8 January 2012
Top Superbike racers need to strike back
The favourites need to go all-out to make up lost ground when the second round of the Castrol Power1 Superbike
championships are run at Timaru this weekend.
Almost all the fancied riders ran into some strife in the opening round at Ruapuna last weekend, especially nine-times
champion Andrew Stroud who crashed out of the Grand Prix feature race after finishing only fourth in the preliminary
heat with a faulty fuel filter on his David Reid Homes Suzuki.
“I’ve got some catching up to do,” the 44-year-old Hamilton rider said, adding it was fortunate for him that most of his
rivals had also suffered setbacks.
Former champion Robbie Bugden from Australia is the effective leader of the championship even though his Suzuki failed
during the second part of the Grand Prix. He won the preliminary race and the first part of the GP – and he says he is
really fired up this season after losing the 2011 championship to Stroud while riding with an injury.
Another Australian, Dan Stauffer, won the GP for Yamaha and leads on points, but is not planning to contest the rest of
An exciting new wave of fast younger riders had been expected to take it to the established riders this season but
Christchurch BMW rider John Ross was the only one to score good points, with a fine third in the preliminary race.
“I didn’t get a good start in the Grand Prix – I need to qualify further up the grid,” Ross said.
James Smith, also of Christchurch, claimed third in the GP racing a Suzuki as team-mate to Bugden in the Triple R
outfit, but missed the start of the preliminary because of a brake problem, and Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki) had a
minor crash. Sloan Frost (Wellington, BMW) also ran into strife.
The experienced Craig Shirriffs (Feilding, Suzuki) lived up to his reputation by finishing second in the GP but he
failed to finish the preliminary race. Kumeu veteran Ray Clee is effectively third on points on his Suzuki, with
Shirriffs and Ryan Hampton (Christchurch, Honda) fourth equal.
Ross is racing both the top two classes with great success – he is also first equal in 600cc Supersport with fellow
Christchurch rider Dennis Charlett, these two both riding Suzukis in this class.
Seventeen-year-old Hamilton rider Jaden Hassan (Yamaha) pushed these two hard at Ruapuna but crashed out of the GP, and
Wellington’s Glen Skachill (Suzuki) showed he has equal speed to this trio.
The Superbike and 600 Supersport categories both have two long races on Sunday, while the other classes have one shorter
race on Saturday and two more on Sunday.