Canterbury’s Cameron Hudson is showing no signs of the pressure he’s under.
The 20-year-old Yamaha from Christchurch rider heads to the third round of four in this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships at Levels Raceway, near Timaru, this weekend with high hopes that he can enhance his points lead in the hotly-contested 600cc supersport class.
Hudson finished the opening weekend of four in the series at Ruapuna, on the outskirts of Christchurch, with a solid 22.5-point lead over his nearest championship threat, Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam (Suzuki), but that advantage has now been shaved by four points after a tough weekend at round two at Teretonga, near Invercargill, last weekend.
So the pressure is on for Hudson as he prepares for Levels this Saturday and Sunday, knowing that Mettam, Wainuiomata’s Shane Richardson (Kawasaki), Whakatane’s Damon Rees (Honda), Westmere’s Aaron Hassan (Suzuki) and Invercargill’s Jeremy Holmes (Honda) are all capable of catching him.
But Hudson (Trevor Pierce Yamaha R6) remains quietly confident.
“There is still a reasonable margin. Teretonga went pretty well and I managed to get a podium in every race. Consistency is what counts towards winning championships and I think I should have a slight edge on my rivals at Levels this weekend.
“I like racing at Levels and I’ve been there quite a few times. It was the same for me at Ruapuna too with me being very familiar with both tracks. But I had never previously raced a 600cc bike at Teretonga until last weekend and I think some of my rivals had an advantage over me there.
“It will be a similar story at Hampton Downs (the North Island venue for the fourth and final round on the weekend of March 5-6). I had the advantage at two of these South Island rounds, but not at the other two venues, so I think it’s been a pretty even playing field for the competition.
“I’m quite surprised at how fast Daniel Mettam is going. He was about a second quicker than he was at Ruapuna last year and was right up there at Teretonga too. He has really stepped up the pace this year.
“I get on pretty well with him at the race track, but when the flag drops it’s all on.”
With 25 points on offer for a race win, 20 for runner-up and just 16 points for third place, Hudson knows his 18.5-point advantage could very quickly shrivel up.
“I just need to make sure I get good points this weekend … ideally I need three wins. In this way I will have a buffer as we head to Hampton Downs,” said Hudson.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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