He’s an electrician, an extreme sportsman and he’s sponsored by an explosives company, so you just know that fireworks are going to happen when Sam Love is about.
The Tauranga motorcycle road-racer has been notable by his absence from the early phase of this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships but he showed up for the first time at the fourth round of five at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, at the weekend and lit a few fires under his 600cc class rivals.
The Yamaha ace says he was ill and it was also just too expensive for him to mount a full campaign this season and so he opted out of racing the first three rounds of the series in the South Island in January and February.
But he soon made up lost ground when he showed up at a damp Hampton Downs at the weekend, taking his 2008-model Yamaha R6 to race his way to the top step of the podium in the 600 superstock (unmodified) class.
The 22-year-old apprentice electrician scored back-to-back wins on Sunday, going from nowhere in the championship to slot straight in at position No.7.
Both times Love finished ahead of Auckland teenager Jaden Hassan (Yamaha), the new points leader in the class.
Love also won the 600 superstock TT Trophy, an extra honour attached to his winning the day’s second 600 race.
You could say it was a boom time for the Yamaha ace and, if he produces a similar performance at the final round at Manfeild, just outside Palmerston North, this Sunday afternoon, he could well end up among the top five.
“As well as not having the cash to travel to the South Island rounds, I also had to cope with a bout of glandular fever,” he explained. “I think I’m at the tail end of the illness now.
“I’m still not 100% fit because I have not really been able to train. But I have a great team behind me and, obviously, everything just clicked for me at the weekend.
“The bike is a bit of an ‘old girl’ but still a very good machine and very competitive.”
Love is sponsored by Prime Explosives, Nevdon Remedies, Blackwood Yamaha in Cambridge, Dukic Performance, GJH Fibreglass and Elite Electrical in Tauranga.
“I have some great support but, of course, I would like a few more sponsors. Any offers?”
The top three riders in this class are all on Yamaha R6 bikes, with Hassan leading the way from Inglewood’s Midge Smart and Christchurch’s Eric Oliver-Maxwell.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com