Hamilton’s Andrew Stroud finished the job he started three weeks earlier when he wrapped up the Suzuki Tri Series superbike crown at the final round on the streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day.
He finished runner-up at the series opener at Hampton Downs on December 10 and snatched the points lead when he won the day at round two at Manfeild just over a week ago, but it called for an entirely different style of racing to conquer the tight and twisty streets of Wanganui’s fabled Cemetery Circuit.
The David Reid Homes Mobil 1 Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider also had to tame Australasia’s elite superbike riders, each of them determined to snap the Stroud win-streak, and all of them entirely capable of doing just that.
But Stroud finished 3-2 in the two superbike class races at Wanganui, and also finished third in the one-off Robert Holden Memorial feature race, to firmly rubber-stamp his “ownership” of the Suzuki Tri Series. He has now won the superbike component of the series every year since the inaugural running in 2008.
In the end, Stroud’s eight-point buffer at the top of the standings as he headed into Boxing Day’s finale was again just too much for anybody to overcome.
Stroud didn’t dominate the 2011 series as he may have done in previous seasons – with Australian Robbie Bugden (Triple R Suzuki GSX-R1000), Aucklander Ray Clee (Colemans Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Australian Dan Stauffer (Bernard Racing Yamaha R1) – each taking wins from Stroud during the series, but Stroud was consistently good and also so many of his rivals chose not to contest all three rounds, thus making Stroud’s task that much easier.
Last year’s winner on Wanganui’s streets, Gold Coast rider Stauffer, was again a force to be reckoned with on Boxing Day – finishing 1-1 in the two superbike races and also winning the Robert Holden Memorial feature race – but unfortunately for race fans this was also his first and only showing in the Suzuki Tri Series this season and he therefore had no chance of taking the series win outright.
Bugden, Feilding’s Craig Shirriffs (Haldane Suzuki GSX-R1000), Tauranga’s Sloan Frost (BMW 1000) and final round winner Stauffer were four of the more notable superbike riders who did not mount a full Suzuki Tri Series superbike campaign this season.
Consistency gave Hamilton’s Nick Cole (Red Devil Kawasaki ZX-10) the runner-up spot in the Suzuki Tri Series.
“Nick (Cole) was riding very well,” said Stroud. “It was a very bumpy track at Wanganui, I struggled to find traction a times, but all credit to Dan (Stauffer) for winning here.
“Winning the series overall was the main aim for me, so I’m happy to have achieved that.
“I am now getting prepared to race the New Zealand Superbike Championships (which kick off at Christchurch’s Ruapuna circuit on January 8).”
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
2011 Suzuki Tri-Series results from Wanganui, Sunday December 26.
F1 Superbikes race 1: Dan Stauffer (Australia, Yamaha R1), 1; Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki ZX10R), 2; Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki GSXR1000), 3; Hayden Fitzgerald (Hawera, Honda CBR1000RR), 4; Ray Clee (Kumeu, Suzuki GSXR 1000), 5; Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda CBR1000), 6.
Race 2: Stauffer, 1; Stroud, 2; Cole, 3; Clee, 4; Ryan Hampton (Christchurch, Honda CBR1000RR), 5; Moir, 6.
Final series points: Andrew Stroud, 129; Nick Cole, 116; Ray Clee, 113; Terry Fitzgerald, 86; Scott Moir, 73; Ryan Hampton, 68.
Robert Holden Memorial Feature; Stauffer, 1; Cole, 2; Stroud, 3; Clee, 4; Moir 5, Hampton 6.
F2 600 Supers race 1: Glen Skachill (Wellington, Suzuki GSXR600), 1; Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, Suzuki GSXR600), 2; Karl Morgan (Auckland, Suzuki GSXR600), 3; Ashley Payne (Wanganui/Australia, Suzuki GSXR600), 4; Rhys Holmes (Katikati, Yamaha R6), 5; John Oliver (Hawera, Honda CBR600), 6.
Race 2: Charlett, 1; Skachill, 2; Morgan, 3; Oliver, 4; Payne, 5; Rennie Scaysbrook (Australia, Suzuki GSXR600), 6.
Final series points: Glen Skachill, 143; Dennis Charlett, 127; Karl Morgan, 108; Rhys Holmes, 90; Jamie Galway, 74; Ashley Payne, 60.
450 Supermoto race 1A (3 laps): Richard Dibben (Wanganui, Honda CRF450), 1; Jayden Carrick (Wanganui, Suzuki RMZ450), 2; Toby Summers (Auckland, Yamaha YZF450), 3; Glenn Haden (Wanganui, Honda CRF450), 4; Scott Birch (Rotorua, Aprilia SXV450), 5; Duncan Hart (Tauranga, Husqvarna 450RR), 6 .
Race 2: Haden, 1; Summers, 2; Carrick, 3; Hart, 4; Birch, 5; Steven Croad (Honda), 6.
Final series points: Toby Summers, 137; Glenn Haden, 122; Jaden Carrick, 116; Richard Dibben, 102; Duncan Hart, 90.5; Scott Birch, 87.
F1 Sidecars race 1: Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe (Wanganui, Windle F1 1000), 1; Chris Lawrance/Steve Bron (Auckland, Yamaha R1), 2; Des James/Warren Miller (Auckland, Suzuki Applecross), 3; Darryl Dowman/Ben Dowman (Sunseeker 1000), 4; Tracey Anderson/Jo Mickleson) Tauranga, Yamaha 600), 5; Robert Pay/John Skevington (Suzuki GSXR1100), 6.
Race 2: Unsworth/Dawe, 1; Lawrance/Bron, 2; James/Miller, 3; Downman/Dowman, 4; Anderson/Mickleson, 5; Michael Wolland/Jim Bilby, 6.
Final series points: Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe, 153; Des James/Warren Miller, 116; Tracey Anderson/Jo Mickleson, 98; Chris Lawrance/Steve Bryan & Steve Bron, 88; Corey Winter/Tim Shepherd (Wanganui, Honda BR 1000), 85; Wolland/Bilby, 42.
Post Classic race 1: Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Bimota YB8 1000), 1; Steve Bridge (Ngaruawahia Ducati TT2 900), 2; Eamon Timms (Lower Hutt, Kawasaki XR400), 3; Jason Hulme (Marton, Honda VFR400), 4; Patric Nassbaum (Germany/Kerikeri, Kawasaki ZX10), 5; Bernard Ryan (Stokes Valley, Moto Guzzi Le Mans), 6.
Race 2 (restarted): Williams, 1; Bridge, 2; Timms, 3; Nassbaum, 4; Hulme, 5; Sean Donnelly (Paraparaumu, Kawasaki GPZ1100), 6.
Final series points: Glen Williams, 153; Steve Bridge, 114; Sean Donnelly, 97.5; Patrick Nassbaum, 95; Paul Wootton, 85; Jason Hulme, 81.
BEARS race 1: Rhys Holmes (Katikati, BMW S1000RR), 1; Steve Bridge (Ngaruawahia, Ducati F1 750), 2; Mark Perry (Palmerston North, Aprilia RSV1000), 3; Jamie Galway (Masterton, Triumph Daytona 675), 4; Brett Gray (Palmerston North, Triumph Daytona 675), 5; Craig Flood (New Plymouth, Aprilia SXV550), 6.
Race 2: Holmes, 1; Perry, 2; Galway, 3; Bridge, 4; Gray, 5; Nick Prestidge (Hawera Ducati 1098), 6.
Final series points: Rhys Holmes, 149; Jamie Galway, 116; Duncan Coutts, 101; Brent Nelson, 68; Steve Bridge, 56; Nick Prestidge, 54.
F3 Sportbikes race 1: Scott Moir (Taupo, Honda RSV450), 1; Glen Williams (Palmerston North, Suzuki SVR650), 2; Terry Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Suzuki SV650), 3; Gareth Easter (Wellington, Suzuki GSR450), 4; Dean Bentley (Lower Hutt, Suzuki SV650), 5; Eamon Timms (Lower Hutt, Kawasaki XR400), 6.
Race 2: Moir, 1; Williams, 2; Fitzgerald, 3; Nairn, 4; Easter, 5; Bentley, 6.
Final series points: Glenn Williams, 140; Terry Fitzgerald, 123; Scott Moir, 118; Dean Bentley, 91; Daniel Mettam, 83; Jason Nairn, 66.