He’s no longer at the helm of Motorcycling New Zealand, but that just means one thing for former MNZ CEO Paul Pavletich, he can take the time out to go racing again.
The 51-year-old former New Zealand road-race champion has not been on the race track for 11 years, but was very quickly up to speed again when he raced at the Hampton Downs Classic/Post Classic race meeting at the weekend.
“I got two second placings behind former Auckland champion and national post classic front runner Graham Moorhead in the Pre-82 senior class on the $100,000 McIntosh 1135.
“It’s a return to an old love for me … racing bikes. It was my first time racing a bike in 11 years, the first time on this particular bike, and my first race at the new Hampton Downs circuit and I loved it.”
“I was a little rusty and we had a few set up challenges as it was the bike’s maiden voyage, but all in all, a really good result.
“Ken McIntosh built this replica 25 years after Dr Roger Freeth won Bathurst. This was the same year I won the New Zealand F2 championship, so they offered me the ride as Roger is no longer with us. He died in the car rally crash with the late Possum Bourne.
The bike is owned by Ross Peden and Dave Dupe, and with Pavletich’s brother Mark Pavletich building the race engine and Paul Pavletich to tackle the riding duties, it creates a very special race team.
“The team was over the moon with our efforts today.
Pavletich, who had the nickname “Superman” in his racing days, hopes he can fly again on an international stage too.
“We are aiming to race it in Australia next year at the International Challenge at Philip Island and we will do the national round as further build-up.
“The bike is a magnificent machine. It’s powered by a 1981-model Suzuki 1135cc engine and was such a pleasure to ride.
“I’m looking forward to taking on the international meeting in Australia in January 2011. It attracts huge crowds — around 20,000 spectators turned out in January this year — and the best of New Zealand, Australia and England come to race.
“Everything our team does now is building up to that.”
Photo by Terry Stevenson.