The pendulum of luck swung firmly back in favour of Hamilton’s Andrew Stroud on Boxing Day.
The Suzuki International Tri Series got off to a rocky start for the Suzuki star at Manawatu’s Manfeild circuit a week ago when he failed to finish one of the two superbike races, but he responded in the best possible way at round two on the public streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day, the famous Cemetery Circuit proving once again to be a happy hunting ground for the former national superbike champion.
Feilding’s Craig Shirriffs (Honda) dominated the day at Manfeild to comfortably lead the Tri Series after the opening round, but the balance of power shifted dramatically at Wanganui.
Shirriffs won the day’s first of two superbike class races at Wanganui, taking the lead from Stroud at about the midpoint of the race and never looking back.
But it all turned sour for Shirriffs in the next superbike outing as he crashed heavily and failed to finish.
So, with two of three rounds now complete, each rider has recorded two wins, a second placing and a non finish and it will go down to the wire at the third and final round at Taupo on Monday to decide the series.
The icing on the cake for Stroud at Wanganui was winning the one-off Robert Holden Memorial feature race, dramatically snatching the lead on the last lap to secure the trophy.
“The Tri Series doesn’t matter so much to me,” confided the 36-year-old Shirriffs. “I really wanted to win the Robert Holden race though. I’m pretty gutted about missing out on that,” he said.
For Stroud, it was a welcome change of fortune.
“I didn’t have a great weekend at Manfeild but it worked out for me here today.”
Runner-up in the superbike class at Wanganui was Hamilton’s Nick Cole (Kawasaki ZXR600), with fellow Hamilton man Jared Love (Honda CBR600) taking third spot.
Cole also won the 600 supers class, ahead of Love and Wellington’s Glen Skachill (Suzuki GSX-R600).
The wins in several classes were shared with classics sidecars pairings Andy Scrivener and Steve Bryan (Taupo, BMW) and John Blaymires and Dave Garlick (Te Puke, Motoguzzi) inseparable in the classics sidecars class, while Tuakau’s Paul Dobbs (Ducati) and Australian Joel Reed (Aprilia) shared the honours in the BEARS class.
The other bike classes were won by Italian visitor Davide Gozzini (Super Motard, TM600FSMR); Wanganui pair Stephen Bron and Dennis Simonsen (F1 sidecars, Suzuki LCR); Wellington’s Tony McQueen (Classic Pre 63, Norton); New Plymouth’s Terry Fitzgerald (Formula three, Suzuki) and Paraparaumu’s Sean Donnelly (Post Classics, Kawasaki).
Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com