Sunday, August 23

STROUD RETURNS

Will Andrew Stroud be giving the all-new GSX-R1000 its world racing debut in New Zealand next year?
At the age of 20 Jaden Hassan became New Zealand's youngest Superbike champion earlier this year - and promptly retired to give himself a break from racing.
So Suzuki would be deprived of having the number one plate holder in action in the short New Zealand Championship spanning just two months early next year.
But what's this?  A man old enough to be Hassan's father is pulling on his body armour ready for a return to the fray.  Yes, 47-year-old father of ten Andrew Stroud will be defending Suzuki's honour in the New Zealand Superbike Championship in 2016.
After an almost 30 year career in motorcycle racing, Stroud announced his retirement in August 2013.  But he has never been far from a race track with eldest son Jacob having taken up the sport. 
"I have continued to go to race meetings anyway, helping my eldest boy (16-year-old) Jacob with his riding and racing.  During this time I have been out for an occasional ride too, just for fun, and I loved it," said Stroud.
"Jacob has been showing some promise and Suzuki have offered him a 600cc bike too, so he will be able to step up a class and it will be great for the two of us to share our experiences together.

"I have always loved racing bikes. It brings me alive like nothing else. It's an exciting sport to be in.

"The motorcycling community is like a family to me too and it will be great to join the top riders again on the race track. There are a lot of fast riders in the Superbike class.  The starting grids have not had huge numbers but the depth of talent is huge.  I don't expect anything will be easy for me."

Stroud has nine New Zealand premier class (either Formula 1 or Superbike) Championships to his name - will 2016 see him make that an even ten?