It may have been his first competitive outing on a 1000cc superbike, but Wainuiomata's Shane Richardson showed at the weekend he was more than ready for a little extra horsepower.
The 23-year-old took a borrowed Kawasaki ZX10R bike to win Round 1 of the premier F1 class in the Suzuki Series at Taupo on Sunday, the pre-nationals series which culminates at Whanganui's Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day.
Richardson's back-to-back runner-up finishes in Taupo was enough to see him end up on top of the standings and four points in front of defending series champion Scott Moir, the Taupo man who twice finished third in the F1 races.
The first race was won by Whakatane's Mitch Rees and the second was claimed by his younger brother, Damon Rees, but neither was in contention for the round win as they each had DNF's in their other race – Damon running off track and Mitch throwing a chain respectively.
It was Richardson's debut outing on a 1000cc superbike, the man from the Wellington region more familiar to race fans as a Supersport 600 class campaigner and one who has enjoyed plenty of success over recent years.
"I'm more than happy with this result, my first time in New Zealand racing on a big bike," said Richardson afterwards.
"Battling with Damo [Rees] again feels like a bit of déjà vu from the 2017 season," he said, when the pair battled for Supersport 600cc class honours at the nationals.
"The racing was so tight. It was good. It's such a good class right now and I'm over the moon.
"I didn't expect to be leaving this track with the points lead.
"Obviously I would have liked to win both races today and that was my goal, but, realistically, being my first time on a superbike, I didn't think it was possible.
"I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard. Obviously I was going pretty quick, but I felt comfortable on this bike straight away.
"I have to say a huge thank you to Graham Jenkins from Barnes Jenkins Insurance and Lincoln from R & R Powersports.
"I was supposed to have my own bike here from America to race but it didn't get here in time and so they luckily enough loaned me their bike and if it wasn't for that I wouldn't even be here.
"The final round [at Whanganui] will be a different proposition on this bike but I'm looking forward to it."
Overall, Damon Rees had a brilliant Sunday at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park with three wins from four starts in two classes.
The Team Rees Racing Honda man impressed by taking his Carl Cox Motorsport-backed Honda CBR600RR to qualify fastest and then win both races in the Formula Two (600cc) division.
On both occasions he finished ahead of fellow Kiwi international Avalon Biddle, from Waimakariri, with Manukau's Toby Summers claiming third overall for the day.
In his debut for the F2 class, Whanganui's Tarbon Walker did well in qualifying, setting himself up in 11th spot in the 24 bike field, however two DNF's in the races prevented him from making more of an impression.
Rees, the 2017 Supersport 600 national champion, was elated with the double success of winning the F2 round and getting his first F1 superbike victory.
"Mitch celebrated his first superbike race win here at Taupo last year and now it was my turn," the 23-year-old said.
"Maybe there's something about the Rees family and this track, eh?
"Back-to-back wins in the F2 class was awesome ... that was certainly my plan at the start of the day.
"I earned pole position and I was reasonably comfortable winning those races.
"Avalon [Biddle] was riding exceptionally, a lot better than I expected her to be riding and she certainly pushed me to begin with.
"But I had just the little bit more."
Rees is competing in both classes for the Suzuki Series, but for the upcoming nationals in the New Year he will just focus on the F1 superbikes.
The riders now head to Manfeild for Round 2 of the series this coming weekend, before heading to the world-famous Cemetery Circuit in Whanganui on Boxing Day.
Other class leaders in the series after Sunday's first of three rounds were Palmerston North's Jacob Stroud (F3); Hamilton's Jesse Stroud (Gixxer Cup); Whangarei's Duncan Coutts (Post Classics, Pre-89, Senior); Auckland's Scott Findlay (Post Classics, Pre-89, Junior); Auckland's Brendon Coad (Bears, non-Japanese bikes, Seniors); Te Awamutu's Gary Morgan (Bears, non-Japanese bikes, Seniors); Tauranga's Duncan Hart (Super Motard class); England's John Holden and Tauranga's Robbie Shorter (F1 Sidecars); Tauranga's Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan (F2 Sidecars).