The name is Bond, James Bond … well, actually, it’s Flitcroft now, but he’s still got a licence to thrill.
Born 20 years ago in Ireland and Christened James Bond, using his mother’s maiden name, his family moved to Cheshire, near Manchester, just a few weeks later and his surname was then changed to that of his father, Flitcroft.
It makes for an interesting introduction to a young man who then spent many of the years that followed living in Spain and quietly watching and learning as he went with his race team manager father and travelled from circuit to circuit on the superbike scene.
It seemed quite natural then that James Flitcroft would one day become a superbike rider himself and now he’s in New Zealand, learning as much as he can on his first trip to this part of the world.
Loaned a Suzuki GSXR-1000 and backed by Barnes and Jenkins Insurance, Flitcroft showed he was a fast learner when he arrived for the Suzuki Series opener at Taupo last weekend.
“In fact, I have not raced at all over the past two years because I’d gone as far as I could on the budget I had. It was too expensive to continue and I was at a standstill.”
When Kiwi racer Jared Love suggested Flitcroft come and race in New Zealand, he felt it was too good an opportunity to turn down
“I decided to come over to New Zealand for two months and see what developed. I have not seen much of the country yet because I’ve been too busy getting ready to race the Suzuki Series but I’ll make up for that later.
“I’m here to learn as much as I can. The circuits are quite tight here and I’m always getting sideways on the bike, but I am enjoying it.”
Even with only 30 laps of pre-season testing on the Suzuki, Flitcroft managed eighth in qualifying and then finished sixth in the first of two Formula One/Superbike races at Taupo.
“But then I had a DNF in race two (crashing out while in sixth place, just two laps from the finish) after making a small error.”
Flitcroft finds himself 13th overall in the 22-rider F1/Superbike field, although he’s obviously capable of rising above that.
“I feel confident we can produce a stronger and more competitive package after last weekend’s race.”
If you look closely, you may see the James Bond-style gun design on his bike’s graphics.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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