Monday, December 13


It was impossible to make predictions about winners and grinners before this year’s Suzuki International Tri Series motorcycle event began and now that’s perhaps doubly so, even after the competition kicked off at Hampton Downs on Saturday.
The day was full of surprises at the new circuit just north of Huntly with virtually nothing to separate the leading riders in the premier superbike class when the dust had settled at the end of the day.
Tauranga racer Sloan Frost leads the superbike class by the narrowest of margins with a flock of high-flying Suzuki riders hot on his heels.
There are just 11 points to separate the top four riders with Frost just one point in front of three-time New Zealand superbike champion Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSX-R1000), of Australia, while Hamilton’s Andrew Stroud and Feilding’s Craig Shirriffs, on identical Suzuki machinery, are very close behind.
The pace was incredible in the opening superbike encounter with pole-winner Bugden and Frost locked in a fierce battle, while Stroud was forced to play catch-up after a slow start.
The pace was so hot that the top four riders all lapped under the old lap record, previously held by Stroud, but it was Frost who crossed the line first, followed by Stroud, Bugden and fellow Australian Dan Stauffer.
Bugden then went out in the next race and shattered the lap record on his way to a convincing win, with Frost forced to settle for second, just ahead of Shirriffs, Stroud and Hamilton’s Nick Cole.
With his 1-2 results in the two superbike races, Frost enjoys a one-point series points lead over Bugden, but he can take nothing for granted because Suzuki trio Stroud, Bugden and Shirriffs pose very serious threats and will no doubt come on strong at round two at Manfeild this coming weekend and at the third and final round on the public streets of Wanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.
Stroud and Shirriffs, in particular, are extremely familiar with and blindingly fast on the streets of Wanganui and it will perhaps be there, the day after Christmas, where the Tri Series will actually be decided.
Stroud is both the Suzuki International Tri Series defending champion and also the defending national superbike champion and his 2-3 results on Saturday put him right in the picture to retain his No.1 plate.
Other stand-outs on Saturday included Wellington Suzuki rider Glen Skachill, who won the F2 600 Supers class, New Plymouth’s Terry Fitzgerald (Suzuki), who won the F3 Sports Bikes class and Auckland’s Graham Moorhead, who rode an old Suzuki GS1000 to win the Post Classics, pre-89 division.

Source: SuzukiNZ