Motorcycle racing can be a fickle and unforgiving sport and it will be the mark of a champion that Australian Dan Stauffer picks himself up and pushes ahead after a disastrous day’s racing near Invercargill on Sunday.
That’s the philosophical assessment of Bernard Racing Yamaha Team boss Brian Bernard, of Wanganui, after his star rider crashed out while leading the event’s sole superbike race at round two of this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships at Teretonga Park at the weekend.
“Dan was four seconds clear in front when the front wheel washed out on him and he went down,” said Bernard.
“We think, in addition to the pools of water, there was oil on the track at that spot. Riders could see rainbows in the water.”
The meeting was abruptly cut short following that spill when organisers deemed it too unsafe to continue as torrential rain and gale force winds hammered the circuit at Teretonga, so Stauffer never had the chance to make amends.
“Dan’s elbow had been giving him grief at Teretonga too, following an injury he sustained the previous weekend at Levels (near Timaru). He almost blacked out on Saturday and we needed to get some physio for him that night.
“He eventually qualified fourth fastest at Teretonga, less than a second off pole position and still on the front row, so that was good.
“We will now just get his damaged bike fixed up for round three this weekend at Ruapuna (Christchurch). We’ve had our bad race for the series now and, looking at the positives, we can see that we have a very competitive bike and very competitive rider too.
“It was just a hiccup today and now we just have to pick ourselves up and pick up all the points we can from here on forward.”
Stauffer had been second equal in the championships standings after round one, where he shared second and third placings with three-time former champion Robbie Bugden (Triple R Suzuki) at Levels Raceway.
Now Stauffer has slipped back to fourth overall, but only five points behind the new No.3 man, Tauranga’s Sloan Frost (M1 Motorsport BMW), the rider who won Sunday’s fateful race at Teretonga.
Stauffer has been something of a revelation since arriving to race for the first time in New Zealand just after Christmas.
He won on debut at the Battle of the Streets meeting around Wanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day, a venue he had only seen as passenger in a car just days before.
A fast learner, the obviously talented racer should not be counted out for national superbike championship honours just yet, with six more races still yet to come before the series winds up at Manfeild, just outside Palmerston North, on April 2-3.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com