Whanganui riders kept the River City's reputation as a home of motorcycle racing alive with wins and placings in various classes of the 2019 Suzuki International Series.
As tradition dictates, street racing on the famous Cemetery Circuit each Boxing Day in Whanganui marks the end of the three-round series and several riders either claimed overall class wins and placings, or victory on the day.
Young Sam Willacy proved he was a chip off the old block when winning on of the two Formula Sport/Bears junior races on Boxing Day. Willacy, of course is the son of longtime Suzuki Series and Cemetery Circuit raceday organiser Allan "Flea" Willacy who is a former 125cc national champion.
Much has already been written about the versatile abilities of Richie Dibben who went through the entire series undefeated in the Supermotard class and his placings in Formula Two on his GSXR600.
Then there is the consistent Ashley Payne who won the Formula Sport/Bears senior title with fellow Whanganui racer Dwayne Bishop holding down third just seven points adrift.
While young Willacy won a race on the day on his home track, Formula Sport/Bears junior Blane Hannah did slightly better with second overall in his class.
The extremely popular Gixxer Cup class where every rider races the same Suzuki 150cc machine, had a very strong Whanganui flavour. Caleb Gilmore and Cameron Goldfinch kept the home fires burning with second and third overall in the series, behind Hamilton's Jesse Stroud.
In the Formula One sidecars Louise Blythe made her hometown proud with an overall series third as passenger for Australian rider Jeremy Joyce, while former Suzuki Series and national sidecar champion Tracey Bryan (nee Stent) joined Tauranga rider Barry Smith to claim the Formula Two title while James and Lucy Dowman finished the series in third.
Bryan then teamed with brother Bryan Stent to win the Classic Sidecar event, a one-off spectacular only raced on the Cemetery Circuit.
Meanwhile, Australian Sam Watson (broken nose), Ian Staples (Whanganui) and Richard Lawrance (Auckland) were taken to Whanganui Hospital after a spectacular crash in the sidecars, but were all recovering well after suffering bumps and bruises.
+++Leading standings after the third and final round of the 2019 Suzuki International Series at Whanganui's Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day:
Formula One Superbikes: 1. UK's Richard Cooper 162 points; 2. Whakatane's Damon Rees 157; 3. Whakatane's Mitch Rees 128.
Formula Two (600cc): 1. Upper Hutt's Rogan Chandler 134 points; 2. Palmerston North's Ashton Hughes 124; 3. Auckland's Toby Summers 123.5.
Formula Three: 1. Taumarunui's Leigh Tidman 175 points; 2. France's Xavier Denis 133; 3. Auckland's Matt Dunlop 121.
GIXXER Cup: 1. Hamilton's Jesse Stroud 114 points; 2. Whanganui's Caleb Gilmore 132; 3. Whanganui's Cameron Goldfinch 111.
Formula Sport/Bears, senior: 1. Whanganui's Ashley Payne 117 points; 2. Ngaruawahia's Steve Bridge 112; 3. Whanganui's Dwayne Bishop 110.
Formula Sport/Bears, junior: 1. North Shore's Gui Mendes 126 points; 2. Whanganui's Blane Hannah 121; 3. Palmerston North's Robert Lammas 117.
Post Classics, Pre 89, senior: 1. Hastings' Gian Louie 165 points; 2. Invercargill's Jon Rawcliffe 126; 3. Napier's Eddie Kattenberg 123.
Post Classics, Pre 89, junior: 1. Lower Hutt's Dean Bentley 142 points; 2. Woodville's Kieren O'Neill 131; 3. Castor Bay's Scott Findlay 118.
F1 sidecars: 1. Auckland's Peter Goodwin and Kendal Dunlop 150 points; 2. Australia's Jeremy Joyce and Whanganui's Louise Blythe 144; 3. Christchurch's Dennis Charlett and Dan Jenkins 120.
F2 sidecars: 1. Tauranga's Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan 171 points; 2. Australia's Sam Watson and New Zealand's Jo Mickleson 96; 3. France's France's Estelle Le Blond and Belgium's Frank Claeys 95.
Supermoto: 1. Whanganui's Richie Dibben 153 points; 2. Taumarunui's Russell Josiah 118; 3. Whanganui's James Clarke 117.
Classic sidecars: 1. Whanganui's Bryan Stent and Tracey Bryan 50 points; 2. Hastings' David Black and Dan Franzen 40; 3. Whanganui's James and Lucy Dowman 36.