Wanganui’s Brian Bernard is again bringing a gun to a street fight.
The Bernard Racing Yamaha race team boss says Australian Dan Stauffer is back in New Zealand this weekend and that should ring a few alarm bells for the country’s top motorcycle street fighters.
Yamaha superbike ace Stauffer was a street racing novice when he showed up at Wanganui on Boxing Day last year, but he proceeded to shock and awe the establishment by winning the day.
He was awarded the superbike class trophy on a count-back, after sharing race wins in the superbike class with Hamilton’s street fighting hero Andrew Stroud (David Reid Homes Mobil 1 Suzuki), and then he surprised everyone when he also won the Robert Holden Memorial feature race.
It was a remarkable result because not only was it Stauffer’s first visit to the Cemetery Circuit at Wanganui, but it was also his first ever street race full stop.
“We don’t race on the streets in Australia,” said Stauffer. “So that was a new experience for me.”
But the just-turned 35-year-old returns this Boxing Day for another crack at the title and this time he arrives with experience, the experience of a champion no less.
“It was my first time at Wanganui last year, but I won. I guess I am a fast learner, so that helps,” he smiled.
He will again ride a 1000cc Bernard Racing Yamaha R1 and he was in New Zealand at the weekend to set it up for this coming Monday’s racing on Wanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit.
“It was a lot of fun. Last year’s bike was one of the best I’d ridden in terms of handling and this year I am racing a 2009-model Yamaha R1 which I am hoping will be just as good. I know that Brian Bernard will do his best to give me the best machinery possible.
“I’m coming to Wanganui with one aim in mind … to win again. It was a last minute decision to come back because we just didn’t have the sponsorship. I was so late that I even missed out on getting listed in the event programme.
“But I’m race fit and raring to go.”
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com