This past weekend was Round 4 of the 2019 NZSBK Championship. Heading into the weekend in Fielding I was sitting in 2nd position overall, 22 points behind the championship lead. My eyes were firmly fixed on reducing this gap to the front, so that we would leave the penultimate round in with a chance of winning the championship at the final in Taupo. What happened next exceeded all my expectations!
Friday practise went quite well. To be honest I felt a bit rusty but my lap times were there or thereabouts. On Saturday morning I was able to smash out a good lap time in practise and then set a fantastic lap of 1.07.3 to blitz the competition in qualifying. Starting all three races from 1st on the grid put me in a good mindset and also meant we scored one valuable championship point.
We completed Saturday’s proceedings with a 10 lap race in the afternoon, which I led from start to finish & crossed the finish line over four seconds ahead of the next riders. Woohoo!
Sunday’s races were scheduled to be a lot longer, 15 and 18 laps respectively. On Sunday morning I stormed to the lead at turn one once again but didnt manage to break away from my championship rival Toby on the opening laps. We exchanged passes a few times which was good fun. Heading into turn one on lap 7, I saw his front end collapse out of the corner of my eye as he crashed heading into the corner. This allowed me to race towards a comfortable win; making it three in a row! Heading into this season I had only won one 600cc supersport race ever, so it still seems kinda surreal.
I knew Sunday afternoon’s race would be challenging, as track temperatures soared over 45 degrees. By now my arms were pretty shattered too – Manfeild is a circuit with lots of hard braking and I was feeling the effects of that. Nevertheless, I had to put everything on the line and prove myself what I was capable off. I got off to another good start, this time with good company as two riders were hot on my heels. We passed back and forth a few times and I realised David Hall on the Suzuki had mega pace, must faster than the first few races. After a few dodgy moments on the front end, I decided to just find my own rhythm and see if I could pass on the closing laps. It was not to be as David pulled too much of a gap and I came home second.
The superb points haul from two first places and a second place moved me to first overall in the championship, 29 points ahead. At this stage the results are provisional due to a protest (nothing to do with me/my bike) so we will wait for them to be confirmed ahead of the final round of the championship THIS weekend in Taupo! Please contact me if you are keen to get along to this round, otherwise stay tuned on Facebook and www.ctaslive.co.nz where you can keep up with all the action.
Thanks for your amazing support – this just would not be possible without my amazing bike, crew and supporters! I couldnt ask for a better team
All the best