Team Suzuki Press Office – March 10.
Richie Dibben: Suzuki GSX-R600 – 2-2-2
Richie Dibben rocketed ahead in the Supersport 600 class in the 2020 New Zealand Superbike Championship at the weekend, increasing his series lead to 60 points.
The 30-year-old bike shop owner is no stranger to winning motorcycle races, having made a name for himself at home and internationally as a Super Moto Champion, but this year he’s moved into unfamiliar waters, making his debut on the Superbike scene and racing a Suzuki GSX-R600 in the competitive Supersport 600 class.
He kicked-off his 2020 campaign by dominating the class at both the South Island rounds of the series in January, winning five out of six races at those back-to-back events, and built up an impressive 54-point lead over his nearest rival.
Championship racing resumed with the third round of five at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park at the weekend and it seemed to be business as usual, with Dibben setting the fastest time in qualifying on the North Waikato circuit.
However, he met his match during racing, with Rogan Chandler on fire all weekend, winning all three races and forcing Dibben to accept three runner-up finishes on the undulating Waikato track.
With Chandler failing to feature prominently at the earlier two rounds, he is not yet really too much of a threat to Dibben, who now enjoys a 60-point advantage at the top of the standings.
So, with points worth more than two race wins up his sleeve, and six 600cc class races remaining, he will still be pushing hard for race wins.
Said Dibben: “It was a good weekend. Obviously I wanted to be winning the races, but I have still extended my points lead, so I’m happy with that. I am looking forward to the next rounds. I am reasonably familiar with Manfeild and don’t usually go too bad there. I love the Taupo track, probably my favourite, because it seems to suit my style.
“I have picked up this branch of the sport remarkably well. It helped going over to Australia and racing a couple of rounds of their 600cc nationals last year. I went over there to see if I could pick up the speed a bit and see if I could be on the pace in this style of racing. That experience has certainly paid dividends for me back here in New Zealand,” added Dibben, who is well on course to clinch the national 600cc title at his first attempt.
“Regardless of how in pans out, I have already decided that I will be in the 1000cc Superbike class in next season’s nationals. It should be a good challenge. I have never even ridden a Superbike before.”