Bay of Plenty’s Rhys Holmes is going for a motorcycling hat-trick this season.
The 23-year-old Katikati motorcycle mechanic has his sights set on winning three major titles as the Kiwi road-racing season gets ready to kick off with the opening round of the Tri Series at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, this coming weekend (Dec 10).
The Yamaha ace is entered in three separate categories at all three rounds of this burgeoning series and he has realistic expectations that he will shine in each of them.
“I won the Formula One class at the Actrix Winter Series (that wrapped up at Taupo just a few weeks ago), so I know I’m riding well at the moment,” said Holmes.
“However, I didn’t complete enough rounds of that series in the formula two class to get a very high ranking on my Yamaha R6.
“But I am certainly on the pace. I have just finished doing the superbike school at Hampton Downs and that’s sharpened me up quite a bit too. I’ve learned to change my positioning on the bike and to rethink about how I look into corners and I think I’m going faster now that when I raced the winter series.
“I’ve been training very hard at the gym to get fit for the season ahead and that’s pretty important too.”
His race fitness, speed and stamina will all be put to the test over the coming months because, even though the Tri Series wraps up at the Cemetery Circuit on Wanganui’s public streets on Boxing Day, there is still the five-round New Zealand Superbike Championships for Holmes to tackle.
The nationals are set to kick off at Ruapuna, just outside Christchurch, on January 7-8.
He will ride his John Tuhoe Racing and Mount Motorcycles-sponsored Yamaha R1 in the superbikes class for the Tri Series, his Yamaha R6 in the 600cc class and also take a BMW S1000 to race in the Bears (non-Japanese) class for the Tri Series and again in the superbike class for the nationals.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com