“Adequate” is how Christchurch motorcycle ace John Ross described his own performance round two of the International Tri Series at Manfeild on Saturday.
But taking a stock standard bike to finish the day equal runner-up in the highly-charged Formula 2 600 Supers class can surely be regarded as much better than merely “adequate”.
“It’s just that anything less than winning is hard to take … I’m actually disappointed with my day today,” said the 29-year-old landscaper.
“I came here to win,” he said matter-of-factly.
Ross took his unmodified 2010-model Yamaha R6 to runner-up spot in the day’s opening 600cc race, behind Wellington’s Glen Skachill (Suzuki GSX-R 600), setting the tone for the even more intense action that was to follow.
In the next outing, Ross was locked in a fierce duel with fellow Christchurch rider Dennis Charlett (Suzuki), Ross eventually forced to accept third spot as the pair dived across the line virtually inseparable, with just one hundredth of a second between them.
“I’m still riding a standard bike … it’s not yet in super sport specifications … but it will be when the nationals kick off (at Timaru’s Levels Raceway on January 30).
“I’m currently down about five horsepower against the souped-up bikes of my rivals. Glen (Skachill) is very good around Manfeild but my build-up is going well and I expect better results in the nationals.”
Ross had struck problems at the opening round of the Tri Series at Hampton Downs a week earlier.
He had qualified fastest at the new track near Meremere but then bogged the bike on the start line in his first race, eventually surging through the field to finish fourth.
“In my next race the lanyard connection to the cut-off switch shorted out and my bike rolled to a halt on the warm-up lap, so no points there.”
This means Ross is down in fifth spot overall after two of three rounds, with a good day essential for him now at the final round on the public streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day.
In contrast, the series could not be going much better for the 20-year old Skachill.
“I have won all the races in this class so far but I’m not taking anything for granted … that’s when you get caught out,” said Skachill.
“John Ross shaved two seconds off his lap times between Friday’s practise and today’s races, so you just never know.”
“I’m looking ahead now to the streets of Wanganui. I know both John (Ross) and Dennis (Charlett) will be fast there. I finished third last year at Wanganui, my first time at the event, so I’m hoping for better.
“Chris ‘Ozzy’ Osborne has built a great bike for me and I can’t say enough to thank him.”
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com