Waikato’s Andrew Stroud is the No.1 superbike racer in New Zealand once again.
The 42-year-old father-of-seven (pictured above) convincingly won both the premier superbike races at the fifth and final round of this year’s Castrol Power 1 New Zealand Superbike Championships at the new Hampton Downs circuit on Sunday, giving him a record eighth national title, and his first since 2006.
Stroud seemed untroubled in winning the day’s first 15-lap superbike race – leading in from start to finish — but it was a different story in the second leg, the 20-lapper that also counted as the national TT title race.
In the second outing Stroud had to power his Brother Suzuki GSX-R1000 through the field after a bad start, eventually snatching the lead from defending champion Robbie Bugden (Suzuki) at about the midway point.
Brisbane rider Budgen had no answer for Stroud, although he kept the Kiwi hero honest and harried him to the end, finishing less than a second behind Stroud.
“I didn’t get a great start and got pushed around a bit at the beginning,” said Stroud. “But I didn’t panic and when I saw the gap widening, I just put my head down a bit.
“I beat Australian Shawn Giles to take the New Zealand superbike title in 2006 but, for the past three years, it’s belonged to Robbie (Bugden). It’s good to have it back … to take it back for New Zealand,” said Stroud.
“I’ll definitely be back to defend this title next year, if I can get the support I need.”
Whakatane’s Tony Rees took a stock standard Yamaha R1 to win the race-within-a-race for open stock production class honours.
It was double the glory for the Waikato region with another Hamilton rider, Kawasaki’s Nick Cole wrapping up the 600cc sports production class, finishing 1-2 in his two outings on Sunday and ending the series a solid 40 points ahead of Christchurch’s James Smith (Suzuki).
“It’s my first national title and I reckon it won’t be my last,” said an emotional Cole afterwards.
“I’m feeling a bit tingly actually,” he confessed. “I had a great bike, great suspension, excellent sponsors, wonderful support and a great team behind me. I can’t thank them enough.
“I was counting down the last five laps and it seemed to go on forever. That last race seemed like the longest of my life.”
Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem had already sewn up the national 125GP title at the previous round but that didn’t seem to slow him down at the final round.
Hoogeboezem took his Honda to a hat-trick of wins over the weekend, stretching his advantage to 116 points over Orewa girl Avalon Biddle (Honda) in the final standings.
The battle for formula three honours became a one-horse race when Foxton’s Jason Easton (Tigcraft Aprilia) lost his brakes and crashed out of the second F3 race of the weekend, gifting defending champion Glen Williams (Suzuki) an unassailable lead in the championship.
Palmerston North’s Williams eventually won the title by 51 points over Easton with Taranaki’s Terry Fitzgerald (Suzuki) winning two of the weekend’s three F3 races – including the all-important TT title race – to settle for third outright in the championship.
Dannevirke’s Geoff Booth (Suzuki) overcame a first race glitch – when he had to settle for third spot — to bounce back and win the next two 650 Pro Twins races, finishing the series 53 points ahead of Christchurch’s James Hoogenboezem (Suzuki).
In the sidecars class, Wanganui men Stephen Bron and Dennis Simonsen (Suzuki) bagged another hat-trick of wins and easily wrapped up the class ahead of Canterbury pair Dave Annan and Warwicks Demmocks.
Leading standings after the fifth and final round of the Castrol Power 1 New Zealand Superbike Championships at Hampton Downs at the weekend:
Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki) 228 points;
Robbie Bugden (Australia, Suzuki) 175;
Craig Shirriffs (Feilding, Honda) 139.
Open Stock Production Class:
Tony Rees (Whakatane, Yamaha) 100 points;
Reece Pickett (Whakatane, Yamaha) 80;
Brent Hall (Suzuki) 75.
600cc Sports Production:
Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki) 187.5 points;
James Smith (Christchurch, Suzuki) 147;
John Ross (Christchurch, Yamaha) 140.
Alastair Hoogenboezem (Christchurch, Honda) 341 points;
Avalon Biddle (Auckland, Honda) 225;
Jaden Hassan (Auckland, Yamaha) 212.
Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Suzuki) 324 points;
Jason Easton (Palmerston North, Aprilia) 273;
Terry Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki) 251.
650 Pro Twins:
Geoff Booth (Dannevirke, Suzuki) 326 points;
James Hoogenboezem (Christchurch, Suzuki) 273;
Jason Cameron (Kaiapoi, Suzuki) 235.
Stephen Bron and Dennis Simonsen (Wanganui, Masterton) 295 points;
Dave Annan and Warwicks Demmocks (West Melton, Rangiora) 188;
Peter Goodwin and Dion Weedon (Bay of Islands, Papakura) 176.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.