Monday, March 28

STROUD WRAPS UP SUPERBIKE TITLE

Andrew Stroud Takes Number 9.
Words & Pic by Andy McGechan

Superbike title No.9 is in the bag.

Hamilton’s Andrew Stroud now has one round up his sleeve as he raced his Suzuki to title No.9 at the fourth round of five in this season’s Castrol Power 1 New Zealand Superbike Championships at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on Sunday.

The fifth and final round is set for this weekend at Manfeild, just outside Palmerston North, but the Waikato man can have a weekend at home if he now feels like it.

Stroud won both races on a damp track at Hampton Downs, foiling any attempt by Australia’s three-time former Kiwi champion Robbie Bugden (Suzuki) to regain the title he lost to Stroud in 2010.

“I will still go to Manfeild and race to win there,” declared the 43-year-old Stroud.

“This is a job that’s hard to beat ... I enjoy it so much.”

Also crowned at the weekend was Timaru’s Johnny Small (Suzuki), scoring a hat-trick of wins to easily wrap up the 650 Pro Twins title, while Tapanui’s Seth Deveraux (Kawasaki) put himself out of reach in the Prolite 250 class with another hat-trick of wins at the weekend.

Taranaki’s Terry Fitzgerald (Suzuki) won the weekend in the Superlites division with a 2-1-1 score-line but he remains third in the championship standings, behind Foxton’s Jason Easton (Aprilia) and Palmerston North’s Glen Williams (Suzuki).

In the 600cc supersport class, Christchurch’s Dennis Charlett (Suzuki) finished 5-1 to extend his series lead over nearest rival John Ross (Yamaha), also of Christchurch.

Charlett now leads Ross by 29 points.

In the 600 superstock class, Auckland teenager Jaden Hassan (Yamaha) twice finished runner-up to back-from-injury Sam Love (Yamaha) and that was enough for him to take over the championship lead from Inglewood’s Midge Smart (Yamaha), who managed third in the first race but came off his bike in the second outing and scored no points.

Rangiora’s Jake Lewis (Honda) stretched his lead in the 125GP class, despite giving up the TT title to Orewa’s Avalon Biddle (Honda), who took that honour by winning the deciding third 125cc race of the weekend.

Other TT trophy winners on Sunday were Stroud (superbikes), Charlett (600 supersport), Love (600 superstock), Small, (Pro Twins), Deveraux (Prolite 250) and Fitzgerald (Superlites).