Auckland motorcycle ace Toby Summers is in high demand, so much so that defending his Suzuki Tri Series super motard crown is going to be even more difficult than before.
But the Yamaha hero has only got himself to blame, the victim of his own success and unbridled enthusiasm.
The owner-operator of his own plumbing business has been snowed under with work and this has kept him away from the race track during the important Spring months that he would like to have used to build towards the 2012 Tri Series.
To make it even more complicated for him, Summers also intends to tackle an additional class this season, entering the Formula Two class on a 2011-model Yamaha R6.
Despite his “mission impossible”, Summers remains upbeat and excited about taking on the country’s motorcycle elite in the coming weeks, starting with round one of the Tri Series at Hampton Downs, near Huntly, this coming Saturday.
Round two of the Tri Series heads to Manfeild, on the outskirts of Feilding, the following weekend, with the final round set for Wanganui’s public streets, the famous Cemetery Circuit, on Boxing Day.
“The Tri Series has sort of crept up on me,” said the 39-year-old. “I’m really keen to defend my super motard title. I was actually not going to bother, just concentrate on the F2 class this season, but I got a bit of a ‘gee up’ from my super motard rivals, saying I was ‘scared’ to take them on again. That fired me up.
“I’ll be back with my Lucas Oils, R and R Powersports, BikesportNZ.com and Bike Torque-sponsored Yamaha YZ450F in that class and the Yamaha R6 in F2.
“I raced a R6 in England about 15 years ago and I decided that, now my business is booming, I would afford to go racing an extra class this year. My business, Summers Plumbing, is my main sponsor … my boss is a great bloke and I can have as much time off work to go racing as I like,” he laughed.
“The F2 campaign is really just to learn and I’ll be staying out of everyone’s way. I hope to get the ‘training wheels’ off by the end of the series.
“It will be hard work to win again without having had much practice time but it’ll be okay on the day.”
But Summers knows there will be plenty of very fast men he’ll have to deal with first, talented super motard riders such as Tauranga’s Duncan Hart, Rotorua’s Scott Birch and Wanganui trio Jayden Carrick, Richard Dibben and Glenn Haden and extremely fast 600cc F2 bike racers such as Wellington’s Glen Skachill, Auckland’s Jayden Hassan, Christchurch’s Jake Lewis and Katikati’s Rhys Holmes, to name a few.
2012 Suzuki Tri Series calendar:
Round 1, December 8, Hampton Downs
Round 2, December 16, Manfeild
Round 3, December 26, Wanganui streets
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com