The 2013 nationals were under-way the first weekend of January at Ruapuna
Raceway, Christchurch. Team Repsol Suzuki is extremely lucky to have a
massive crew of great helpers who toughed it out for a long four days at the
track as we tested on Thursday and Friday prior to race weekend. This proved
hugely beneficial for me as we found my rear shock absorber wasn’t working properly
and managed to fix it without wasting a day on track.
In qualifying I did my personal best lap time at Ruapuna putting me in 7th on
the grid. The first race of the season got off with a big bang as my teammate
John Ross and I came around for the first lap in first and second positions. I
managed to hold on to third for a while but slipped back and finished up 6th. I
finished the second race in 7th position to put me 6th overall in the
championship, a position I was pretty happy with.
The second round was held at Levels Raceway, Timaru. Everything was going
well until I binned it in the second practise on Saturday. It was a very small
crash but unfortunately did a lot of damage to the bike, and even with over 6
mechanics working on it we couldn’t get oil pressure to get the bike running
Starting for the back of the grid, I managed a 13th place finished in the
pouring rain in the first race, and 9th in the second. Not an ideal weekend but I
was looking forward to my favourite track up next.
On track for the third week in succession, this time we were in the wild
southland climate at Teretonga Raceway, Invercargill. A small problem in
qualifying left me in 11th on the grid and in need of some seriously good
starts! The winds were blowing straight from Antarctica on Sunday making it
hard for everyone just to stay upright (on the bike and in the pits) let alone
clock good lap times. Thankfully, however, the rain held out and I was locked
in an awesome battle with Dave Manuel and some South Islander’s, managing
to beat them to the line to take 7th place.
Unfortunately the second race was very short lived for me as I ran off track on
lap two and fell over in the grass. The new rules established that I couldn’t re-
join the race so had to sit out a painful 13laps on the side-lines. The DNF also
dropped me well down in the championship standings.
Despite not obtaining the results I was looking for, I want to extend a huge
thank you goes to those who made this possible: Bikeservice tools, Suzuki,
NGK, Auckland motorcycle club, and Darbi accessories. Also, thanks to Mum
for coming down for two weekends and WIL sport management for the
constant support and encouragement.
Thanks to you guys I still managed to enjoy myself.. Any day on the bike is
better than one not riding! I was also able to learn what I really need to work
on and have been doing that in preparation for the north Island rounds and
European season ahead. I’m not 100 percent certain I will make these two
final races here in NZ due to being committed to return to Italy and the dates
there are still shuffling around. I will be racing this weekend in Christchurch
however so stay tuned for an update from there!