Next year’s Castrol Power-1 New Zealand Superbike Championships will be minus one very important component — the hugely successful Bernard Yamaha Racing Team.
“It is with much regret that Bernard Racing is forced to withdraw from the coming season’s road racing,” said team boss Brian Bernard, of Wanganui.
“A sudden change in team support has left me with no choice but to cancel our team plans.
“This will be the first summer ‘off’ in the 28 years that I have either raced or managed a team.
“In the 12 years we’ve been back in NZ, (after eight years racing between the USA and New Zealand), I’ve tried hard to raise the profile and professionalism of the sport I so passionately enjoy.”
Racing for the team over the past few seasons, young Australian Gareth Jones made many friends in New Zealand on his way to claiming road-race titles here.
Jones won the 600cc sports production title this season and also finished third in the superbike class, in addition to winning the New Zealand TT title for the 600cc class.
His most dominating performance was in the 600cc class where he was beaten just once in 10 races on his way to the 2009 title win.
“We, as a family and business, have devoted every spare dollar and spare hour of every day … as a lot of us have done … into our race team, and is regretful to now have to walk away,” said Bernard.
“If the economy takes a turn for the good, and sponsorship can be found, then we could be back next year, bigger and better, who knows.
“After 28 years in the racing scene, it may be time to move on to other adventures.
“A huge thanks to all the friends, family and sponsors who have helped so much over the years.
“Without these people and businesses, the adventure would have ended a long time ago. ‘Thanks’ just doesn’t say it enough.
“We will now devote our energy into building up our workshop and will now be able to provide service to all makes and models 12 months of the year.
“We look forward to this new change in our life and wish everyone the most successful and safe race season.”
The Castrol Power 1 New Zealand Superbike Championships are set to kick off at Christchurch’s Ruapuna circuit on January 16-17, with rounds to follow at Teretonga, near Invercargill, on January 23-24; Levels Raceway, near Timaru, on January 30-31; Manfeild Raceway, in Feilding, on February 27-28 and, finally, at the new Hampton Downs circuit, near Meremere, on March 27-28.
Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com