Auckland’s Karl Morgan was in sensational form at the 21st annual Battle of the Streets race meeting in Paeroa on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Ray Clee Motorsports Team rider overcame problems in qualifying to dominate the Formula Two class at the Mobil 1-sponsored event.
When a gear lever broke early in the day, he had to accept an unaccustomed 12th overall in qualifying and this put him a long way back on the starting grid – set out on the closed-off State Highway 2, the main street of the Thames Valley town.
He then bounced back in the best way possible, taking his Suzuki GSX-R600 to run away to convincing wins in both F2 outings on Sunday.
It ended up as a Suzuki 1-2-3 in the F2 class with 25-year-old Whanganui rider Ashley Payne finishing runner-up and fellow Whanganui man Jayden Carrick third overall on an identical GSX-R600.
The 600cc bike riders had to line up alongside the 1000cc superbikes and, although they were scored separately, it still meant Morgan had his work cut out trying to match the bigger bikes, particularly on the long main straight, especially since he had to start off 12th spot on the grid.
The public street race is a torrid test of man and machine at the best of time but Morgan was up to the task on Sunday.
“I fought through the traffic to finish sixth in the opening F1/F2 race – first of the 600cc bike riders – and then did the same in the next race too.
“I do like the street racing. I got a good start each time and just picked off riders each lap. I was catching the other riders under brakes.
“I think you have to ride relaxed in street racing. It’s a bit like motocross because the roads can be quite rough. There are lots of bumps. I was just holding on tight. I was grateful to have (leading Suzuki superbike rider) Ray Clee to be my mechanic today. Ray was the New Zealand distributor for WP suspension so he knows how to set up bikes. I had a few scary moments today but that’s typical in street racing.
“I’m looking forward to the last two rounds of the nationals (at Hampton Downs on March 18 and at Taupo on March 25). My race wins at Paeroa have certainly given my confidence a big boost.”
Meanwhile, Taupo’s Scotty Moir (Honda) Palmerston North’s Glen Williams (Suzuki) led the way in the Formula Three class.
Williams finished 1-2 in his two F3 outings, sharing the overall with Moir who finished 2-1, the count-back rule giving the overall honours to Moir.
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh overall were men on Suzuki SV650 bikes similar to Williams’ – New Plymouth’s Terry Fitzgerald, Auckland’s Gavin Veltmeyer, Paraparaumu’s Sam Croft, Pakuranga’s Jason McCamish and Waitara’s Tom Weston respectively.
Moir also raced in the Supermotard class (pictured below on bike No.6), dominating the day with back-to-back wins.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com