At least two titles are already in the bag, but there are still seven trophies yet to find a home in this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships.
The nationals zipped onto the home straight last weekend and now head towards the finishing line at Hampton Downs this Saturday and Sunday with plenty still to fight for, including the New Zealand GP titles that will go to the winner of the third and final race in each class on Sunday.
The third round of four in this season’s Superbike nationals at Taupo last weekend was highly dramatic as fortunes fluctuated for several of the leading title contenders.
However, it all went according to plan at Taupo for Jeremy Holmes and Dennis Charlett, who both celebrated wrapping up their respective class titles.
With just 76 points still available in each class – one point for the fastest qualifier and then 25 points to the winner of each of the three races – Invercargill’s Holmes is an uncatchable 114.5 points clear at the top of the 1000cc Superstock class and Christchurch’s Charlett is 144 points ahead of his 650 Pro Twins class rivals.
Several other categories are perhaps just one or two races away from being finalised too, with Whakatane’s Tony Rees a massive 42.5 points ahead of his nearest challenger for Superbike honours, Wellington’s Sloan Frost; Taumarunui’s Leigh Tidman is 41 points ahead of Mount Roskill’s Gavin Veltmeyer in the hunt for Superlites glory and Christchurch’s Andy McLaughlin enjoys a 46.5-point advantage over Ashburton’s Sam Goulter in the Lightweight Production class.
Opunake’s Campbell Grayling has a 33-point gap over Tauranga’s Rob Gibson in the chase for 250cc Production class silverware and Christchurch’s Matthew Hoogenboezem should be unreachable with a huge 55-point buffer over Blenheim’s Chris Wallinger in terms of deciding 125GP class glory.
In the sidecars, team-mates Spike Taylor (Masterton) and Robbie Shorter (Tauranga) have a 38-point lead over Tauranga pair Barry Smith and Tracey Bryan.
With five points the difference between coming first and finishing runner-up and then only 50 points still available after the first round of races at Hampton Downs on Saturday, it’s not too hard to imagine there being some early celebrations this weekend.
Perhaps the only class that will go down to the wire is the 600cc Supersport class, where the gap between Wainuiomata’s Shane Richardson and Whakatane’s Damon Rees is just 20.5 points.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com