Top trio out to make it summer of Honda

By Andy McGechan

They want to make it a red streak in the summer motorcycle road race season and Honda reckons they have the men to do it.

Blue Wing Honda has just officially announced its new three-rider team to campaign all the major races on the New Zealand calendar beginning with the Suzuki Tri Series which opens at Hampton Downs in just over a week and concludes on Wanganui's streets on Boxing Day.

The high-profile Castrol Honda Superbike team will comprise Whakatane veteran and multi-time former national champion Tony Rees, Christchurch's perennial title challenger James Smith and long-time Honda stalwart Jeremy Holmes of Invercargill.

For the 45-year-old Rees, the chance to get out on the team's CBR1000RR Fireblade bike spiked his interest for making a full season of it.

"I was only going to do the Wanganui streets meeting, because it's the 60th anniversary of that this year, but then I thought I may as well do the whole Tri Series and it all just snowballed.

"You never forget how to ride a bike, but it's getting up to speed and being sharp that's the challenge.

I enjoy challenges like those."

Manager Peter Finlay said Rees brings a wealth of experience and will be a big inspiration to the younger riders.

"James [Smith] is a new face in the team this year too and we are very excited about that. He is a perennial frontrunner in the superbike class and a real asset."

Smith rode the team's CBR1000RR Fireblade bike for the first time in September and clocked one of his fastest individual times at Hampton Downs.

Holmes returns to the team with a reputation for being solid and always in the points.

After the Tri Series the team will carry on to compete in the five-round New Zealand Superbike Championship series, starting at Ruapuna on January 5-6.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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