The Kat makes a comeback

By Staff Reporter, Andy McGechan

You can call him a veteran, call him a name from a bygone era and call him The Kat.

Hawke's Bay's Eddie Kattenberg was a big name on the New Zealand motorcycle racing scene in the 1980s and nothing has really changed over the years.

He is currently leading the Post Classic Pre-89 class of the Suzuki Tri-Series on the back of his 1989 Yamaha FZR1000 as the event roars into Wanganui on Boxing Day.

"I'm riding the same bike I rode last year, although now with a six-speed gearbox and I've freshened up the motor a bit, but it's the same bike that I used to win races back in the 1980s," Kattenberg said.

"This tri-series has a lot of clout, after the nationals proper, and I'm keen to do well."

At 51 years old, the Te Awanga man came back to the sport of which he was among the frontrunners in his youth.

These days he works as a bicycle mechanic in Hastings during the week, but turns into a fire-breathing racer at the weekends.

"I've been playing around on motorcycles for years but last season was my first of racing since I gave up the serious stuff about 20 year ago.

"But 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 is back on the 1000cc Yamaha that was one of the best in his era.

Kattenberg also competes in the New Zealand Gold Cup Post Classics series, which he is leading after two of the four rounds.

The next round of that series is at Hampton Downs on March 10.

But for now, the focus is on Boxing Day and the Cemetery Circuit.

"This racing has been a bit of a rebirth for me and I'm really enjoying racing again," said Kattenberg.

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

- Wanganui Chronicle

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