Team Suzuki Press Office – December 30.
Reigning New Zealand GIXXER Cup Champion Jesse Stroud retained his crown at the final round of the series at the Cemetery Circuit in Whanganui on December 26th.
The 17-year-old son of nine-time New Zealand Superbike Champion Andrew Stroud clinched the championship at the third and final round of the Suzuki International Tri Series, after the 2019 New Zealand GIXXER Cup was incorporated into the popular series and run under new rules this year.
Now celebrating its third season, the GIXXER Cup series has well and truly established itself as the premier competition for road-racing novices. First created by Suzuki New Zealand in December 2017 with the aim of providing a starting place and a pathway towards ‘growing future champions,’ the class was slotted into the Suzuki International Series programme and it proved to be a runaway success.
Many of the young riders who had their first taste of motorcycle road-racing with the inaugural contest are now out on the track and racing in some of the bigger bike classes – Formula Two and Formula Three – and next the Superbike ranks in the future.
This year’s three-round Suzuki International Series wrapped up on the public streets of Whanganui, the traditional Cemetery Circuit event on Boxing Day and, while some of the GIXXER Cup riders were deemed too young to compete on a street circuit, there were still 19 riders who lined up to race their Suzuki GSX150F bikes at the post-Christmas event.
This season the series enjoyed even greater attention from riders and fans alike, thanks to the easing of the age restriction and from the competition welcoming some of New Zealand’s greatest current and former champions – including Suzuki’s record nine-time former National Superbike Champion Andrew Stroud – to also line up and race on the nimble GSX150F bikes. But, surprisingly, it was some of the youngest exponents who shone the most.
Hamilton’s Jesse Stroud, his teenage son, was once again the leading rider, ending the competition a solid 29 points clear of his nearest threat, Whanganui’s Caleb Gilmore, with fellow Whanganui youth Cameron Goldfinch rounding out the series podium.
Said Stroud, who notched up four wins out of seven races in the series: “I am really happy with how I went. I have lots more confidence this year. It was great to have my dad racing with me. Dad beat me in one of the races too!”
Suzuki New Zealand’s Simon Meade, the General Manager of Motorcycle, ATV and Marine Marketing, said the GIXXER Cup competition has been ‘absolutely fantastic.’
“We have achieved what we set out to do, which was basically to get younger riders to come through and to find the talent. The cream always rises to the top. They don’t get the opportunity to access this sport unless we give these young ones the opportunity like this.
“Opening up the age limit meant we have seen safer racing and better racing, because there are race lines that the older, more-established riders are taking that the younger ones can see and follow. They have cottoned-on really quickly and their race craft has improved. There is less crashing and much better riding too.”