Excited race fans at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park at the weekend were treated to a glimpse into the future.
With his 2017 national superbike champion father Tony Rees watching on from pit lane, 25-year-old Mitch Rees experienced a breakthrough weekend of racing at the fourth and final round of the New Zealand Superbike Championships.
In only his second season of racing superbikes, Mitch Rees celebrated his first ever superbike race win during day one of racing on Saturday and then, to prove that was no fluke, he scored an even more impressive come-from-behind win the following day.
His 1-3-1 score-card for the weekend was easily enough to earn him the top podium spot for this final round and it also cemented his place as national No.2 in the class for 2018, finishing the series behind 36-year-old Wellington rider Sloan Frost (Red Baron Suzuki GSX-R1000A).
That Rees should be winning superbike races so early in his career probably surprised nobody, least of all himself, because he has certainly been “knocking on the door” these past few months and is inspired by the confidence he feels in his new red Honda CBR1000SP1.
“It was good to get that first win,” said Mitch Rees. “I have been battling with these top guys for a while and it was probably just a matter of time, to be honest.
“I’ve had a great coach with dad (Tony) always being there for me. He’s a great motivator and gives me confidence that I can do this.
“I’ll be heading back over to Australia now to race. I raced round one of their series and finished 13th overall, which I was happy with. It is a lot more competitive over there and I was battling in good company.
“Unfortunately, round two was this weekend and clashed with our nationals. But I’m heading across now for their round three at Adelaide and I’m looking forward to that.”
Tony Rees was sidelined this season with injury and unable to defend his national crown, but it seems he had a replacement (or two) standing by anyway.
Mitch Rees obviously improved upon his remarkable sixth overall achievement on debut in the superbike ranks last season and his 23-year-old brother, 2017 New Zealand Supersport 600 champion Damon Rees, is also expected to return from his current stint of racing in Australia this season to possibly make it a father-and-two-sons three-pronged Honda superbike assault in New Zealand next summer.
The “old guard”, which of course includes the 50-year-old Tony Rees, will need to be watching over their shoulders for the Rees siblings or, perhaps more likely, they should be looking straight on as the Honda pair charge towards the chequered flag ahead of them.
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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