Team Suzuki Press Office – December 18.
Suzuki team-mates Daniel Mettam and Scott Moir went head-to-head in pursuit of Formula One class glory at the second round of three in the 2017 Suzuki Series in Feilding on Sunday in New Zealand on their identical Suzuki GSX-R1000A machines.
Moir dominated the opening round of the series on his home track at Taupo a week ago and the 33-year-old Suzuki star managed to maintain his F1 class lead after he bravely fought to achieve a four-three scorecard at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon on Sunday. But the day really belonged to Mettam, who finished first and second in the two F1 outings.
The result has moved the 21-year-old from fourth overall in the points, and a distant 16 points behind Moir, to second and just seven points adrift of Moir.
A third Team Suzuki rider, former national superbike champion Sloan Frost, qualified fastest in the F1 class early on Sunday, but he then struck trouble in the opening F1 race, missing a gear change and running off the track. He managed to recover from last position to claim 10th at the chequered flag, but the slip-up was costly, and the 2015 Suzuki Series winner now has only a remote chance of claiming the main trophy this year.
However, it was certainly some consolation for Frost when he bounced back to win the day’s second F1 race, edging out Mettam, with Moir third across the line in a thrilling Suzuki 1-2-3 finish.
Mettam said: “I started the day fourth in the standings, but now I’m up to second, so I can’t complain too much.”
Moir, who was grateful to still be leading the title chase after a ‘scary moment’ in race one, said: “I was lucky to finish that first race. I was in the lead when I high-sided and got flicked high off the bike seat. I managed to save it and not crash, but I was dropped back to eighth. Then I overshot a corner while trying to catch up and lost three more places. These were simply mistakes and I had nobody to blame but myself.”
GIXXER Cup class:
The newly-created GIXXER Cup class, for riders aged between 14 and 21 and all on identical Suzuki GSX150F bikes, continued to thrill the large crowds following the series.
The series has a new leader after round one winner Jesse Stroud crashed heavily during his qualifying session in the Formula Three class race. He was taken to hospital for a check-up and took no further part in the day’s racing.
Blake Ross finished one-two on Sunday and he now leads the GIXXER Cup standings, seven points ahead of 14-year-old Clark Fountain, with Tarbon Walker, Michael Wilson and Thomas Newton completing the top five.
As well as being an integral part of the three-round Suzuki Series, the GIXXER Cup will also be a feature of the four-round 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships, beginning at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch, on January 6-7th, with rounds to follow at Timaru, Hampton Downs and Taupo.
Riders will count six of seven rounds from these two separate competitions, discarding points from their one worst round, to determine the inaugural GIXXER Cup Champion for 2017-18.
The third and final round of the 2017 Suzuki Series is set for the public streets of Whanganui, the famous Cemetery Circuit, on December 26th.