Whakatāne superbike star Damon Rees could not be in better form ahead of his trip to the United Kingdom.
Rees has a comfortable lead in the New Zealand Superbike Championship but will not be able to claim the national title as he now heads off to tackle the British Superstock 1000 Championships while the Kiwi domestic series continues without him.
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The 24-year-old ensured he leaves on a high, in scintillating form as he produced an impressive hatrick of wins during round two of the New Zealand Championship at Levels International Raceway near Timaru at the weekend.
He also smashed the superbike lap record at Timaru, in his first race on Saturday, taking his Honda CBR1000SP1 around the track in one minute, 2.529 seconds.
"It wasn't a perfect weekend, actually, I didn't get the fastest time in qualifying," he laughed.
"But I'm happy with my results and feeling really confident ahead of my overseas trip."
Rees leaves in late February and will be based in the East Midlands.
"I believe I'm riding the best of my career and felt I was able to pass riders at will. I think I might need to develop a bit more of a mongrel attitude in the UK though. It will be more intense over there."
Rees was a class act in Timaru, snatching the lead in race three just two laps from the end of the 15-lapper, zipping from third to first thanks to two quick fire passes on the riders ahead of him.
"That last race win was not easy. Those guys were pushing really hard and I just bided my time a bit before making the move and it paid off. The Honda was awesome all weekend."
Other class leaders after the weekend's racing at Timaru are Whanganui's Richie Dibben (Supersport 600); Whangārei's Jason Hearn (Supersport 300, provisional); Whangaparoa's Nathan Jane (650 Pro Twins); Taupō's Andy Scrivener and Tina McKeown (Sidecars); Invercargill's Cormac Buchanan (Supersport 150) and Nelson's Tyrone Kuipers (GIXXER Cup 150).
There is a short break now before the series resumes with round three at Hampton Downs on March 7-8 and then the nationals continue on at Manfeild, on the outskirts of Feilding, on March 28-29 before wrapping up at Taupō on April 4-5.
2020 NZ Superbike Championships calendar:
Round 1 – January 11-12, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch.
Round 2 – January 18-19, Levels International Raceway, Timaru.
Round 3 – March 7-8, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, North Waikato, Mike Pero MotoFest.
Round 4 – March 28-29, Circuit Chris Amon, Manfeild, Feilding.
Round 5 – April 4-5, Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupō.