Christchurch’s John Ross has a lot to live up to and his grand plan for 2011 is to become New Zealand No.1, just like his father before him.
The Canterbury motorcycle ace is the 29-year-old son of nine-time former national speedway champion Larry Ross and he’s determined to win a New Zealand motorcycle championship of his own before he turns 30, not that his father isn’t already immensely proud of John, and for good reason.
Yamaha’s Ross finished third in the closely-fought 600cc sports production class in the 2010 New Zealand Superbike Championships, that series wrapping up at the Hampton Downs circuit near Meremere back in March, but he has plans to go a couple of steps better when the new season kicks off in January.
Of course it won’t be easy for the Christchurch landscaper with the 600cc class typically producing some of the hottest racing on the programme, likely to again feature such top talent as fellow Christchurch riders James Smith, Dennis Charlett, Jay Lawrence and Cameron Jones, Inglewood’s Midge Smart and Wellington’s Glen Skachill, to name just a few.
In addition to that he’ll have a new rival to beat as well, his new Yamaha team-mate, fellow Christchurch rider Eric Oliver-Maxwell.
“Eric and I will both campaign the R6 model Yamaha this season, me in the super sport category and Eric in the battle (actually a race-within-a-race) for super stock honours,” said Ross.
“Eric raced the 125GP class last season, finishing fourth, and I am convinced he’s good enough to finish top three in the 600cc class.
“We’ve had fantastic support from Bob McCleary Yamaha in setting up the team … nothing is too much trouble for that man … and I am very excited about the season ahead.
“I’m definitely going quicker than last year. I finished ninth in the 600cc class in 2009 and third this season. I know I’m now capable of winning outright.”
The build-up towards the nationals has been going full steam for Ross as he took himself off-shore to race for the first time just a couple of months ago.
“I crossed the Tasman to race at round three of the Aussie nationals in June and I finished ninth and tenth in my two 600cc races. I’ll be heading across to race again, in Queensland, at round five of their series on August 22. I’m putting a lot more into my racing this year.”
The five-round New Zealand championships kick off at Levels Raceway near Timaru on January 30 and run through until April, at which point Ross fully intends to be painting the No.1 on his Yamaha R6 motorcycle.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com