Pāpāmoa's Leon Jacobs has won a New Zealand motorcycle road racing championship at his second attempt.
Jacobs, 28, clinched the 250cc Production title at the final round of the New Zealand Superbike Championship raced at Taupō's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park over the weekend.
A streak which saw him win the last seven races of the series aboard his Kawasaki Ninja EX250 secured the title with a race to spare ahead of Kaiapoi rival Angus Boyd. Jacobs also put an exclamation point on his winning season with a new lap record in the final race.
Preparation played the lead role in Jacobs' third season of racing and his second national championship campaign. He'd finished fifth in the series in his rookie season but could have been third if he hadn't crashed at the final round.
''Over the winter I started training three times week and I did all five rounds of the Victoria Motorcycle Club series at Manfeild. Then in October and November I did four track days,'' Jacobs said.
Fitness and more time on his bike paid dividends for the self-employed bricklayer.
''It's crazy how much I have improved as a rider this year,'' said Jacobs.
''I think every rider who comes into the sport wanting to ride fast spends a year or two learning and then something clicks for them. It feels like this season was that point for me.''
Jacobs began the season winning the only race to be completed at Ruapuna before the meeting was cancelled due to an oil spill. At Timaru he posted two more wins before Boyd won the third race having taken the lead from Jacobs just before the race was red-flagged.
''Hampton Downs [round three] didn't go so well. I crashed in the first race and just wanted to make sure I finished the second one. I was able to win the third race.''
At that point Boyd had trimmed Jacobs' lead to six points.
''After that it was Manfeild and Taupō where I have the most experience and I was able to win races and the championship.''
Jacobs thinks the next phase of the learning process a move up the motorcycle racing class structure to faster bikes. He's eyeing the SuperSport 300 class but it's a significantly bigger commitment in both dollars and bike maintenance.
''My 250 is a stock bike and it's very reliable. It costs about $2500 but a competitive SuperSport 300 is $10,000 so it's a big step.
''And the competition is also a big step. In the 250s this year there were Angus and I who were fast. In the 300s there about 10 riders who were on lap record pace the whole race.
''I want to keep improving as a rider and 300 SuperSport is where I'd like to be racing next season. But it's April already so it's only eight months away.''
Tauranga's Darrick Kattenburg contested the North Island rounds of the 250cc Production Championship and finished sixth overall.
There was a third place finish in the Sidecar championship for the Tauranga duo of Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan who missed the South Island races and ended their campaign with two race wins at Taupō on Sunday.