilia 2, Russell Josiah (Taumaranui) Suzuki 3.
  • 2. Race 2: Fitzgerald 1, Glen Williams (Palmerston North) Suzuki 2, Easton 3.
  • 3. Series winner: Fitzgerald.
Source: Suzuki NZ