He’s not winning all his battles, but Lower Hutt’s Roger Cathro is certainly winning the war.
That’s the situation after the fourth round of six in the Victoria Motorcycle Club’s popular Actrix Winter Series at Manfeild at the weekend.
The 30-year-old baker rode his 1000cc Yamaha R1 to 8-8-7 placings at Manfeild on Sunday, enough for him to keep a hold of his series lead in the prestigious formula one class.
“I am really up against it with these top national championship level riders at the moment,” said Cathro.
“It has been hard to get my confidence back and get my head back into racing after the crash I suffered at the previous round. I had my shoulder x-rayed and there was no break … just a dislocation … but I’m 100% again now.
“I am grateful to have so much support from my friends and family and also from my sponsor, TSS Red Baron in Lower Hutt.
“We’re more than halfway through the series now and I still have the points lead, so I can’t complain.”
Tauranga’s Sloan Frost (M1 Motorsport BMW S1000RR) easily dominated the day in the F1 class at Manfeild on Sunday, winning all three races ahead of fellow superbike ace Hayden Fitzgerald (Honda CBR1000RR), but, because this was only Frost’s second outing in the winter series this season, he is effectively unable to win the title.
Cathro’s main rivals for the winter series crown, Katikati’s Rhys Holmes (BMW) and Hawera’s Nick Prestige (Ducati) are starting to close in on the Wellington man, but a solid couple of performances over the remaining two events should see Cathro take the title.
Holmes finished 4-4-4 on Sunday, to move up into the runner-up position in the series standings, and he is now just 16 points behind Cathro.
That Cathro is shining as brightly as this is remarkable, especially considering he was only racing in the clubmans’ class a year ago — a category where novices and beginners might cut their teeth and learn the craft.
It is incredible that Cathro now leads the elite formula one superbike class at his first attempt.
“I just need to keep plugging away and pocketing points here and there to protect my lead,” said Cathro. “My confidence is back and I feel good. I’m actually hoping for a wet round over the last two events because I seem to go quite well when it gets slippery and I seem to handle it better than some of my rivals.”
It could be a nailbiting conclusion to the series too because only five of the six rounds count and when Cathro, Holmes and Prestige each drop their worst scores, the points tighten up considerably.
The fifth round in the series is set for Manfeild on September 24 and it all wraps up at round six at Taupo on October 29.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com