What a month it has been!
It has been a pleasure to meet many of you fans and supporters at some events of late. These have included the Ride Forever Shiny Side Up Bike Festival’s in Nelson and Christchurch, the HSBC Sevens in Hamilton and of course, at the race tracks throughout the country.
As you will know, we have now had two rounds of the New Zealand Superbike Championship (NZSBK) in the South Island. The series got off to a perfect start for me as I put the MTF Finance Kawasaki ZX6R on pole position at Mike Pero Motorsport Park for Round 1. Christchurch certainly turned on the weather and I was looking forward to an epic weekend of racing ahead. In race one on Saturday I lead the way for half a lap before Toby Summers snuck by with a close pass into the dipper. I saw we had ‘battle royale’ ensuing and was already working out a plan where to pass him back when the red flags came out on lap two. Unfortunately, the accident was very serious, and the race was stopped for over half an hour to attend to the injured rider meaning we could not restart. On the plus side, the injured rider James Barham got the medical attention he needed and is now making a great recovery from some nasty injuries.
We re-grouped for the Sunday’s action, looking forward to two long races. Once again, the 600cc class would miss out as an oil spillage before our race put an end to the event. Throughout all of this I have learnt to keep my cool and not to stress about what you cannot control. Over the past few weeks when things haven’t gone to plan, I have had to concentrate on simply putting on foot in front of the other and just make the most of every situation that presents itself.
The following weekend we were in Timaru for Round 2 of the championship at Levels Raceway Timaru. With some mixed weather thrown into the mix, there was no shortage of drama in the 600cc class. I qualified in ninth position on a damp track which left me with a lot of work to do in the races to get to the front. In race 1 I took my time picking riders off one-by-one and finished in 3rd to claim my first podium of the season. Our class had four races in Timaru and I finished three out of four events on the podium, leaving the circuit sitting second overall in the 2019 championship. Just nine points off the lead with nine races still to go, you could say it’s still wide open!
After Timaru, my second race bike was delivered to Hamilton for the Rugby Sevens tournament with MTF Finance. We had a HUGE weekend painting the stands yellow with 10,000 yellow cowboy hats! It was amazing to see so many people (both children and adults) take interest and want a photo with my race bike on display. Events like this are great not only for my sponsors, but also for raising the profile of our sport.
Speaking of profile, how can I not mention MotoFest at Hampton Downs which is the next round of the NZSBK championship. To have Simon Crafar, Chris Vermuelen and many other legends at the track and watching our races is going something special. I have engagements on every weekend between now and then, along with work keeping me extremely busy during the week. It has left me worried how I am going to squeeze enough training in to keep this title fight alive. Looks like my 5am gym sessions are here to stay for a while!
Once again, thanks for coming to say hello at events. One of the best things about motorcycles is the people you meet who share the same passion for two wheels. I look forward to meeting more of you at events soon.
All the best,