Team Suzuki Press Office – January 16.
Sloane Frost – 1st SBK
Former New Zealand Superbike Champion Sloan Frost scored a hat-trick of wins on his Suzuki GSXR1000A at the second of four rounds of this year’s series in Timaru at the weekend.
Following the opening round in Christchurch, Frost arrived with a slender one-point advantage over his rivals, Mitch Rees and Daniel Mettam, but his unbeaten performance on Sunday blew his leading margin out to 24 points over Rees, with Mettam slipping 15 points further back in third.
Frost’s Suzuki team-mate, Scotty Moir, was also impressive at Timaru – the fastest rider on the track in two of the three Superbike class races – although he does not have the points to reflect that.
The winner of the pre-nationals Suzuki Series, which wrapped-up with him also winning the Robert Holden Memorial feature race in Whanganui on Boxing Day, Moir had another off weekend: He crashed out of two races at Timaru, adding to the two no-points results that had earlier savaged his campaign at round one. And with four non-finishes out of the six Superbike class races so far, Moir’s hopes for a national title this season are in tatters.
“I’ll still be there for the rest of the season, though, even if just to wave the Suzuki flag,” said a philosophical Moir.
The conclusion of racing at Timaru marked the halfway stage to the 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships and an end to the South Island section of the calendar and that may favour Frost.
Said Frost: “I’m a lot happier on the North Island tracks. They are like home turf to me. It has been a tough couple of months for me and we struggled a bit in the (pre-nationals) Suzuki Series, but it’s certainly a huge boost to my confidence getting three wins this weekend.
“The bike is perfect, thanks to input from Shane Kinderis, from Alpine Performance in Australia, and from KSS man Robert Taylor. Together they have given me a great bike. I have a great team behind me, making all of this possible,” added the 36-year-old.
Meanwhile, there is a new leader in the fledgling GIXXER Cup competition after 20-year-old Pukekohe rider Thomas Newton scored two wins and a runner-up finish at Timaru.
This inaugural GIXXER Cup class is reserved exclusively for riders aged between 14 and 21 years and it is a seven-round affair, the first three rounds having been an integral part of the Suzuki Series pre-nationals competition and it continues as a feature of the four-round superbike nationals.
Racing at Timaru was therefore considered the fourth of seven rounds, although riders will count only six of the seven rounds, each discarding their worst result.
Blake Ross is second in the provisional GIXXER Cup standings, with Tarbon Walker third and, sharing fourth spot overall are Clark Fountain and Zak Fuller.
There will be an extended break now before the championship resumes, with North Waikato hosting round three at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, near Meremere, on March 3-4th, before it all wraps up at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo on March 17-18th.