Suzuki Series a blitz of thrills

By Andy McGechan

World's superbike aces are fired up to put on exciting displays

Taranaki's Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki), is expected to be among contenders for the F1 title again this season. Pictures / Andy McGechan
Taranaki's Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki), is expected to be among contenders for the F1 title again this season. Pictures / Andy McGechan

The tarmac is set to blister and sizzle again in New Zealand this summer.

Yes, it will surely be another scorcher on at least three of New Zealand's favourite motorcycle road-race circuits starting in December. International superstars will be signing up in even greater numbers this year to race the traditional pre-nationals warm-up competition, the Suzuki Series.

Once called the Suzuki Tri Series, it remains a three-rounder for now, but expectations are high that it will soon expand, such has been the competition's growing popularity since its inception in 2008.

The Suzuki Series is NZ's pre-eminent road-race competition, aside from the national championships proper, with the schedule this season set for Hampton Downs on December 6-7 and Manfeild on December 14-15, the series winding up, as always, with the Cemetery Circuit races on Wanganui streets on Boxing Day.

"The entries are really starting to flow in," says organiser Alan "Flea" Willacy.

"We have seen a huge amount of interest from overseas again this year, too, with Englishman Guy Martin entered for Boxing Day, Italian supermotard ace Malachi Mitchell-Thomas arriving for the series, Germany's Thomas Kreutz is returning this year and Australian brothers Craig and Steve Trinder, among others, have indicated their intention to race here.

"I'm particularly excited about Guy Martin. He's a real entertainer. He'll have a Suzuki F1 superbike, generously supplied by Suzuki NZ, and he's sure to be a real crowd favourite.

"What you see is what you get with Guy Martin. He's a straight-talker and a fine racer."

Martin was the central character in the movie Closer To The Edge shown here in 2011, a frank, behind-the-scenes film about racing the legendary Isle of Man circuit.

With the Isle of Man track, Wanganui's Cemetery Circuit was recently named one of the world's top 10 street circuits by Dutch publication Motor Magazine, no doubt a factor in enticing Martin Downunder.

Christchurch's Dennis Charlett (Underground Brown Suzuki GSX-R1000) won the Suzuki Series Formula One class last season and will be among the favourites to win this time, plus other leading Kiwi superbike riders such as New Plymouth's Hayden Fitzgerald, Wellington's Sloan Frost, Hamilton's Nick Cole and Feilding's Craig Shirriffs.

Anyone who goes online - www.cemeterycircuit.co.nz - to buy an "early-bird" ticket to the Cemetery Circuit races will go into a draw to win a Suzuki GSR750 bike.

- NZ Herald

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