Unlike most people, Taupo’s Scott Moir is quite comfortable accelerating his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to speeds approaching 300 km/h, carving through high-speed traffic, leaning low through corners and popping occasional wheelies along the main straight at high-profile national motorcycle championship-level events all around the country
But with New Zealand now in lock-down as it attempts to fight off the threat of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the thrills and excitement of high-octane motorsports – not to mention low-octane ones too, like rugby, football and netball – have been put on ice for the time being.
Suzuki hero Moir was the stand-out individual in the premier superbikes class at the third round of five in the 2020 New Zealand Superbike Championships three weeks ago, winning that weekend at Hampton Downs and rocketing from fifth to second in the championship standings, the 35-year-old father-of-two now second overall in the rankings and just three points off the series lead.
Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem (Yamaha) narrowly leads the championship, but he’s well aware that Moir, and a host of other talented riders too, are threatening his position.
Glen Eden’s defending national superbike champion Daniel Mettam, on a Suzuki GSX-R1000 bike very similar to Moir’s, was second-best at the Hampton Downs weekend and also on the charge for championship honours.
But all of this is academic and possibly worth little more than bragging rights, with two rounds – and three superbike races at each of those events – still in the pipeline.
The final two rounds, set for Manfeild and then Taupo, have been postponed and it may not be until November, or possibly even later than that, before we see these men back on a racetrack.
So what does Moir, the man with momentum on his side, do with himself?
“I have been keeping fit, running and lifting weights and I’m ready to go again at a moment’s notice,” he said.
“I didn’t go so well at the opening two rounds of the nationals in the South Island in January, but I’ve since found some great settings with my bike’s suspension and I’ve gotten my head around the new Pirelli tyres I’m now using.
“I had not even tested the tyres before the nationals kicked off, but now I know how they’re going to behave in different situations and I’m feeling very confident with them.
“It was a great confidence boost for me, of course, when I finished 1-1-2 in my three superbike races at Hampton Downs. I was fired up for racing the final two rounds at Manfeild and Taupo. We’ll just have to wait and see now.
“To be fair, the organisers will probably either declare the series null and void or wrap in up a bit later in the year.
“If the racing resumes in November or December, then it will act as a perfect warm-up for the other big competition on the 2020 calendar, the annual Suzuki Series in December.
“I’ve won the Suzuki Series overall two times in the past, so it will be good to hit the ground running for that contest.”
British Suzuki star Richard Cooper won the 2019 Suzuki Series, ruining Moir’s hopes of a consecutive three-peat – after Moir had won it in 2017 and 2018 – but Moir has grand plans to take back the top podium spot from Nottingham rider Cooper this coming Christmas.
Christmas seems a long way off right now, particularly with all of New Zealand now quarantined, but Moir is putting a brave face on his isolation and well prepared for when the call comes for him to race again.
Other class leaders after round three of the New Zealand Superbike Championships at Hampton Downs are Whanganui’s Richie Dibben (Supersport 600); Auckland’s Nathanael Diprose (Supersport 300, provisional); Whangaparoa’s Nathan Jane (650 Pro Twins); Taupo’s Andy Scrivener and Tina McKeown (Sidecars); Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan (Supersport 150) and Nelson’s Tyrone Kuipers (GIXXER Cup 150).
© Words and photos by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
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