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Mar 26, 2012

More From This Past Weekend's Various Races, Including Robbie Budgen Winning The New Zealand Superbike Championship For The Fourth Time

Robbin Harms (127) chases Ferruccio Lamborghini (28) at Mugello.
Stroud Settles for Second

Andrew Stroud had to settle for second at the conclusion of Sunday's hectic final round of the 2012 Castrol Power 1 NZ Superbike Championship at Taupo on Sunday.

The defending champion was unable to halt fellow Suzuki rider and points leader Robbie Budgen's run of two dominant wins, which propelled the Australian to his fourth NZ Superbike title.

Stroud posted a sixth place finish on his David Reid Homes Waikato GSXR1000 in the opening race and was a very close fourth in the second leg.

Stroud said after the racing, "I struggled in practice and in race one I tried to a smaller rear tyre to make it more nimble, which it did, but the traction wasn't as good. I put a hard compound big '200' Pirelli tyre on for the second race and that was a lot better."

The 44 year old from Hamilton looked set to make the podium in race two behind Bugden and Craig Shirriffs (Fielding) however, fellow Hamiltonian Nick Cole relegated the Suzuki star to fourth after a strong late-charge during the closing stages.

"I'm more than satisfied with the second race. I had a few close encounters with Nick Cole on the last lap, there can't have been more than an inch between our bikes a few times! Nick was really determined to get third well done to him."

In a must-win situation Stroud was expecting tough competition at Taupo, which is exactly what he got. "Second overall is not so bad as there was a lot more depth this year. Nick's (Cole) going faster, Sloan Frost is going fast, as is James Smith and Craig Shirriffs.

"It has been great racing for NZ riders, Robbie has been at the front in Australia lately and we are all pretty well hanging with him, except he got away a bit here."

"Congratulations and well done to Robbie, he deserves it. He's riding very fast and he'll be in for a good season with the factory Suzuki team in Australia. He deserves the position and I'm sure he'll show that this year."

The winner of a fourth straight Suzuki Tri-Series, Stroud hasn't gone home empty handed this summer, and he'll be more determined than ever to achieve his tenth NZ Superbike title next year.

2012 Castrol Power 1 NZ Superbike Championship results from Taupo Motorsport Park, Sunday March 25.

Superbike race 1: Robbie Bugden (Suzuki GSXR1000, Australia), 1; Craig Shirriffs (Suzuki GSXR1000, Fielding), 2; Sloan Frost (Wellington, BMW S1000R), 3; Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki ZX-10R), 4; Daniel Stauffer (Yamaha YZF-R1, Australia), 5; Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, David Reid Homes Suzuki GSXR1000), 6.

Superbike race 2: Robbie Bugden, 1; Craig Shirriffs, 2; Nick Cole, 3; Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, David Reid Homes Suzuki GSXR1000), 4; Sloan Frost, 5; Dan Stauffer, 6.

Castrol Power 1 NZ Superbike Championship final points standings: Robbie Bugden, 182.5; Andrew Stroud (David Reid Homes Waikato Suzuki GSXR1000), 145; Sloan Frost, 124.5; Nick Cole, 120.5; Craig Shirriffs, 114; James Smith, 100.

More, from a press release issued by Sprinthouse on behalf of Bimota:

Mugello's track hosted the debut of BIMOTA HB4 lined up by Edo Racing team among the MOTO2 Italian championship. It's been a weekend in crescendo, with Danish rider Robbin Harms ending the race at close range from the more experienced Andreozzi and Lamborghini, who since the beginning of the weekend seemed hardly reachable. But Harms did it instead, improving laps after laps his feeling with both bike and track and becoming a protagonist. Thanks to his experience managed a great star when could gain a bunch of positions bringing himself to the leadership of Moto2. Once he reached Andreozzi and Lamborghini, fought with them and achieved the top. Only then he was overtook by another Supersport rider and in the bagarre to get back his place, the Danish lost his touch with the two and compromising a possible win. Since the few miles made by both the bike and the rider, it's been a good performance that leaves hope for the season, where the aim is to conquer the national title and in the meantime to continue pursuing the developing of the HB4.

Robbin Harms - Bimota HB4 #127 - "It's been a hard weekend. During practice we paid the lack of knowledge of the track and of feeling with the bike. Things became more complicated due to the weather that forced us to skip the practice' second session. The team helped me so much though. During the warm up we found a setting that allowed a better handiness in changing directions and in bend. I eventually improved my timing but overall I could be more time constant than in practice. I'm positive about the next race and some other test will help us out."

Antonio Farina - team owner - "I'm quite satisfied about the team work over the weekend. Unfortunately every new project needs some testings and we have room for improving. Our aim is to set a season in crescendo; there are a few Moto2 among the CIV and I really hope that this number could rise, eventhough our competitors are pretty fast. Today, the positive side is that we did strike very close timings with Andreozzi and the same of Lamborghini, that during practices gave us a wider gap".

More, from a press release issued by Suzuki New Zealand Limited:

Bugden Takes His Fourth Kiwi Superbike Crown

The New Zealand Superbike Championships went down to the wire at the fifth and final round just outside Taupo on Sunday.

The day began with Australian three-time champion Robbie Bugden leading Kiwi nine-time champion Andrew Stroud but just 10.5 points in the chase for the glamour superbike class honours.

The two Suzuki men had each suffered set-backs in their respective campaigns this season, both riders dropping points in a short 10-race championship that really allows no room for error.

Fortunately for both Brisbane native Bugden (Triple R Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Hamilton's Andrew Stroud (David Reid Homes Waikato Mobil 1 Suzuki GSX-R1000), the other title contenders had also experienced ups and downs during the series.

As the sun rose in Taupo on Sunday morning, the title could actually have gone to any of half a dozen riders, including Wellington's Sloan Frost, Hamilton's Nick Cole and Christchurch's James Smith.

Just 50 points separated these five men at the start of the day's action
at Taupo and there were exactly 50 points up for grabs.

But, when the engines were finally shut off late Sunday afternoon it was Bugden on the top step of the podium, extending his personal record to four New Zealand superbike crowns.

Bugden was New Zealand superbike class champion three times consecutively between 2007 and 2009, but, while his back-to-back race wins at Taupo on Sunday earned him his fourth title with an eventual winning margin of 37.5 points over Stroud, he was quick to comment that "this was the toughest championship yet".

"This has been the longest five rounds of my life," said the 31-year-old Bugden. "I had huge problems last week (at round four at Hampton Downs, near Huntly), dropping a lot of points when the bike threw a chain. My championship lead all but evaporated. "I'd had a big crash at Invercargill too (round three of the series) and didn't think I'd be able to continue. But the team has been great. Every time we got knocked down, we'd get up and fight again. "I would like to be back next year to defend the title. That's the plan anyway."

Bugden's team manager, Christchurch's Red Fenton, was impressed with Bugden's tenacity.
"He suffered two non-finishes in 10 races but still won the title. It just shows how good he was riding this year."

And for the man who lost his crown, Stroud was full of praise for his rival. "Congratulations to Robbie. He's been very fast all season and deserved the win. "I suppose I'll be back next year for another crack at the superbike title. I'd like to make it a nice round 10 crowns before I retire," said the 44-year-old father-of-eight.

The Suzuki 1-2 in the superbike class was not the only reason for celebration for Suzuki with Christchurch's Dennis Charlett taking his Suzuki GSX-R600 to convincingly defend his national 600cc supersport class title.

Charlett rode sensibly, satisfied to finish third in the day's opening 600cc supersport race, to wrap up the title with a race to spare. The job done, he then romped to victory in the final race, adding icing to the cake.

"I rode sensibly and kept a close eye on my pit board during that first race. I knew I just needed to ride at a steady pace to get the job done."

Charlett eventually won the class by 38 points from fellow Suzuki rider Glen Skachill, of Wellington, with young Australian Josh McGrath (Yamaha) taking the third step on the championship podium.

"Next year I'm looking at defending my title for a second time and also racing in the superbike class."

Palmerston North's Glen Williams (Redpath Greenhouses Suzuki SV650) wrapped up the Superlite championship the previous weekend at Hampton Downs. Williams finished 2-1 in the class on Sunday, ending the championship a massive 85 points ahead of Blenheim's Neil Smith.

Meanwhile, Christchurch's Robbie Stokes (Suzuki SV650) won the Pro Twin 650 class, finishing 49 points clear of fellow Suzuki rider Anthony Singer, of Leeston.