It seems it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Motorcycle road-race frontrunners Glen Skachill (pictured above) and Geoff Booth both enjoyed a fantastic day of racing at the fourth round of five in this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships at Manfeild at the weekend, and both can put that down to the superb rubber they’re using.
The two men, racing with Continental Race Attack tyres on their respective Suzuki motorcycles, certainly had a firm grip on the race track in Feilding.
Dannevirke’s Booth roared to three convincing wins in his Pro Twins class.
The 25-year-old Booth (Continental, Berik, HJC, Sidi, Spectro) now has a significant points lead heading to the final round at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on March 28.
“I was actually a bit nervous before the weekend started,” said Booth. “I crashed at the previous round but, once I had the first race under my belt at Manfeild, I was good.
“The pressure was on me but I got some really great starts. I was trying a new soft compound Continental tyre and it hooked up really well and lasted me for all three races. I’d only ever used medium (compound) tyres before.
“I’m on target now to win my first national title. For two years in a row now I’ve been national No.2.
“I’m 36 points in front (of Christchurch rider James Hoogenboezem, Suzuki) now but there’s still 75 points on offer at Hampton Downs, so I can’t relax just yet.”
But the tyres may have been a little too good in Skachill’s case, so much so that “stickability” may have contributed to a minor glitch for the Wellington rider.
The 20-year-old, making his debut in the national championships this season, set the fastest time in the 600cc sports production class to secure pole position for himself for the two races that were to follow.
Skachill then dominated both races for the weekend, setting a new lap record four-tenths of a second faster than the previous record, and giving his Museum Hotel team its first ever race win in the class.
However, officials adjudged that the Conti-sponsored rider had “jumped the start” and he was docked 20 seconds from his race one result, relegating him from first to ninth on the track.
“We are going to appeal that decision,” said Skachill. “It’s not so much that I’m concerned about the points I lost … it’s all about my reputation. I’m no cheat. The tyres worked fantastically and that’s all there was to it.
“I won the first race by almost three seconds. I had more grip than I knew what to do with. I could out-drive and out-brake my rivals everywhere. I won the second race quite easily too.
“It really should have been a 1-1 result for me at Manfeild.”
“But I’m sixth overall in the championship standings (behind Upper Hutt’s Jamie Galway, who is now out with injury after crashing heavily at Manfeild) and that’s not bad for my first attempt. I think I can move up to fifth or even fourth at the final round.”
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com