Whanganui riders feature prominently on the undercard to the glamour races after Round One of the 2019 Suzuki International Series on a rain-soaked Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupō at the weekend.
While much has already been written about Whanganui's top-rated rider Richie Dibben's exploits in the 600cc Formula 2 and the Supermoto classes, only the hardened motorcycle racing fans would realise that Ashley Payne leads the senior division of the Formula Sport/Bears grade on his GSXR750.
Payne qualified fasted gaining pole position and an extra championship point before winning race one with fellow Whanganui rider Dwayne Bishop second on his Aprilia RSV4RR. In race two Payne finished second to Ngaruawahia's Steve Bridge with Bishop fourth.
Payne leads the Bears senior division on 48 points with Bridge second on 45 and Bishop third on 40. Young Blane Hannah sits second on the junior Bears points table.
Whanganui has a presence is all classes, although most others finished down the track in Taupō apart from Marc McKenzie in the Pre '89 class who sits fourth on points after guiding his CBR400 to a ninth and an eighth in the two races completed over the weekend. Godfried Swartz sits fifth in the senior Pre '89 class after a 13th and a 12th finish on his GSXR750.
In the Formula 1 sidecar class Whanganui's Louise Blythe and her Australian rider Jeremy Joyce are second overall. Tracey Bryan (nee Stent) is originally from Whanganui and she and her former fellow New Zealand F1 sidecar champion Barry Smith finished well down the order in F1, but sit second on points in F2 sidecars.
In the popular Gixxer grade Whanganui's Luca Durning is the closest to the leading bunch in fifth spot on the table, while Caleb Gilmore is seventh.
In Formula 1, Whanganui's sole competitor Jayden Carrick qualified 12th, failed to finish race one and then ended up 10th in race two to be 12th on the table, while Tarbon Walker is 12th after Round One in the F2 class on his Kawasaki ZX6R.
Round two is raced at Manfield this weekend and the final leg runs on the Cemetery Circuit in Whanganui on Boxing Day.