Wellington’s Sloan Frost celebrated a breakthrough moment in his career when he won the 2015 edition of the popular Suzuki Series on Saturday.
Frost (MC2 Racing Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSX-R1000) finished second and third in his two Formula One Superbike class races at Whanganui on Boxing Day, enough for him to win his first major superbike trophy after eight years of trying.
It was perhaps the perfect ending to the series that wrapped up on the Cemetery Circuit, the closed-off public streets of Whanganui, with two Suzuki men claiming the Suzuki-sponsored series’ two premier trophies.
Not only did Suzuki hero Frost break free of his biggest threat for the F1 title, Liechtenstein’s Horst Saiger (Red Devil Racing Kawasaki ZXR-10R), but Suzuki also managed to snatch away the Formula Two 600cc class as well, with Auckland’s Daniel Mettam taking his Team RCM Suzuki GSX-R600 to overcome a nine-point deficit and end the day instead as F2 class champion.
“After finishing ahead of Saiger in the first race, it gave me a six-point buffer over him and so I backed off a little in race two, concentrating entirely on making sure I took the series crown. I just did what I had to do,” said the 34-year-old Frost.
“I ended up overheating the bike on the slow-down lap after race two and this meant I opted out of racing in the Robert Holden Memorial Race.”
It was a disastrous outcome in Whanganui for both the men who had respectively been the F1 and F2 class points leaders at the start of the day, Saiger and Wainuiomata’s Shane Richardson (Wainui Joinery Kawasaki ZX6).
Despite dominating the early part of the three-round competition, Saiger could manage only two fifth placings at Whanganui and slipped down to finish the series from first equal to third overall, eventually winding up behind the man who dominated the class at Whanganui, Whakatane’s Tony Rees (Honda CBR1000RR). Rees also won the stand-alone Robert Holden Memorial feature race.
A crash and subsequent non-finish in the opening F2 race at Whanganui wrecked Richardson’s chances of winning the series in that class, while Mettam finished first and third and took the series win by 12.5 points from surprise runner-up Damon Rees (Honda CBR600RR), the youngest son of Bay of Plenty veteran Tony Rees.
For 19-year-old Glen Eden rider Mettam, it was a rich reward for his efforts after he had narrowly missed out on winning the class last season, settling instead for overall runner-up on that occasion.
“This is the first big win for me,” said Mettam afterwards. “Now I’m getting ready for the nationals. I’m really looking forward to that.”
The mischief, mayhem and mix-ups continued in the super moto class where runaway championship leader Richie Dibben suffered a rare electrical problem with his bike and scored no points in the day’s first of two super moto races.
This was all the invitation that nearest rival Duncan Hart needed, the Tauranga man finishing first and third at Whanganui and thus earning enough points to sneak past Dibben and snatch away the class win instead.
Other class winners for the series were Auckland Gavin Veltmeyer (F3 sports bike); Te Awanga’s Eddie Kattenberg (post classics seniors, pre-89); Hamilton’s Shayne Lawrey (post classics juniors, pre-89); Raglan’s Robert Whittall (Bears, juniors, non-Japanese bikes); Feilding’s John Oliver (Bears, seniors); Britain’s Tim Reeves, Tauranga’s Robbie Shorter and Britain’s Mark Wilkes (sidecars).
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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