There will be more international talent than you can wave a passport at in this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships and that includes competition among the “baby” bike racers in the 125GP class.
The Hawke’s Bay-based Yamaha VB Racing Team will have multi-time Australian and Queensland dirt track champion Josh McGrath waving the flag when the nationals kick off at levels Raceway, near Timaru, on January 30.
Racing a 125cc bike, the 14-year-old made his debut in the Australian Superbike Championships last year and finished the day fourth in his class.
He followed that initial success by embarking on a three-month stint of racing in Europe, between September and December.
He finished 25th in the Spanish GP125 championship race at Albacete, unfortunately did not finish his next race, at the Spanish GP125 championship race at Jerez, but bounced back to finish 20th in the IDM German Championship at Hockenheim and then score a remarkable sixth placing in the GP125 Dutch championship at Assen.
Now he’s looking for more international territory to conquer and gain experience with his career dream to one day race, and win, a world championship.
“This news has me the most excited I think I’ve ever been about racing,” said Yamaha VB Racing Team manager Maarty van Booma.
“I think Josh will be pretty happy to leave behind flood-ravaged Queensland and come over for a bit of racing in sunny New Zealand.
“Unfortunately, Josh will only be here for the first three rounds of the New Zealand season because he’s due back in Spain for testing there. But we are currently in negotiations with another young Australian and two American riders to come and join the team also.”
The New Zealand Superbike Championships kick off at levels Raceway, near Timaru, on January 30, with rounds to follow at Teretonga, near Invercargill, on February 6; Ruapuna, near Christchurch, on February 13; Hampton Downs, Meremere, on March 27 and, finally, Manfeild, near Palmerston North, on April 3.
© Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com