A trip to Paeroa should be on the cards this weekend for every self-respecting fan of motorcycle racing.
This Sunday is the day when the residents of Paeroa awake to the sound of revving engines as the small Coromandel town again hosts the Yamaha Battle of the Streets.
A monster effort has been put in by the local bike fraternity and various bike organisations to prepare Paeroa for this iconic Kiwi event, where State Highway 2 is the main straight on this hacksaw-shaped street circuit.
Top racers are lining up to conquer the tarseal, including Hamilton pair Sloan Frost (Suzuki) and Nick Cole (Kawasaki), Feilding’s Craig Shirriffs (Honda), New Plymouth’s Hayden Fitzgerald (Honda), Tauranga’s Jared Love (Honda), Manawatu’s Glen Williams (Suzuki), Auckland’s Ray Clee (Suzuki), Whakatane’s former national champion Tony Rees (Yamaha) and Kati Kati’s Rhys Holmes (Yamaha), to name just a few.
Cole, in particular, is looking forward to racing at Paeroa, where he hopes to continue his golden run in the 2010 season.
He is one of the fastest men in the country on a 600cc bike at the moment, having had more wins that any other rider in the chase for national 600cc sport production class honours this season.
Horsepower is not such an issue on the tight street circuit and this typically allows the talented Cole to match riders on the bigger 1000cc bikes.
“I’m really looking forward to racing Paeroa,” said the 23-year-old. “This event is always good for spectators and I hope to have another good run.
“I do have the national 600cc Sports Production title to think about, thought, so I won’t be doing anything too silly to throw that all away.”
Competitor numbers are well up on last year with more than 180 riders putting in some 240 or so entries — some riders tackling two or more classes.
The displays are comprehensive too, with Yamaha continuing there impressive presence as main sponsor, Suzuki bringing their race truck and latest bikes, Kawasaki showing off their newest green machines and BMW displaying their new superbike, the S1000rr for the first time.
Prices haven’t changed from last year. Adults are $25, 10-15 year olds are $10 and those aged under age 10 are free. These entry fees will also include a free programme.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com