Eddie “The Kat” Kattenberg still has what it takes to win motorcycle races.
After nearly 20 years out of the sport, the Hawke’s Bay rider made his comeback to superbike racing two years ago and he’s possibly as quick now as he ever was and certainly enjoying the sport just as much as in his heyday.
Kattenberg, the workshop foreman at a bike shop in Hastings, has an impressive background.
He was national TT champion in 1987 and also scored points in the World Superbike Championships in 1988 and 1989 – he hung up his helmet in 1992 – and now, nearly two decades on, he races a bike that was one of the best from back in his own golden era, a 1989 Yamaha FZR1000.
The 50-year-old from Te Awanga may have been out of the sport for quite some time but it didn’t show when he dominated the senior post classics class at this year’s Victoria Motorcycle Club Winter Series, which wrapped up with round six at Taupo on Saturday.
Kattenberg had actually wrapped up the class win at the previous round at Manfeild but he just loves racing so much that it was impossible to stay away from the final round at the weekend.
“I just love racing and I wanted to support the club too,” he said.
“It’s surprising how quickly it all came back to me. The only problems I have now are all age related … I feel pretty stuffed at the end of a day’s racing.
“The last time I raced this (Victoria Motorcycle Club) series, in 1989, I won the Formula One class. I left the series a winner and now I’ve come back as a winner. That’s pretty cool.
“It’s been a bit of a rebirth for me and I’m really enjoying racing again. The difference now is that there’s no real pressure on me to win. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”
Kattenberg is sponsored by Joe Lett Motorcycles in Wanganui and by Maidstone Yamaha in Upper Hutt.
“Big Mac (the owner of Maidstone Yamaha) is a brilliant guy and a huge help. He really looks after me,” said Kattenberg.
Waipukurau’s Mark Bramley (Yamaha) finished runner-up to Kattenberg in the class, while Tauranga’s Ben Keller (Yamaha) took the third spot on the series podium.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com