Suzuki international series continues to amaze
Round two of the Suzuki International Series graced the hallowed grounds of Manfeild on Sunday and, unbelievably, the racing just keeps getting better and better with each event.
Just as it was at the series opener at Taupo the previous weekend, the racing was fast and frenetic in all the various bike categories, with points leaders changing at the top of several classes at the weekend.
Christchurch's Alastair Hoogenboezem (Yamaha) continues to lead the glamour Formula One/Superbike class, although his position came under threat from Whakatane brothers Mitch and Damon Rees (both Honda), with Taupo's Scott Moir and fellow Suzuki rider Daniel Mettam, from Glen Eden, also impressing on Sunday.
After Sunday's packed programme of races at Manfeild, Rangiora's Avalon Biddle took over the lead in the Formula Two class from Upper Hutt's Rogan Chandler; Wellington's Malcolm Bielski snatched the series lead from Nikau Valley's Richard Markham-Barrett in the Bears Senior class; Whanganui's Blane Hannah now leads the Bears Junior class ahead of Hamilton's Nick Lascelles; Levin's Justin Maunder shot to the top of the GIXXER 150 Cup class, displacing Christchurch's previous leader Caleb Gilmore; Hastings' Gian Louie now tops the Post Classics, pre-89 Senior class ahead of Pukekohe's previous leader Matt Eggleton, and Timaru's Harry Parker is the new solitary leader in the Supersport 300 class, having been forced to share that position with Gilmore after round one.
The three-round Suzuki International Series action will wrap up, as it traditionally does, on the public streets of Whanganui, riders tearing around the world-famous Cemetery Circuit, on Boxing Day.
Series organiser Allan 'Flea' Willacy says members of the public could save money by purchasing "early bird tickets" through Ticketek on-line and then they'll also go in the draw to win an upgrade to a Suzuki VIP Pass at the Whanganui finale.
Bike fans simply fizzed at being a part of the first major motorcycle road-race series in New Zealand since the pandemic lock-down, with Sunday's racing at the Manfeild Chris Amon circuit, on the outskirts of Feilding, delivering intensity throughout all of the 12 various bike categories.
First hatched in 2008 and now marking its 13th season, the Suzuki International Series has cemented itself as New Zealand's premier road-race series outside of the nationals and some would say it even rivals that.
Willacy says he's amazed the Suzuki International Series continues to grow and, while last year's entry numbers were a new record, the figures have been surpassed again this year.
"It has been absolutely brilliant. Obviously we have been very lucky with the weather – bright, warm and sunny at the first round and also at Manfeild's round two.
"Racing has been very close across all classes and spectator numbers are great too. I think everyone has been keen to get out after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. They've been starved of entertainment and obviously keen to see some live racing like this," says Willacy.
"Every year we say we are getting record entries and this year it has been even better again. Suzuki New Zealand put a lot into this and I think they'd be very pleased too."
Class leaders after the second of three rounds in the 2020 Suzuki International Series are Christchurch's Alastair Hoogenboezem (Formula One); Rangiora's Avalon Biddle (Formula Two); Nikau Valley's Richard Markham-Barrett (Formula Three); Wellington's Malcolm Bielski (Bears Senior); Whanganui's Blane Hannah (Bears Junior); Levin's Justin Maunder (GIXXER 150 Cup); Hastings' Gian Louie (Post Classics, pre-89 Senior); Ngaruawahia's Steve Bridge (Post Classics, pre-89 Junior); Tauranga's Barry Smith and Stu Dawe (F1 Sidecars); Albany's Mark Halls and Michelle MacLean (F2 Sidecars); Taumarunui's Jette Josiah (Super Motard); Timaru's Harry Parker (Supersport 300).
-Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com