Not content with being involved in one of the toughest New Zealand Superbike Championship campaigns of his entire career, Suzuki star Andrew Stroud is taking time out from his busy schedule to race at the Classic Motorcycle Festival at Pukekohe this weekend (February 6-7).
The 10-times New Zealand Champion will race the 1962 Manx Norton that former World 500 Champion Kevin Schwantz rode to a clean sweep and the lap record at the Classic Motorcycle Festival at Pukekohe last year.
Stroud will also ride Kevin Grant’s Britten V1000 in demonstrations on both Saturday and Sunday. This is the only Britten in the world that is still being ridden.
Stroud’s Manx Norton, from the stable of NZ Manx specialist Ken McIntosh, last year showed a clean pair of heels to Dave Cole, who has won both the Australian and NZ Classic Championships, riding a Matchless G50.
Stroud tried out the bike at an open day at Hampton Downs late last year and was very impressed with the McIntosh Manx Norton.
“I found I could ride it pretty much close to the way I ride a modern bike. It actually had brakes that worked – those drums have been set up very well,” Stroud said in wonderment.
“You can snap it over into corners just like on a modern machine and I just kept leaning it over until eventually the front tyre started stepping out – skipping across the track. That seemed to be the limiting factor. But I could fit on it ok and in fact I was quite comfortable on it.
“I’m looking forward to racing Dave Cole again. I haven’t had that pleasure in a long time. It was at Ruapuna years ago when he was racing a 916 Ducati.
“He was very good and showed amazing corner speed. Dave is a very tidy rider and I’ve often thought he is a guy who could have made it on the international stage, perhaps in the 600 Supersport class.
“I don’t want to stick my neck out too far on the Manx. I’ll ride it hard and see where I end up,” Stroud says, before concluding, “but I suppose once the racing starts, I’ll be going for the win!”
As well as the torrid action expected when Stroud takes to the track, four times World Champion Hugh Anderson from Hamilton will demonstrate a Yamaha 125cc V4 Grand Prix racer that dominated the class in 1967 and 1968. This bike has never been raced outside of Europe before, and is one of only two examples in the world.
The Classic Festival has attracted more than 250 riders from five countries, and will be running events for more than 350 bikes.
Event name: “New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Festival”
Place: Pukekohe Park Racing Circuit.
Date: February 6-7, 2010
Contact: Norm & Lynda Maddock Ph (09) 422-2638