A steady as you go approach may be the order of the day for Inglewood’s Midge Smart this weekend.
The only trouble is that this 24-year-old racer has never been known to take things easy and it could well be another couple of podiums for the Yamaha star at the fourth round of five in this year’s New Zealand Superbike Championships at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, this weekend.
Smart leads the 600 superstock championship standings after the first three South Island rounds of the series, establishing a solid 14-point lead over fellow Yamaha star Jaden Hassan as the riders head to the Hampton Downs circuit this weekend.
The Yamaha R6 bikes seems to be the weapon of choice in this 600 superstock class.
Third in the superstock standings is Christchurch rider Eric Oliver-Maxwell (Yamaha), 27 points behind Hassan, while fourth overall is Invercargill’s Stewart Smart, on another Yamaha R6, a further 23 points adrift.
But it is Midge Smart who holds the balance of power and he’ll be the man the others will target this weekend.
“It’s been a long time between drinks for me, so I’m pretty determined to win this title,” said Smart, the national 125GP champion back in 2005 but either unlucky on the track or absent with overseas racing commitments in the intervening years.
“I was doing all my own mechanical work in the South Island rounds but I will have assistance this weekend and at the final round (at Manfeild the following weekend), so that should allow me to concentrate on the business of racing the bike.
“I really just need to keep everything clean and smooth from now on to secure the title … no silly mistakes or unnecessary risks.
“I probably only need to beat Jaden one more time and then I can afford to finish second to him in every race after that. Jaden’s been riding really well, though, so I can’t afford to take it too lightly. He’s done a lot of miles lately and he’s young and fit and pretty sharp.”
The fifth and final round is set for Manfeild, near Palmerston North, on April 3.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com