Motorsport: Rees still ripping it up at 45


Many motorcycle racers hang up their boots and helmet when they reach 45, but former national superbike champion Tony Rees shows he's still a force to be reckoned with.

The Whakatane Honda star certainly demonstrated he still has plenty to teach when it comes to riding.

Rees finished runner-up overall at the 22nd annual Battle of the Streets race meeting on the streets of Paeroa, each time finishing close behind rising star Sloan Frost, of Wellington, but ahead of the cream of New Zealand's crop. He underlined his ability by setting the fastest lap time in each of his three outings.

"It was perhaps the most exciting time I've had racing on the streets of Paeroa, and I've been around here a few times over the years," Rees said.

"Every race I was the fastest rider out there. I just needed to get better starts. It was always a struggle to get past other riders.

"Sloan [Frost] and I had a nice dice for the lead, especially in that last race and I guess I was riding too nice. I could have shoved any of those other riders off the track if I wanted to ride dirty.

I must be getting soft in my old age," he laughed.

"The Honda was great. We just pulled it out of the van after my last ride and didn't even do anything with the suspension to change it for the tight street circuit. Plus, I used the same set of tyres for the whole weekend.

"Perhaps I've still got some lessons to teach these young guys."

Castrol Honda Team manager Peter Finlay, of Auckland, was impressed by Rees' performance.

"Honda has a really strong history at Paeroa and today was another satisfying chapter," he said.

"Tony hasn't raced the recent South Island rounds of the superbike nationals and so it was tough for him to come up against the riders who've been racing a lot lately.

"This is a fantastic day for him and he's looking forward to contesting the two North Island round of the superbike nationals."

The New Zealand Superbike Championships are to resume shortly with round four at Hampton Downs on March 17, and the fifth and final round set for Taupo on March 24.

Rees will take his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR into battle at both events and, if his performance at Paeroa is any indicator, he'll be a definite threat to the championship leaders.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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