Who needs after-market parts and hot-up kits?
Certainly not Hamilton motorcycle ace Nick Cole.
Cole (pictured above) showed up at Pukekohe at the weekend for round two of the Auckland Motorcycle Club Championships armed with nothing but a stock standard 2010-model Kawasaki ZX-10R and the talent to ride it.
By the end of the day he was on the top step of the Formula One class podium.
Cole raced a Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja to win the New Zealand 600cc sports production title this season and decided to step up to the bigger 1000cc superbike for his upcoming 2011 campaign.
Still getting to grips with bike set-up and with only limited time so far actually riding and racing the bike, Cole showed up at Pukekohe on Sunday with no real expectations.
By late afternoon, however, expectations had changed and now the 24-year-old fitter/welder is being talked about as a very likely superbike champion.
Cole battled all weekend with fellow Hamilton racer Sloan Frost, the rider who has dominated the Actrix Winter Series earlier this year.
Seasoned superbike racer Frost (BMW) won the day’s first F1 race, with Cole settling for second, just 2.1 seconds behind.
But then Cole pulled out all the stops to win the next race, setting a lap record of 59.039 seconds as he finished ahead of Auckland pair Matthew Drayson (Suzuki) and Travis Moan (Suzuki), with Frost back in fourth place.
Frost bounced back to win the day’s third and final F1 race but once again Cole was the fastest rider, setting a new lap record, a scorching 59.009 seconds, as he chased Frost across the line.
This was enough to give Cole the overall win for the day, finishing two points ahead of Frost, with Drayson taking third, another 14 points further back.
“For a stock standard bike it was awesome. It really surprised me,” said an overjoyed Cole afterwards.
“I certainly came away with a lot of confidence. I’m actually still learning to ride it after being on the 600cc earlier this year. With the ZX-10R you can just whack the throttle on and the rear wheel starts spinning … sliding sideways into corners can be pretty thrilling.”
Cole now looks ahead to his first big race meeting, the opening round of the annual Tri Series, at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on December 11.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com