The 2011 superbike nationals are still several months away but Hawera’s Hayden Fitzgerald is determined to stay sharp through the winter.
The 25-year-old signwriter raced a 1000cc Honda to finish a creditable fifth in the superbike class at this season’s nationals, which wound up at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, in March, but now he’s trying a 600cc Kawasaki ZX6R for size in the off-season.
“The bike belongs to Hawera’s Bryce Meads and I’m just helping him to get it set up for the nationals,” explained Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald has raced the bike at rounds three and four of the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s popular Actrix Winter Series and proven that both he and the bike can be a winning combination.
The former Bell Block man finished 4-4-1 in his three formula two outings at round three of the winter series in July and then managed fourth and fifth placings at Saturday’s fourth round. He also took the bike into the heat of the formula one class on Saturday, finishing fourth in the day’s opening race.
“It started bucketing down (with rain) at the start of my next F1 race and, because it’s not my bike, I decided not to go out and risk it.
“The whole exercise is about me getting valuable bike time, to stay sharp through the winter. I’d prefer to race a 1000cc bike in the superbike class but I have to admit this 600cc Kawasaki is a very nice bike to ride and, even though it’s stock standard, I managed to win a race.
“I don’t have anything signed up yet for 2011, but, if a decent offer came along, to cover my costs, I’d consider racing a 600 in the sports production class. The bike is very nimble and easy to ride.
“The way things are situated for me now, though, I might not be racing the nationals at all in the coming season. But that’s no excuse for me to be lazy. When the time comes to race, I want to be ready to go hard.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com