Slow Finish Wins NZ Superbike Championship

Published: Mon 25 Mar 2013 10:37 AM
Media release from Motorcycling New Zealand
Sunday 24 March 2013
Slow Finish Wins NZ Superbike Championship
Australian superbike star Robbie Bugden was able to cruise to his fifth New Zealand championship at Taupo today after Kiwi rival Craig Shirriffs ran off the track.
“The bike started moving around so I slowed it down,” Bugden said after bringing his Suzuki home fifth in the final race, a lowly placing by his standards.
“Then I saw Craig go off and I just had to bring it home. I tried to stay out of trouble. I’d done the maths before the race so I knew where I had to finish.”
Shirriffs had put himself into title contention with a brilliant victory in race one, coming from seventh early on and passing all the other top riders on his Suzuki.
The Feilding rider looked set to do the same in the final race, but when in second place and closing on leader Sloan Frost’s BMW he ran off the track into the gravel trap. He kept his bike upright and regained the track, but could manage only sixth at the end.
“I locked up the front tyre braking on the white line,” he explained. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Both races illustrated the growing strength of New Zealand superbike racing. Heat one was a classic, with Bugden, Shirriffs, Frost and Nick Cole (Kawasaki) all in a tight bunch and each having a turn in the lead.
Wellingtonian Frost won the final race fair and square, finishing well clear of Cole who is based in Hamilton. Suzuki riders Dennis Charlett (Christchurch) and Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth) came in third and fourth respectively, and Charlett took third in the championship behind Bugden and Shirriffs.
Bugden said this could be his last New Zealand title, as a tight budget could make it impossible for him to return next season.
Christchurch rider John Ross claimed the 600cc Supersport championship after a nerve-wracking final race on his Suzuki. He needed to finish third and he managed just that, after running down in fifth for a period.
“I stayed composed; I knew I had 15 laps to do the job,” Ross said after winning his first national championship. “It was just hard work.”
Auckland teenager Aaron Hassan won both races with ease on his Yamaha and is provisionally second in the series, although the minor placings will be decided by the outcome of an appeal that has not yet been heard.
Fourteen-year-old Australian Troy Guenther clinched the 125 GP championship yesterday and followed that up with two more victories today, cutting through the field after poor starts. Auckland teen Aaron Hassan, Jaden’s younger brother, was the only rider to challenge him seriously, coming very close to winning the final race.
The Superlite title went to Balclutha rider Richard Newbery riding a 450cc Kawasaki, and Wellington rookie Hamish Murphy completed an outstanding debut season by taking the Pro Twins championship on his Suzuki.

Photos credited to
The action shot shows Craig Shirriffs (56) leading Robbie Bugden (1), Nick Cole (4) and Sloan Frost (3); the portrait shows Bugden celebrating his fifth NZ championship.
New Zealand Superbike championships, round five (final), Taupo
Superbikes – Race one: Craig Shirriffs (Feilding) Suzuki 1; Robbie Bugden (Australia) Suzuki 2; Nick Cole (Hamilton) Kawasaki 3; Sloan Frost (Wellington) BMW 4; Dennis Charlett (Christchurch) Suzuki 5.
Race two: Frost 1; Cole 2; Charlett 3; Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth) Suzuki 4; Bugden 5.
Final championship points: Bugden 182, Shirriffs 165, Charlett 150, Frost 139, Cole 136.
600cc Supersport – Race one: Jaden Hassan (Auckland) Yamaha 1; John Ross (Christchurch) Suzuki 2; Jake Lewis (Christchurch) Yamaha 3; Adam Chambers (Clive) Honda 4; Seth Devereux (Christchurch) Kawasaki 5. Race two: Hassan 1; Lewis 2; Ross 3; Toby Summers (Auckland) Yamaha 4; Alastair Hoogenboezem 5. Points: to be confirmed later.
Superlite – Race one: Jason Easton (Foxton) Tigcraft-Aprilia 550, 1; Richard Newbery (Balclutha) Kawasaki 450, 2; Gavin Veltmeyer (New Windsor) Suzuki SV650, 3. Race two: Easton 1; Neil Chappell (Feilding) Kawasaki ZXER650R, 2; Newbery 3. Race three: Easton 1; Newbery 2; Veltmeyer 3. Points: Newbery 309, Veltmeyer 234, Glenn Agate (Oamaru, Kawsaki ZXr00) 168.5.
Pro Twins – Race one: Dean Bentley (Lower Hutt) Suzuki SV650, 1; Nathan Diprose (Huia) Suzuki SV650, 2; Hamish Murphy (Wellington) Suzuki SV650, 3. Race two: Bentley 1; Nick Southerwood (Kumeu) Suzuki SV650, 2; Murphy 3. Race three: Diprose 1; Murphy 2; Zane Brookes, Suzuki SV650, 3. Points: Murphy 270, Diprose and Bentley both 251.
125 GP – Race one: Troy Guenther (Australia) Honda 1; Tyler Lincoln (Havelock North) Honda 2; Aaron Hassan (Auckland) Honda 3. Race two: Guenther 1; Hassan 2; Matt Hoogenboezem (Christchurch) Honda 3. Race three: Guenther 1; Hassan 2; Scout Fletcher (Christchurch) Honda 3. Points: Guenther 340.5, Fletcher 215.5, Hassan 205.5.
250 Production – Race one: Luke Burgess (Australia) Kawasaki 1; Royd Walker-Holt (Auckland) Kawasaki 2; Bailie Perriton (Ashburton) Kawasaki 3. Race two: Burgess 1; Perriton 2; Sam Davison (Christchurch) Kawasaki 3. Race three: Burgess 1; Walker-Holt 2; Sarah Elliot (Otaki) Kawasaki 3. Points: Burgess 350, Perriton 183, Richard Willets (Timaru, Kawasaki) 164.
Sidecars – Race one: Aaron Lovell-Dennis Simonsen (Hamilton LCR 1000, 1; Chris Lawrance-Richie Lawrance (Auckland Yamaha 1000, 2; Barry Smith (Te Puke)-Robbie Shorter (Welcome Bay) SSR Carbon 100 0, 3. Race two: Lovell-Simonsen 1; Smith-Shorter 2; Lawrance-Lawrance 3. Race three: Smith-Shorter 1; Spike Taylor (Masterton)-Astrid Hartnell (Wanganui) LCR 100, 2; Grant Waters (Timaru)-Matt Gibbes (Christchurch) Windle 1000, 3. Points: Taylor-Hartnell 225.5, Walker-Gibbs 179, Lovell-Simonsen 122.5.

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