The international stars just keep on coming.
Fresh on the heels of news that British rider James Flitcroft had arrived to race the 1000cc Superstock class in the remaining rounds of the New Zealand Superbike Championships, comes further news that experienced Australian rider Jack Declyn will line up in the 125GP class at the same two events.
The four-round series is at the halfway stage, having completed its South Island phase of competition two weeks ago, and riders now brace themselves for the two North Island rounds that will wrap up the 2017 series.
Round three is set for the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park circuit, on the outskirts of Taupo, on February 25-26, with the fourth and final round due at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on the weekend of March 4-5.
The 49-year-old father-of two and grandfather-of-two, originally from Perth, said he was excited to be able to race now in New Zealand.
“I joined a bike racing (internet) chat room and was contacted by (Aucklander) Chris Malcolm and the opportunity to race in New Zealand all just developed from there,” he explained.
Declyn has a wealth of experience. He started racing in 1989, campaigning post classic bikes and, within just eight years, in 1997, he was going quick enough to finish third overall in the nationals in the 125cc class.
He raced the world 125 GP in Australia as a wildcard in 1997, interestingly that also being the event at which Italian legend Valentino Rossi clinched his first world crown.
He moved to UK in 1998 and tested for Aprilia in Spain. He also tested with Apple Yard Honda, was a test rider for the Manchester Aprilia superbike team and worked for Speed Freaks Track Days as a tutor.
Declyn returned to Australia in 2001 and helped build and develop bikes for Allect Honda. He raced the Derby 125GP in 2002 and set a new lap record in the process.
In 2003 he ran a Honda team of his own and the following year he rode for Kawasaki Australia in the Western Australia state and national rounds, finishing fourth in the 600 Supersport class.
He raced a Yamaha to finish fifth in the 600cc Supersport class in 2006 before retiring from fulltime racing.
But that retirement wasn’t to last for long and, in 2012, he was back on a bike.
After a couple more successful seasons racing 125 and 250 GP bikes in Australia, he then moved to New Zealand last year.
“I now have the opportunity to race in the 125 class here (in New Zealand) and I’m looking forward to that,” said Declyn.
“The bike I have is loaned to me by Chris Malcolm, and Chris Cain. I also have had assistance from (Kiwi 125GP icon) Steve Ward.
“I would also like to say that Brian Deadman and Robert Cochrane, who have been a great help getting me started here. No matter the outcome, I will enjoy the time here.”
After two of four rounds of the New Zealand Superbike Championships thus far, Christchurch’s Matthew Hoogenboezem leads the 125 GP class, a solid 39 points ahead of fellow Christchurch rider Chris Wallinger, with Auckland rider Cain another 18 points further back in third overall.
Photos from the Jack Declyn personal collection
© Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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