One-of-a-kind race draws 10,000 crowd

By Lin Ferguson

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Super bike debutante Dennis Charlett of Christchurch, who was also a newcomer to the Cemetery Circuit, took out the superbike Tri-Series F1 event in Wanganui yesterday.

While Charlett, 44, took out the Tri-Series Formula 1 title, the real winner on the circuit was Hamilton's Nick Cole who won all three superbike races on the day.

Best of the locals was Ritchie Dibben who won his first road racing title in the Super Moto class and the Adam Unsworth/Stu Dawe combination who won back-to-back Formula 1 sidecar titles. Rain marred the end of race day, which opened in dry weather.

About 10,000 spectators turned up for the 60th running of the Boxing Day Cemetery Circuit Motorcycle Races, said organiser Julie Willacy.

Three races were cancelled at the end of the programme, including the major event, the Robert Holden trophy race.

One of those trackside was former Grand Prix motorcycle racer and winner Graeme Crosby who had high praise for the event.

"They [the races] are an absolute world legend," he said.

"Local body governments could never set up an event like this now - it just wouldn't be allowed. Wanganui still can because it has become a very special and iconic heritage event."

The Cemetery Circuit was hugely famous all over the world, he said, "because it literally is the last of the short race circuits with the one-minute lap and the one-mile circuit and where 10,000 people are able to stand up close to the action ... this just doesn't happen anywhere else."

Mr Crosby who lives in Matakana north of Warkworth, restores 1970s classic superbikes. Last night he was MC and speaker at the Cemetery Circuit dinner held at Wanganui Racecourse.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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