CAPTION: Rangiora-based Kiwi international road-racing hero Avalon Biddle, sure to be among the front-runners at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna on April 17. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
The motorcycling community is bouncing back after two seasons interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone involved determined to resurrect racing at the ultimate level once again.
The pandemic caused all sorts of disruptions to major sporting events world-wide and New Zealand was not immune to these, the annual New Zealand Superbike Championships series being cut short in 2020, similarly reduced in size to just three rounds in 2021 and unable to be raced at all in 2022.
So it’s fair to say the nation’s elite road-racers are fizzing to get going again on the tarmac, their throttles twisted to the stops and fans gathered to enjoy the spectacle.
And so, thanks to the insightful and proactive work of Motorcycling Canterbury, in co-operation with Motorcycling New Zealand, the single-race New Zealand Grand Prix title races for 2022 are ready to go ahead over the Easter Weekend, in just over a week’s time.
Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, will host these coveted GP title races at the Bridgestone Tyres-sponsored event on the weekend of April 16-17.
The programme for day one on Saturday will effectively be that of a club day only, with practice and qualifying, followed by two non-championship races for each of the seven separate bike classes.
The following day, Easter Sunday, when bikes will have been tested, perfectly tuned and prepared, with riders also familiar again with the intricacies of the track and surely well warmed up for a battle, racing will resume with the all-important GP title races.
A further “club day” race will be staged for each class on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the weekend.
Motorcycling Canterbury Inc are no strangers to running high-profile New Zealand Superbike Championship-level events – featuring the traditional elite Superbikes, Supersport 600, Supersport 300 and 650 Pro Twins classes, for example.
Even during the difficult past 24 months of coping with the pandemic, Motorcycling Canterbury impressed in early January by resurrecting national title races for the Formula One, Formula Two, Formula Three and 250cc Production classes. These were national title races that had not been celebrated since they were last raced nearly 10 years ago, back in early 1993.
Class winners at Ruapuna in January were Whakatane’s Mitch Rees (F1), Rangiora’s Jake Lewis (F2), Porirua’s Dave Fellows (F3) and Rolleston’s Sam Guthrie (250 production).
Motorcycling Canterbury Inc secretary Wendy Ashmore is thrilled to announce that the one-off GP title races for the Superbikes, Supersport 600, Supersport 300, 250 production, 650 Pro Twin, Superlite (F3), 150 Supersport Lightweight Senior and junior GIXXER 150 classes are to be run at Ruapuna on Easter Sunday.
“We’re just pleased that we have a team that has worked to ensure we could have bike racing even under COVID restrictions,” she said.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, running with separate bubbles and employing security on the gate to check passes, but it was worth it.
“Our January meeting proved how much people were missing it because we had a lot of people, many from the North Island, who came from a long way away to take part. We hope the same will happen over Easter.”
Because the April 16-17 meeting is primarily deemed a club day, spectators will be granted free entry, while there is also no requirement to show a vaccine pass this time.
Riders will not need to upgrade to a championship licence unless they wish to take part in one of the NZGP title races.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com