A refrigeration engineer was, perhaps unsurprisingly, as cool as ice on the race track at Hampton Downs at the weekend, freezing out his rivals and winning his first national superbike title.
Wellington’s Sloan Frost took his MC2 Fujitsu TSS Red Baron Suzuki GSX-R1000 to top the qualification charts for the glamour superbike class at this fourth and final round of the New Zealand Superbike Championships and then, protecting his 43-point lead over his nearest rival John Ross, he settled for a solid third in the first race on Saturday.
That result actually extending his championship lead to 48 points as Christchurch’s fellow Suzuki ace Ross finished sixth in that race.
Frost then won the next race on Sunday morning, but he had to work for it.
“I was behind (Taupo Suzuki rider) Scotty Moir for the first three-quarters of the race … he got away at the start and was riding really fast … I think it took me a couple of laps to relax.
“Then I started to flow, saw where I faster than him and passed for the lead and that was that.”
With that win, Frost was now more than 50 points in front for the championship and the national title was his.
Even though the title was in the bag, the next race was important too because it was also for the separate Tourist Trophy title, but, with the pressure gone, he seemed untroubled in taking that win too.
Frost’s score-card for the weekend was an impressive 3-1-1-1, giving him a tally of nine wins for the 12-race championship and his worst result was three third placings.
And while Frost was the epitome of chilled, he was nearly beaten in the coolness stakes at the weekend by Waikato’s Andrew Stroud.
The 48-year-old nine-time former national superbike champion was nothing short of sensational at Hampton Downs during Saturday’s first phase of action and his performance surprised even himself.
Stroud crashed his Suzuki GSX-R1000 spectacularly, travelling at a speed of 220kmph, during a practice session at the track on Friday, the on-track session merely preliminary build-up action before the two days of racing proper at the undulating circuit.
Thankfully, the father-of-10 escaped virtually unscathed, but his bike was declared a write-off.
He and his mechanic burned the midnight oil to completely re-build the bike from the ground up, “swapping the frame and replacing broken bits”, but there was still no sign of Stroud or his bike when the first practice session was underway at the track on Saturday.
He drove into the pits just as the superbikes were coming off the track at the end of that session.
Stroud also “nearly didn’t make it in time” going out onto the track for official qualifying period and was grateful just to survive that, eventually qualifying a lacklustre eighth.
But the best was yet to come and Stroud raced to a convincing win in the sole superbike championship race held on Saturday, that result enough to boost him from third to second in the championship standings.
Despite a difficult second day of racing on Sunday, Stroud still managed to finish 6-3-2 and cemented his position in the overall runner-up position, relegating Canterbury’s Ross to third in the championship – still an impressive 1-2-3 Suzuki podium for the class, with yet another Suzuki rider, Bay of Plenty’s Moir taking the No.4 ranking for the championship.
Other riders to win national titles at the weekend were Manukau’s Toby Summers (superstock 1000); Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam (600 Supersport); Ashburton’s Bailie Perriton (pro twins, result provisional pending protest); Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler (125GP); Hamilton’s Jacob Stroud (superlites); Christchurch’s Dennis Charlett (lightweights); Ashburton’s Lewis Dray (250cc production); Auckland’s Colin Buckley and Tauranga’s Robbie Shorter (sidecars).
Frost’s MC2 Racing Team is supported by Suzuki Motorcycles, Bel-Ray Lubricants, Artistic Media New Zealand, Bike Rider Downunder, Pirelli Tyres, Shoei, Alpinestars, www.BikesportNZ.com and Fujitsu.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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