Italian superstar Davide ‘Speedy’ Gozzini has confirmed his entry to race in this year’s Suzuki International Tri Series.
He stunned last year’s crowds with his spectacular sideways riding style on his TM Racing Factory race machine.
This year the 2009 Suzuki Tri-Series Supermoto champion will be even faster because he knows the tracks and arrives in top form after finishing runner-up in the World S1 Supermoto championship last weekend.
Gozzini went into the final round in Spain tied for the lead, but missed out on the world championship by just two points, to team-mate Thomas Chareyre.
Gozzini now has a point to prove during the three Suzuki International Tri-Series rounds, starting at Hampton Downs.
Last year fellow Italian Ivan Lazzarini was his closest competitor but this month Gozzini will have to deal with fellow Italian hot-shot Andrea Occhini, who finished ninth in the world title chase for Suzuki. Occhini and the defending Suzuki Tri-Series champion will race in the Supermoto 450 Moto class in all three rounds.
“Everybody heard about Gozzini last year and now spectators know what to expect,” said Suzuki International Tri-Series organiser Leighton Minnell .
“Occhini is also a very talented rider so he’s going to be pushing really hard, and we have a lot of raw talent in NZ too. Jayden Carrick has a brand new Suzuki RMZ450 and I’m betting he’ll be right there! Carrick and Toby Summers (Yamaha YZF450) will be the stand-outs hunting Gozzini down.
“Where else can you race against the world’s best – you’d have to travel a very long way just to watch riders at this level, so make sure you get out to watch a round or two!”
Former two-time NZ Superbike champion Russell Josiah will be another Kiwi for the Italians to contend with.
Minnell is expecting fireworks in all classes.
“All the fields are full with 30 bikes or more, except the sidecar categories. From Australia Stacey Sellars is back – so they’ll have a good tussle F1 Sidecar with Steve Bron and Adam Unsworth. Chris and Ritchie Lawrance will be back, as well as Paihia’s Pete the Pirate (Peter Goodwin)! Dave Annan from Christchurch always puts up a good fight too,” Minnell says.
The ever-popular classic sidecar heats add spice to the event, where the ‘swinger’ has to hang out into the fresh air while cornering to stabilise the usually sliding sidecar. These include a wide range of three-wheeled machinery from the past such as Norton, BMW, Moto Guzzi, BSA, Triumph, Harley Davidson, and a 1962 Matchless 750.
If you like exotic machinery check out the BEARS class. Former Kiwi international racer John Woodley returns to racing from Australia for the first time in three decades, on an MV Agusta F4 R312. A truly international BEARS field pits a range of Ducatis against several Aprilia RSV1000s, KTM’s super-quick RC8R, a Buell 1125CR, a Moto Guzzi LeMans, a pair of Truimph Daytona 675s and two very quick BMW S1000RRs.
The 2010 Suzuki International Tri-Series will be staged over three consecutive December weekends for a $26,000 prize pool at Hampton Downs, Manfeild, and Wanganui.
Early bird tickets are available at www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz
2010 Suzuki International Tri-Series Schedule:
Rnd 1: Hampton Downs, December 11
Rnd 2: Manfeild, December 18
Rnd 3: Wanganui Cemetery Circuit, December 26
© Words by Terry Stevenson
© Photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com