It may be a fraction chilly in Canada right now, but all that superbike ace Andrew Nelson can feel at the moment is the heat.
Canadian superbike No.2 Nelson is currently in New Zealand, his first visit to the country, determined to get some “extra time on the bikes” as he races the Suzuki International Tri Series.
“There’s 20 centimetres of snow at home in Ottawa at the moment, so it’s good for me to come here and get a little off-season practice,” said the 26-year-old Yamaha rider.
It is certainly not cold in New Zealand right now, with record temperatures baking the country and Nelson engaged in the hottest race action seen in the country in quite some time.
The International Tri Series kicked off at Hampton Downs last weekend, with Nelson taking a virtually stock Bernard Racing Yamaha R1 into action against a packed field on international talent, including Kiwi aces Andrew Stroud (Suzuki), Craig Shirriffs (Suzuki), Sloan Frost (BMW), Nick Cole (Kawasaki), James Smith (Suzuki), Ryan Hampton (Honda) and Tony Rees (Yamaha), and Australian heroes Robbie Bugden (Suzuki) and Dan Stauffer (Yamaha), to name a few.
Although he had never even seen the circuit near Meremere until the weekend, Nelson finished a respectable 10th and 11th in his two superbike outings, good enough for 10th overall on the day.
“It has been a real experience to come here,” said Nelson, who works as a motorcycle salesman in his off-season. “I will race at round two of the Tri Series at Manfeild this coming weekend and then on the streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day. All of this will be a new experience for me.
“Everybody is so fast down here in this part of the world.”
Nelson is very experienced on Yamaha bikes and arrived in New Zealand with support from Yamaha Canada.
“My family have been very supportive too … they all wanted me to go to New Zealand and I already knew that Brian Bernard’s bike package was very good indeed, so the decision to come was easy.”
Nelson said he is looking forward to racing at Manfeild this Saturday and having Australian Dan Stauffer join him in the Wanganui-based Bernard Racing Yamaha squad for the racing around Wanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com