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Jan 31, 2010

Stroud, Bugden Split New Zealand Superbike Doubleheader At Timaru

James Smith retains his narrow 600 Supersport lead following a hectic days racing during the NZ Superbike championship at Levels, near Timaru on Sunday.

Smith took his Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR600 to win race two of the ultra-competitive Supersport 600 class. Kawasakis Nick Cole set a new lap record but ran off the track on the final lap yet managed to stay on to finish second.

Smith was second behind Cole in the opening heat after an intense battle at the front. John Ross was third in each race for Yamaha.

Smith, of Christchurch, rode double duty for the Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki Team but couldn't repeat his Superbike class podium finishes from earlier rounds, posting a fourth and a fifth at Levels.

The racing was just as competitive in the Superbike category with Robbie Bugden and Andrew Stroud pushing each other to lap record pace.

A determined Bugden qualified his Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR1000 on pole. The defending NZ Superbike champion lead most of the race until lapped traffic handed Stroud the advantage, which the Suzuki rider held until the finish. Bugden was second with Craig Shirriffs third on a Honda. .

Stroud's win stretched his series lead ahead of Bugden slightly. Bugden came out with guns blazing for the second race to cement his third series win from six races, but only after a final lap challenge from Stroud, who smashed the lap outright record. Both Suzuki riders finished almost ten seconds ahead of Shirriffs.

Bugden says, "It was a tough day with pretty fierce racing. In both races I'd be surprised if there was a spectator there that didn't enjoy it!

"In the first race I was out in front trying to control things, a couple of things didn't go my way with the lapped traffic and that left a dogfight between myself, Andrew (Stroud) and Craig (Shirriffs). I led all of the race but Andrew got the better of me in that one, I went up the inside of a lapped rider and he went around the outside of both of us, right at the end of the race.

"In the second race I got out front from the start and led most of the race. Andrew went past me on the second last lap, so I made a pass back on the last lap going down the back straight and into the fast left hander.

"I think Andrew is turning out to be one of the biggest rivals I've ever had! He's probably one of the most underestimated riders in the world. He's a good guy but once we get on the track it's all business, and it's time I need to start beating him, we really need to get those points back."

The championship takes a four week break and resumes at Manfeild on January 27-28.

In the support races Alistair Hoozenboezem won the first two 125cc races while Eric Oliver-Maxwell took his first 125 win in the series. Jason Easton also won two of the three F3 races, as series leader Glen Williams earned victory in race two.

Results from Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels;

Superbike race 1: Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki GSXR1000), 1; Robbie Bugden (Brisbane, Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR1000), 2; Craig Shirriffs, (Fielding, Honda CBR1000RR), 3; James Smith (Christchurch, Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR1000), 4; Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth, Honda CBR1000RR), 5.

Superbike race 2: Robbie Bugden (Brisbane, Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR1000), 1; Stroud, 2; Shirriffs, 3; Fitzgerald, 4; James Smith (Christchurch, Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR1000), 5.

Superbike points; Andrew Stroud, 128; Robbie Bugden, 115; James Smith, 86, Craig Shirriffs, 77; Hayden Fitzgerald, 64.

600 Supersport, Race 1: Nick Cole (Hamilton, Kawasaki ZX-600RR, 1; James Smith (Christchurch, Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR600), 2; John Ross (Yamaha R6), 3; Glen Skachill (Wellington, Suzuki GSXR600), 4: Karl Morgan (Auckland, Suzuki GSXR600), 5.

600 Supersport, Race 2: James Smith (Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR600), 1; Cole, 2; Ross, 3; Morgan, 4; Jay Lawrence (Wellington, Yamaha R6), 5.

600 Supersport points;
James Smith (Triple R Mack Truck Suzuki GSXR600), 126; Nick Cole, 120; John Ross, 97; Karl Morgan, 75; Jamie Galway (Masterton, Honda CBR600RR), 62.

2010 Castrol Power 1 NZ Superbike Championship schedule;
Rnd 4: Manfeild, February 27-28
Rnd 5: Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, March 27-28