It wasn’t an ideal build-up to an international campaign, but Taranaki father-and-son sidecar duo Darren and Stu Prentis are still fizzing ahead of their first big trip overseas.
Stu Prentis, a 52-year-old builder based in Hawera, and his 30-year-old son Darren, also a builder, but based in Waitara, had an “awful” weekend when at the big annual Battle of the Streets race meeting in Paeroa just over a week ago.
But they’re still upbeat ahead of their international adventure coming up next month.
They encountered a succession of minor mechanical problems with their 1000cc bike at Paeroa and this prevented them from converting their raw speed into points at the tricky public street event.
“We had fuel pump problems in race one and did not finish and then we ran off the track and into the hay bales in race two when something else went wrong.”
The Suzuki GSX-R1000-powered Peter Anderson-built rig usually gives them no trouble at all but Sunday’s event in the Thames Valley town was, as Stu explained, “just one of those days you get sometimes with racing”.
“We have come pretty close to winning at Paeroa in the past … but luck has not been with us,” said the former national No.2.
The pair are preparing now for a trip across the Tasman Sea to “take the Aussies on at their own game”, racing at the big Australian sidecar festival at Eastern Creek on April 1-3.
“We reckon we can give them a shake-up. Our bike has tons of horsepower and we’re a good team.”
The Prentis team is sponsored by Hooper Engineers at Kakaramea, by Greg Bernand Engineering and Action Suzuki.
“We are on a bit of a tight budget, though, so any offers of help from a Taranaki business would be gratefully received.
“This is the trip of a lifetime for us and I believe there might be as many as seven other Kiwi teams heading across too.”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com