Motorsport: Eddie Kattenberg wins after 20 years away

By Andy McGechan

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Te Awanga's Eddie ``The Kat'' Kattenberg (Yamaha FZR1000), winning at Manfeild on Sunday. Photo/Andy McGechan Bikesportnz.com
Te Awanga's Eddie ``The Kat'' Kattenberg (Yamaha FZR1000), winning at Manfeild on Sunday. Photo/Andy McGechan Bikesportnz.com

Hawke's Bay's Eddie "The Kat" Kattenberg has been around motorcycles a long time, and his favourite bike's been around almost as long.

The 52-year-old bicycle mechanic from Te Awanga turned up at Manfeild at the weekend to compete in round two of the Suzuki Series and he brought with him his beloved 1989-model Yamaha FZR1000.

He had skipped round one of the series at Hampton Downs a week earlier and won't be racing at the third and final round on the public streets of Wanganui on Boxing Day - because of budget constraints - but that didn't seem to matter to the Hawke's Bay legend.

He was at Manfeild on Sunday and he was going to make the most of it.

The only Yamaha rider in the field, Kattenberg was quickly in the lead by the end of the first lap of the day's opening Pre-89 Post Classics class race and stayed there, eventually winning ahead of Ohaupo's Jay Lawrence and series leader Duncan Coutts, from Whangarei.

Kattenberg finished runner-up in the second Pre-89 Post Classics race, crossing the line less than a second behind Coutts, with Lawrence settling for third.

"Lawrence and Coutts were going fast today. I pulled away a bit from Jay [Lawrence] in the first race and I was too scared to look back," Kattenberg said with a laugh.

"I can't afford to do the whole series but I simply couldn't stay away from Manfeild. I love this place," Kattenberg said.

"You could say Manfeild is my home away from home.

"I have a lot of good memories from here and I guess today there's a couple more."

Despite contesting just one of the two rounds so far, Kattenberg finds himself seventh in the series standings, just 10 points behind sixth-placed Vince Burrell of Hastings.

Coutts leads the class by eight points from Lawrence, with Paraparaumu's Sean Donnelly third overall.

"I've been playing around on motorcycles for years but I gave up the serious stuff about 20 year ago. However, this is a sport that you just can't walk away from."

Kattenberg was national TT champion in 1987 and also scored points in the World Superbike Championships in 1988 and 1989.

He hung up his helmet in 1992 and now, two decades on, he races a bike that was one of the best from back in his own golden era, a 1989 Yamaha FZR1000.

"I'm really enjoying racing again," he said.

"The difference now is that there's no real pressure on me to win. I don't have to prove anything to anyone."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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