Feilding’s Craig Shirriffs is king of the streets … in downtown Paeroa anyway.
Shirriffs was unstoppable at the annual Yamaha Battle of the Streets motorcycle race meeting in Paeroa on Sunday, winning the day’s first glamour race, the Formula Paeroa 10-lapper, and then the all-important King of the Streets feature race, before the day was cut short as the organisers “ran out of ambulances”.
A spate of crashes kept the ambulance crews busy but when two sidecars collided, leaving four competitors injured, coupled with the fact an ambulance had been called away from the meeting to attend a nearby car accident, it left organisers with no alternative but to declare the meeting over.
“We were already running behind schedule and we had to wrap it up before 5pm anyway,” said media liaison officer Paul Lance.
“We had riders safety concerns and could not continue to run without an ambulance in attendance and we were under time constraints too. We had no alternative,” he said.
One of those involved in the crash, a 58-year-old Auckland man, died in theatre in Waikato Hospital early on Monday after suffering pelvic and chest injuries.
His daughter, who was competing as the sidecar’s swinger, was also injured.
But the 16,000 bike fans who flocked to the sun-baked Thames Valley town (normal population about 4000) were certainly entertained by the bike racing that was completed.
Honda’s Shirriffs again showed his liking for public street racing as he dominated the big bike class from the beginning, leading Honda team-mate Hayden Fitzgerald and Auckland Suzuki rider Ray Clee to the finish in the Formula Paeroa race and then heading Fitzgerald and Hamilton’s Nick Cole (Kawasaki) to the flag in the King of the Streets feature race.
“It’s a pity Andrew Stroud and Gareth Jones weren’t here today … I love to race against them,” said Shirriffs. “It certainly made my day easier without them being here, certainly less stressful.
“It’s nice to be able to turn up and win comfortably. That doesn’t happen often.”
Meanwhile, Cole was also a double winner at Paeroa, taking his 600cc Kawasaki to victory in both formula two races, as well as chasing the 1000cc bikes of Shirriffs and Fitzgerald to the finish in the feature race.
Leading results from the annual Yamaha Battle of the Streets race meeting in Paeroa on Sunday:
King of the Streets:
1. Craig Shirriffs (Feilding, Honda); 2. Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Honda); 3. Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki).
1. Craig Shirriffs (Feilding, Honda); 2. Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Honda); 3. Ray Clee (Auckland, Suzuki).
1. Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki); 2. Karl Morgan (Auckland, Suzuki); 3. David Manuell (Auckland, Suzuki).
1. Terry Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki); 2. Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda); 3. Bill Van den Hoven (Tauranga, Yamaha).
Post classics pre-82:
1. Sean Donnelly (Paraparaumu, Kawasaki); 2. Chris Sales (Feilding, Honda); 3. Steve Bridge (Hamilton, Ducati).
Post classics pre-89:
1. Jay Lawrence (Wellington, Yamaha); 2. Patric Nussbaum (Kerikri, Kawasaki); 3. Peter Smith (Rotorua, Suzuki).
1. Ginger Molloy (Huntly, Bultaco); 2. Bill James (Wanganui, AJS); 3. Andrew Drake (Cambridge, Velocette).
1. Warren Marsh (Napier, Norton); 2. Colin Tate (Wanganui, Norton); 3. Neville Mickleson (Hamilton, Jawa).
1. Adam Unsworth and Stewart Dawe (Wanganui, Honda); 2. Chris and Richard Lawrance (Auckland, Yamaha); 3. Stu Prentis and Chris Meads (Hawera, Suzuki).
Post classic sidecars:
1. Andy Scrivener and Steve Bryan (Taupo, BMW); 2. Neville and Joann Mickelson (Hamilton, Matchless); 3. Will Williamson (Triumph).
1. Toby Summers (Auckland, Aprilia); 2. Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda); 3. Scott Birch (Rotorua, KTM).
Bears (non Japanese bikes):
1. Craig Sargeant (Waipukurau, Ducati); 2. Justin Power (Napier, Husqvarna); 3. David Hall (Te Awamutu, Aprilia).
Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com