Hamilton’s Nick Cole can’t wait for the start of the new superbike season.
The 24-year-old fitter/welder took a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R to race away with the 600cc sports production class title at the motorcycle road-race nationals this season, the five-round series wrapping up at Hampton Downs in March, and then immediately declared that he was stepping up to campaign a 1000cc version of the bike in the superbike class in 2011.
Cole knows he’ll have his work cut out to beat defending national superbike champion Andrew Stroud (Suzuki), also of Hamilton, or frequent Australian visitor Robbie Bugden (Suzuki) but he’s confident he can make the transition to the bigger bike and even finish the season on the podium.
He had his first test ride on the 2010-model Kawasaki ZX-10R at Manfeild at the weekend and was thrilled with his first experience on the big green machine.
“I’m just using today to get the bike dialled in and set-up for racing,” said Cole. “But already I’m so impressed with the bike.
“It is so important for me now to get track time with this bike. In the New Zealand off-season these past few months I have been racing classic bikes in Australia and I’ve simply been hanging out to get to grips with the new Kawasaki.
“A lot of research has been done for me and Kawasaki New Zealand has been brilliant at passing on advice and knowledge from racing these bikes overseas. We had some base settings to work with and I think, after this weekend, we are already reasonably close to having it set up ready to race.
“I’ve been pretty impressed with the power. It pulls nice and strongly right through the rev range and, although it’s a much bigger and more powerful bike than my ZX-6R, it’s not too scary. It just feels like an over-powered 600. It’s very comfortable to ride and all I want to do now is get on it and do my thing.
“My aim this coming season is to win the national superbike crown … and I don’t see why I can’t.
“Nobody expected me to win the 600cc title for Kawasaki this year. I’d just love to prove the knockers wrong once again.”
The five-round national series is set to kick off at Levels Raceway, Timaru, on January 30.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Full story and more photos from the weekend’s action at Manfeild in your next issue of KIWI RIDER magazine.