Motorcycle ace Gareth Jones is fizzing to go.
The young Australian who ran away with the 600cc sports production class in last season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships simply can’t wait to arrive back in Wanganui and begin preparing for his 2010 road-racing campaign.
And this year it won’t be a defence of the 600cc title that he’s planning but an all-out attack on the superbike crown.
Jones rode both classes last year and finished a respectable third in the superbike division. This time around he is concentrating on the superbike class only and he is determined to take away the No.1 plate.
“I’m fizzing. I can’t wait to get back to New Zealand,” said the 22-year-old Jones, speaking from the United Kingdom, where he has been based while racing both the Dutch and German Superbike Championships.
“I’m really looking forward to racing at tracks like Ruapuna, Teretonga and Manfeild again. I’m keen to try out some of the new skills I’ve picked up in Europe.”
Jones is currently leading the superbike class in the Dutch national championships and is well on target to wrap that up before he touches down in New Zealand in late October or November.
“I’ve heard that (New Zealand superbike champion) Robbie Bugden is not going to be defending his title this season and that’s very disappointing. I really have a point to prove against him.”
Jones will race a stock standard 2009-model Yamaha YZFR 1000 as the sole rider in the Wanganui-based Bernard Racing Yamaha Team.
Team boss Brian Bernard said he had talked with Jones last week and plans were in place to begin testing as soon as he arrived in the country.
“He tells me he has learned a lot racing in Europe this season and he has a lot of new ideas for testing. He reckons he’s going a lot quicker than last season and is the fittest he’s ever been,” said Bernard.
“We will have a one-rider team this year — all our eggs in one basket — but I think that’s all we’ll need. I have a lot of faith in Gareth and I know we can win the New Zealand superbike title this season.”
The New Zealand Superbike Championships kick off at Christchurch’s Ruapuna circuit on January 16-17 and wind up, five rounds later, at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on March 27-28.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com