It was a thrilling Suzuki 1-2-3 at the weekend’s Honda Battle of the Streets bike race meeting in Paeroa on Sunday.
Taupo’s Scott Moir finished on top, with Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam and Lower Hutt’s Jay Lawrence filling out the podium in the premier Formula Paeroa (F1) class, the three men on similar Suzuki GSX-R1000 bikes and each of them in scintillating form on the tricky public street circuit.
That was probably just as well, with the third round of four in the New Zealand Superbike championship also just around the corner and each of them potential race winners in that separate series.
But street racing is very different from racing on purpose-built tracks and, in that regard, perhaps there are few better than Moir.
The 33-year-old father-of-one won the day’s first 1000cc Formula Paeroa race by more than six seconds from the 29-year-old Lawrence.
He then backed that up by winning the all-capacities King of the Streets feature race, the Honda-sponsored event’s signature race, this time passing the chequered flag two seconds before Lawrence.
Moir’s next outing, the second of the day’s two Formula Paeroa races, quickly developed into a two-rider arm-wrestle, with he and Mettam separated by less than a bike length though-out the 10-lap affair.
Mettam eventually won that final 1000cc race by 400th of a second from Moir, that result boosting the 21-year-old into the No.2 spot overall for the day.
It has been a glorious season so far for Moir, who won the Formula One class in the annual Suzuki Series, which wrapped up with the iconic street races at Whanganui on Boxing Day.
Moir’s national superbike championship campaign has not gone so well, with his crashing out of the day at round one at Christchurch in early January, before suffering similar misfortune at round two near Timaru a week later.
Fellow Suzuki rider Sloan Frost comfortably leads the points chase after two of four rounds of the national series and he decided not to risk that campaign, the Wellington man opting to stay away from Paeroa at the weekend.
Moir finds himself down in 11th overall in the national series, but he took great encouragement from his winning the stand-alone meeting at Paeroa.
“I have won the Formula One class at Paeroa in the past, but never the all-important King of the Streets race,” smiled Moir.
“I felt pretty comfortable here, but lappers can be a problem on the street circuits and that’s how Daniel (Mettam) got by me in race three. I came up fast on a lapper right on the kink in the front straight and Daniel blew by. Daniel is really good under brakes and it’s very hard to pass at Paeroa.
“I had a couple of ‘looks’ at him near the end of the race, but I’d already done the maths in my head and knew I didn’t need to take any big risks. Finishing runner-up was still enough to win the day overall,” said the father-of-one.
Other class winners at Paeroa on Sunday were Manukau’s Toby Summers (600cc Formula Two); Auckland’s Gavin Veltmeyer (Formula three Superlites); Whanganui’s Dwayne Bishop (Non-Japanese BEARS); Ararimu’s Paul Pavletich (Pre-89 Post Classics); Waitakere’s Neil Martin (Pre-82 Post Classics); Auckland’s Mark Halls (Senior Classics); Rotorua’s Peter Smith (Pre-72 Senior Classics); Tauranga’s Sheldon Reynolds (Pre-72 Junior Classics); Whanganui’s Richard Dibben (Super Motard); Auckland’s Adam Unsworth and Bryce Rose (Sidecars); Carterton’s Mark Smith and Sid Sutherland (Post Classic Sidecars).
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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