Whanganui rider Richie Dibben was total class at the annual Burt Munro Challenge weekend in Invercargill winning everything put in front of him on his Barracks Bar/Total Span-sponsored Suzuki GXSR600.
After a disastrous start to his Formula 2 career, Dibben showed just what a talent he is winning all three races in his class in the E Hayes and Sons Teretonga Sprint Races on the Saturday, then all three events on the Southland Honda-sponsored Invercargill Street Race programme on Sunday adding the Golden Age Tavern and Anchorage Cafe Bar (up to 600cc) hill climb later that same day.
The pressure was on from the start with F1 and F2 classes combined in the street races, but none of that fazed the young Whanganui speedster who qualified third behind the father and son combination of Tony and Damon Rees on their Honda CBR 1000 F1 machines. Tony Rees ended the weekend winner of the F1 street races, while Damon finished fourth.
Dibben, however, showed his F2 and many of his F1 rivals a clean pair of heels and for most of the three races on the street programme was camped on the back wheel of Tony Rees machine. While he easily won the F2 class, he also posted the second fastest lap of the day clocking 40.267 seconds behind Damon Rees' 40.212 seconds. And in the second street race was actually second across the line behind Tony Rees.
The first two street races on Sunday were marred by red flags and had to be re-run. Again Dibben was unfazed and he continued on to victory in his class.
On the Saturday, racing against his own class in the Teretonga Sprint Races, Dibben again qualified third, but quickened enough to take the chequered flag in all three events on the day.
In the hill climb on Sunday Dibben beat all his rivals in the up to 600c class, more than a second faster than his nearest competitor.
"It was great to finally win on the 600,' Dibben said.
Dibben accepts he has been dogged by bad luck and events outside his control during his debut in F2, but the multiple Suzuki Series supermoto winner also concedes the weekend's success was down to him coming to grips with the larger machine.
"More time on the 600 and more confidence has helped immensely. Brian (mentor Brian Bernard) has set the bike up perfectly and we haven't needed to fine tune it much. It's just I'm getting better at guiding the bike to where I want it to go rather than pushing it hard. I feel a lot more comfortable and riding behind faster machines has certainly helped."
Although too far out of contention to win the national championship, Dibben will continue to race in the three remaining rounds staring with Hampton Downs at the beginning of March and then possibly some of the winter series before tackling the 2019/2020 Suzuki Series kicking off in December.