Moto Media

Charlett snatches lead in Suzuki Series

Formula 1:  Dennis Charlett took his Underground Brown Suzuki GSXR1000 to a win and a third placing at Manfeild on Sunday and now leads the 2013 Suzuki Series.

The second round of New Zealand’s richest motorcycle series was held under sunny skies, although many of the favourites in most categories suffered equal shares of bad luck, under a points system which rewards consistency as much as victory.

Nine international riders from the UK, Germany and Australia added interest for the crowd in the Formula 1, Formula 2, BEARS and Supermoto classes, with German Thomas Kreutz (F2) and Australian Craig Trinder (BEARS) winning races by day’s end.

Suzuki Series leader after Hampton Downs, Nick Cole, of Hamilton, was forced to ride his spare Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R following Saturday practice, which is near standard and down on power compared to his rivals’ high-spec Superbikes.

The opening Formula 1 race was stopped after Australian Linden Magee had a heavy crash on his M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR, putting ‘Magoo’ out for the day.

Pole sitter #4 Sloan Frost took the restart holeshot, but crashed at the ‘hairpin’ shortly after. Photo - Terry Stevenson.

Local racer Craig Shirriffs (Feilding) took over the lead until he was forced to retire after the front brake reservoir bracket fell off mid-race.

Charlett, of Christchurch, battled with Australian Chris Seaton on his Motul Aprilia RSV4 and now lead the race, just ahead of Suzuki GSXR1000 riders Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth), Scott Moir (Taupo) and a charging Ray Clee (Kumeu) to cross the line in that order.

Cole was out of contention for the win on his slower production bike although he finished a steady sixth, ahead of Tony Rees of Whakatane on his Tony Rees Honda CBR1000RR.

Frost made amends in race two and raced his Frost Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ Team GSXR1000 at frenetic pace to lead from start to finish.

Shirriffs pressured Frost throughout the race on his AJ Boss Racing Suzuki GSXR1000, and took a very close second for his efforts.

Dennis Charlett battles with Nick Cole & Chris Seaton at Manfeild. Photo - Terry Stevenson.

Third place went to defending Suzuki Series champion Charlett, who again had his hands full with Seaton right behind during the race. Coming to grips with his standard Kawasaki, Cole enjoyed a better start and raced well to cross the line fifth, ahead of Clee and Rees.

Charlett said after the event, "I had a fantastic day, the bike ran really well, I’ll come home, put the points in the bag and then head off to Wanganui. One of the things I have never done is win the Robert Holden race, so I want to win that and tick it off my list! But for the points races I will be trying to win the championship.

"I’m really happy, Suzuki NZ, Avon City Suzuki and Underground Brown as well as Ohlins suspension and Pirelli tyres have all been helping me out, and my wife Ang has been my pit crew for the series! It has been a fantastic job from everybody.”

Just three points separate Charlett and Cole for the Suzuki Series, and Frost is still in with a good chance if he can continue his race-winning tactics. There will be no better place to be than at Wanganui on Boxing Day.

Cole says, "This is the fastest I’ve ever gone at Manfeild so in that respect I had a pretty good day. We did the best with what we had, there’s a lot of things on the bike that are a lot different but it shows how good the bike is from out of the box.”

Cole won both points races at Wanganui last year, and must be favourite for a repeat on Boxing Day, even on his standard ZX-10R. "Even on the spare bike we think we have a pretty good chance. Horsepower is not all of what you need around Wanganui, so it could be an easier bike to ride in fact.”

Frost said he crashed in the first race on cold tyres, which is why riders went to two warm up laps for race two, which he won. "I enjoy leading races from the front and I don’t mind having people behind me as I don’t feel pressure, I could hear Craig [Shirriffs] every lap at the hairpin so I knew he was right on me. It was just a matter of riding smart and not over extending myself and make any mistakes – it was going to make it really hard for him to pass me.

"At Wanganui, Dennis knows what it takes to win a championship because he’s won many before and he is very consistent, so he’ll just do what it takes, which is to finish consistently in the top three. I am going there to win every race, and that’s all I can do,” Frost explains. 

With soo few points between the top three positions heading into the final round at Wanganui, TV superstar Guy Martin might play a leading role for who wins the Suzuki Series. Martin, 31, will be racing a Suzuki New Zealand supplied Suzuki GSXR1000.

Martin is a British closed-road specialist including a leading rider at the Isle of Man. If he can master the Cemetery Circuit and run with the leaders in the F1 category on Boxing Day he might take points from riders who have ridden all three rounds.

Formula 1, race 1: Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, Underground Brown Suzuki GSXR1000), 1; Chris Seaton (Australia, Aprilia RSV4), 2; Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Team RGM Suzuki GSXR1000), 3; Scott Moir (Taupo, MotoTT Promoto Suzuki GSXR1000), 4; Ray Clee (Kumeu Auckland, GSXR1000), 5; Nick Cole (Hamilton, Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R), 6.

Formula 1, race 2: Sloan Frost, (Wellington, Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki NZ GSXR1000), 1; Craig Shirriffs (Feilding, AJ Boss Racing Suzuki GSXR1000), 2; Dennis Charlett, 3; Chris Seaton, 4; Nick Cole, 5; Ray Clee, 6.

F1 Series points after round 2: Dennis Charlett, 82; Nick Cole, 79; Sloan Frost, 71; Ray Clee, 52; Scott Moir, 50; David Hall, 50; Hayden Fitzgerald, 49.

Formula 2 Class: Toby Summers (Manukau) and German Thomas Kreutz took a win each on their Yamaha R6s in the competitive Formula 2 class. A rising Daniel Mettam rode his heart out in race one to get his CTAS Honda CBR600RR in front of Summers’ R&R Power Sports R6, but couldn’t hold his ground to the series leader by race end. The pair crossed the line within 0.2 seconds of each other. 

 NZ Supersport champ John Joss (Christchurch) completed the podium, although he isn’t contesting the series. Wanganui’s Jayden Carrick lost his second position in the F2 series when he crashed his GJ Gardner Homes Suzuki GSXR600 from a fighting third position on the last lap.

Race two enthralled the crowd when international racer Avalon Biddle rocketed into the lead when she passed Ross on lap three! An incredible battle played out for most of the race involving Biddle, Summers, Rhys Holmes, Ross and Kreutz, who passed the riders one at a time until he hit the front as the race wound down. Kreutz returned to the pits to generous applause from a satisfied crowd.

Kreutz said after his first NZ victory, "We changed a lot of things between qualifying, the first race and the set-up for the second race. I got a better start and I was in the first five at the front. When I was behind Toby Summers I tried to figure out at which point I was stronger, and he made a mistake at the first corner, so I passed him and he never came back.”

Summers finished second and enjoys a healthy series lead heading to the final at Wanganui on December 26. Biddle, of Orewa, crossed the line a valiant third.

"In my first F2 race I had a win and then a second so I am pretty happy because I have a gap now in that championship, but I got a black flag in Supermoto after I picked my bike up,” Summers says. "Avalon rode very well, she was very difficult to pass because that bike was so fast with her on it – I just couldn’t get past her!

Formula 2, race 1: Toby Summers (Auckland, R&R Power Sports Yamaha R6), 1; Daniel Mettam ( Auckland, CTAS Honda CBR600RR), 2; John Ross (Christchurch, GSXR600), 3; Adam Chambers (Clive, Lattey Civil & Precast Honda CBR600RR), 3; Rhys Holmes (Tauranga, John Tuhoe Racing Yamaha R6), 5; Thomas Kreutz (Germany, Yamaha R6), 6.

Formula 2, race 2: Thomas Kreutz, 1; Toby Summers, 2; Avalon Biddle (Orewa, GSXR600), 3; Daniel Mettam, 4; Alastair Hoogenboezem (Christchurch, Suzuki NZ GSXR600), 5; Adam Chambers, 6.

Formula 2 series points after round 2: Toby Summers, 94; Daniel Mettam, 76; Adam Chambers, 73; Thomas Kreutz, 71; Jayden Carrick, 46; John Ross, 34.

German Thomas Kreutz wins his first NZ race, in F2 on Sunday.
Photo - Terry Stevenson.
Jayden Carrick crashes out of third position in F2. Photo - Terry Stevenson.

Formula 3, race 1: Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki NZ SV650), 1; Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Coleman’s Suzuki SV650), 2; Royd Walker-Holt (Kawakawa, Drury Performance Centre Suzuki SV650), 3; Dean Bentley (Lower Hutt, TSS Red Baron Suzuki SV650), 4; Gavin McKay (Lower Hutt, Kaprilliam GCM), 5, Sarah Elliot (Otaki Beach, SV650), 6.

Formula 3, race 2: Hayden Fitzgerald, 1; Gavin Veltmeyer 2; Royd Walker-Hoult, 3; Dean Bentley, 4; Gavin McKay, 5, Sarah Elliot, 6.

Formula 3 series points after round 2: Hayden Fitzgerald, 94; Gavin Veltmeyer, 86; Royd Walker-Holt, 82; Dean Bentley, 76; Gavin McKay, 60; Gavin Oxtoby, 45.

Supermoto:  Summers crashed his R&R Power Sports Yamaha YZF450 from second in the opening Supermoto race after some early aggressive passing by 18 year old Malachi Mitchell-Thomas (Great Britain) on his Silicone Engineering TM450, who was second ahead of Reporoa’s Casey Bullock. Summers restarted and had worked his way up to third when he was black flagged and had to pull out.

Wanganui rider and defending Supermoto champion Richard Dibben took a clean victory in both heats on his Silicone Engineering Honda CRF450, and now leads the Supermoto series by three points. Summers and Mitchell-Thomas completed the podium in race two.

Supermoto race 1: Richard Dibben (Wanganui, Silicone Engineering Honda CRF450), 1; Malachi Mitchell-Thomas (Great Britain, Silicone Engineering TM450), 2; Casey Bullock (Reporoa, KTM 450SMR), 3; Aden Brown (Wanganui, Balance Accountants Yamaha YZF450), 4; Ben Dowman (Wanganui, CRF 450), 5; Simon Dibben (Wanganui, CRF450), 6.

Supermoto race 2: Richard Dibben, 1; Toby Summers (Auckland, R&R Power Sports Yamaha YZF450), 2; Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, 3; Casey Bullock, 4; Lewis Waho (Taupo, YZ450F), 5; Aden Brown, 6.

Supermoto series points after round 2: Richard Dibben, 87; Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, 84; Casey Bullock, 74; Toby Summers, 73; Aden Brown, 61; Ben Dowman, 56.

Post Classic Pre ’89, race 1: Eddie Kattenberg (Te Awanga, FZR1000), 1; Jay Lawrence (Ohaupo, Bridgestone Tyres GSX1100), 2; Duncan Coutts (Whangarei, Planet Honda GSXR1100), 3; Sean Donnelly (Paraparaumu, Precise Print Kawasaki Z1000R), 4; Paul Wootton (Waikanae, Suzuki GSXR1100), 5; Malcolm McDonald (MCD Builders Kawasaki KR1 250), 6.

Post Classic Pre ’89, race 2: Duncan Coutts, 1; Eddie Kattenberg, 2; Jay Lawrence, 3; Sean Donnelly, 4; Paul Wootton, 5; Vince Burrell (Hastings, Moto Guzzi V7 Sport), 6.

Post Classic Pre ’89 series points after round 2: Duncan Coutts, 95; Jay Lawrence, 87; Sean Donnelly, 70; Paul Wooton, 66; Nigel Lennox, 60; Vince Burrell, 58.

F1 Sidecars: Barry Smith and Robbie Shorter (Te Puke) on their Carl Cos Motorsports Windle Suzuki rig and the Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe duo on their aging Boss Engineering Windle F1 sidecar won a race each.

The Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell (Masterton) and Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance (Auckland) combinations filled the podium in each leg, with the Lawrance brothers only seven points behind Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawe.

Hampton Downs race winners Aaron Lovell and Dennis Simonson (Hamilton/Masterton) suffered mechanical problems on their Gough TWL LCR1000 and failed to score any points, relinquishing their series lead to Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawe.

Unsworth actually crossed the line first in race one, but was penalised for passing under a yellow flag. "The first race was excellent and the best race we’ve had in a long time, we anticipated it would be close – and it was,” Unsworth says. "I’m not sure what happened to Barry’s bike in race two, but once we saw they were out we throttled off to conserve tyre wear.”

Race1: Barry Smith/Robbie Shorter (Te Puke, Carl Cos Motorsports Windle Suzuki), 1; Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell (Masterton, Stealth Electric Bikes LCR Suzuki), 2; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance (Auckland, Anderson R1), 3; Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe (Auckland, Boss Engineering Windle F1), 4; Peter Goodwin/Darren Prentis (Albany, LCR/Windle), 5; Michael (Burt) Wolland/Neville Mickleson (Masterton, NZ Moto Derbyshire 1000), 6.

F1 Sidecars, race 2: Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe, 1; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance, 2; Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell (Masterton, Stealth Electric Bikes LCR Suzuki), 3; Michael Wolland/Neville Mickleson, 4; Tracey Bryan/Tina McKeown (Tauranga, Bayride Motorcycles DMR600), 5; Des James/Warren Miller (Papakura, Auckland Engineering Supplies LCR Yamaha R1), 6.

F1 Sidecars series points after round 2: Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe, 87; Chris Lawrance/Richard Lawrance, 80; Barry Smith/Robbie Shorter, 63; Spike Taylor/Astrid Hartnell 58; Peter Goodwin/Darren Prentis, 57; Corey Winter/Tim Shepherd (Collins & Sons RMR600), 53.

BEARS:  Brisbane racer Linden Magee won the first BEARS race on his M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR, which was before his huge F1 crash, while German Steve Mizera on a Racetaxi99 BMW S1000RR finished first in race two.

Gold Coast racer Craig Trinder, who held the outright lap record at Wanganui in 1986, was second on each occasion on his Motul Aprilia RSV4. John Oliver and Mizera each finished third in their respective heats.

BEARS race 1: Linden Magee (Brisbane, M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR), 1; Craig Trinder (Gold Coast, Motul Aprilia RSV4), 2; Steve Mizera (Germany, Racetaxi99 BMW S1000RR), 3; John Oliver (Feilding, BMW S1000RR), 4; Mike King (New Plymouth, Ducati 1098), 5; Dwayne Bishop (Wanganui, DML Builders Aprilia RSV4), 6.

BEARS, race 2: Steve Mizera, 1; Craig Trinder, 2; John Oliver, 3; Dwayne Bishop, 4; Mike King, 5; Kevin Waugh (Wellington, Triumph Daytona), 6.

BEARS series points after round 2: Craig Trinder, 91; Dwayne Bishop, 71; Gavin McKay, 60; John Oliver, 56; Roger Crowley, 53; Linden Magee, 52.

Words by Terry Stevenson