He’s such a fast learner, that Roger Cathro is now giving out lessons on the race track himself.
The Wellington baker has been cooking up a storm on the road-race scene in recent months and many observers could be forgiven for asking ‘who is this guy?’ and ‘where did he come from?’ as the Yamaha ace cuts through traffic at Manfeild, in the Manawatu.
The 30-year-old from Lower Hutt was racing the clubmans’ class a year ago — a category where novices and beginners might cut their teeth and learn the craft — but now Cathro is winning the elite formula one superbike class at the popular Victoria Motorcycle Club’s Actrix Winter Series.
It has been a very steep learning curve and Cathro has been quick to accept the challenge, in his own words “going from doing nothing but a few track days to leading the F1 class” in just over 12 months.
“I also won the Cliffhanger Hillclimb at Martinborough recently,” he said.
“The first time I did that event was a year ago and I finished seventh on that occasion.
“I have literally been taking it one step at a time. And working with (suspension expert) Robert Taylor, I have been making good progress.
“Depending on how well I continue to go, I may race the Wanganui streets races on Boxing Day and, if I can find some sponsorship, I’ll possibly race the national superbike championships too. Perhaps I will only do a couple of selected rounds this year and see how that goes.
“I don’t know any of the tracks except Manfeild, so that will make things interesting, and I have never raced on the Wanganui streets either. I have only ever been there as a spectator.
“I’m not sure whether the secret of my success is bravery or stupidity. I think you need a bit of both actually. To win races you have to be brave but to stay on the bike you have to be careful. I have not crashed yet, touch wood, and I think that’s because the bike is fantastic. It’s a 2010-model Yamaha YZFR1 and has amazing grip and I feel good feedback from the engine.”
After two rounds of the popular Actrix Winter Series, Cathro leads the F1 class by 27 points from Hawera’s Nick Prestige (Ducati). The next round is set for Manfeild next weekend, July 16.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com