MOIR & GSX-R1000 WIN NEW ZEALAND SUZUKI TRI-SERIES
Suzuki’s Scott Moir dominated the final round of the New Zealand Suzuki Tri- Series Formula One Championship taking the series title and also celebrated a start-to-finish win in the coveted Robert Holden Memorial feature race.
The 33-year-old arrived at the Boxing Day third and final round on December 26th at Whanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit with a slender seven-point lead over his two key rivals, Daniel Mettam and Mitch Rees, and kept a cool and sensible head under the pressure, racing his new Suzuki GSX-R1000 to fastest qualifying in the premier Formula One class. Then he won the first of the day’s two F1 races, his start-to-finish win bolstering his points advantage to 10 points over fellow Suzuki Team rider Mettam, who finished runner-up and kept his chances of snatching the crown alive.
But Mettam, who has won the Suzuki-sponsored Tri-Series 600cc Formula Two trophy in 2015 and the national 600cc Supersport title in 2016, was up against Moir at his best. And when Moir battled his way to a runner-up finish in the day’s second F1 race, passing the chequered flag just 2.6 seconds behind fellow Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Jay Lawrence, the Suzuki Series crown was his. Mettam finished fourth in the second F1 race and secured second position overall.
All that remained to make it a perfect weekend for Moir would be for him to win the stand-alone multi-class ‘Champion-of-Champions Robert Holden Memorial’ feature race and that is what he did, crossing the line 1.5 seconds ahead of Lawrence.
Said Moir: “I’ve never won the overall here at the Cemetery Circuit before, but to do that, win the Suzuki Series and take the Robert Holden trophy as well is just fantastic feeling. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I’ve won one race here in the past and finished runner-up a few times, but never this. I even managed to set my personal best Cemetery Circuit lap time in the Robert Holden race.”
Nathanael Diprose (Suzuki) was almost untouchable in the Formula Three class, beaten just once in the series’ six F3 races. Diprose qualified fastest at all three rounds and, with five wins from six starts, he wrapped-up the class with a race to spare, with Ashley Payne (Suzuki) winning the final race of the day at Whanganui. Gavin Veltmeyer (Suzuki) sealed the overall runner-up position for the series, with Payne settling for third overall in the F3 class.
Meanwhile, the fledgling GIXXER Cup class continued to impress, the newly-created class easily justifying its inclusion in the 2017 Suzuki Series.
An integral part of the Suzuki Series, the seven-round GIXXER Cup did not wrap-up at Whanganui and now continues as a feature of the four-round 2018 New Zealand Superbike Championships, beginning at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch, on January 7th, with rounds to follow at Timaru, Hampton Downs and Taupo.
The GIXXER Cup class is reserved for riders aged between 14 and 21 years, all riding identical Suzuki GSX150F bikes.
With the tagline ‘Growing Future Champions,’ the GIXXER Cup is a production racing class that will provide a springboard towards a successful racing future at higher levels.
Any number of the young riders have shown throughout the Suzuki Series that they are capable of winning: Hamilton’s Jesse Stroud, the 15-year-old son of Suzuki’s nine-time former National Superbike Champion Andrew Stroud, scored back-to-back wins at the series opener at Taupo and showed himself as a young man to watch for future stardom.
Also impressive at Taupo was 19-year-old Tarbon Walker, although a crash in race one proved costly in terms of his points, and other stand-outs there were 14-year-old former motocross and speedway exponent Clark Fountain, with Blake Ross, Zak Fuller and Ollie Dennison also putting-in strong performances.
Only six of the seven GIXXER Cup rounds are to be counted, with riders ditching their worst results.