Hometown lad Ritchie Dibben claimed his first big road racing title after holding out a determined last ditch effort from a Tauranga visitor on the Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui yesterday.
Dibben went into the final round of the 2012 Super Moto Tri-Series with a narrow 11 point lead after dominant performances in the first two legs at Hampton Downs and Manfield. However, a late charge from Duncan Hart on the street circuit yesterday made the race for the title go right down to the wire.
While Hart was the dominant one, winning all Motard (basically dirt bikes with road tyres) races yesterday on his Yamaha YZF450, Dibben kept in touch finishing just behind on his Honda CRF450 on each occasion.
The consistent placings meant Dibben won the title narrowly from Hart, while fellow Wanganui in-form Motard rider Glenn Haden crashed out in the first race to finish down the points table. Rain on the day did Dibben's confidence no favours, but did reveal he can handle pressure. Torrential rain fell between Super Moto races yesterday had most teams scurrying for the wet weather tyres.
"I didn't know how I'd go in the wet - I've never really raced in those conditions before, but everyone else is in the same boat.
All I knew is that I had to finish close enough to Duncan to win the title. Going into the final race I wasn't going to push it to the limit knowing I could finish in the first four or five and still win," Dibben said yesterday.
Meanwhile, the day of the locals continued when old hands Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawe combined to win back-to-back the Formula One Sidecar title.
The Wanganui pair now based in Auckland qualified fastest in the early morning sessions gaining the all important pole position in the first of two races yesterday.
Unsworth and Dawe jumped straight to the lead from the Masterton pairing of Michael Wolland and Maxine Skilton. The Wanganui pair, defending their title from last season, proved too strong on their Windle 1000cc machine to move further in front as the eight-lap race unfolded.
The second race of the day was just as effortless with the win giving the F1 Sidecar title to Unsworth and Dawe.
This year the F1 sidecar series was limited to just two races on Boxing Day on the Cemetery Circuit rather than including Hampton Downs and Manfield as in previous years.