It was the perfect start to the 2016 New Zealand Superbike Championships season for Suzuki’s Sloan Frost at the weekend.
Fresh from winning the Formula One class in the three-round pre-national Suzuki Series, which wrapped up on the streets of Whanganui on Boxing Day, the Wellington man managed to kick on from that career breakthrough performance to dominate racing in the premier class at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, on Saturday and Sunday.
Frost (MC2 Racing Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSX-R1000) won three out of three superbike class races at this first round of four in the national series – the gruelling 20-lap third leg at Ruapuna also recognised as the race to decide the New Zealand Grand Prix title.
What was even more remarkable was that the 34-year-old Frost had never previously won a race at the Ruapuna circuit and so to get the “monkey off the back” in such a commanding fashion was itself worthy of celebration.
“I’ve never taken a win at Ruapuna before, so just coming here and getting such a solid result is great,” he said.
“Then, to win the GP race and earn a major title is great too.
“The bike has been hooking up well … I nearly ran over a lapped rider at one stage, but it all worked out in the end.
“I knew the riders behind me were battling hard and I figured that would slow them down too, so perhaps that helped me.”
With Frost tasting such success at his “bogey” track of Ruapuna, it perhaps sounds a warning bell for his championship rivals.
“Now that I’ve gotten over the mountain of not having won at Ruapuna, now I can go on a build on this at the tracks coming up, ones that I have enjoyed success on in the past.”
It was a Suzuki 1-2-3 in the superbike class with Christchurch’s former 600cc national champion John Ross finishing runner-up each time and Hamilton’s nine-time former national superbike champion Andrew Stroud – the 47-year-old father-of-10 making a comeback to the sport after retiring two years ago – firing up again on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 to finish the day with a remarkable 3-3-4 score-line and take third step on the podium.
Other class winners were Tirau’s Dillon Telford (superstock 1000, Aprilia RSV4 RF); Christchurch’s Cameron Hudson (600cc supersport, Yamaha R6); Christchurch’s Dennis Charlett (pro twins, Suzuki SV650); Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler (125GP, Honda RS125); New Plymouth’s Shaun Harris (superlites, Suzuki GSXR450); Rolleston’s Tim McArthur (lightweights, Kawasaki Ninja 300); Ashburton’s Lewis Dray (250cc Production, Kawasaki Ninja 250); Christchurch’s Gordon Wilcock (Bears F1, non-Japanese, Aprilia 1000) Greymouth’s Ashton Hughes (Bears F2, non-Japanese bikes, KTM 450SX-F supermoto); Auckland’s Colin Buckley and Tauranga’s Robbie Shorter (sidecars, LCR Kawasaki).
The four-round championship now heads to Teretonga, on the outskirts of Invercargill, for round two next weekend, with a third South Island round a week later at Levels Raceway, near Timaru, on January 24, and the final round is scheduled for Hampton Downs, near Huntly, on March 5-6.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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