The 2023-24 New Zealand Superbike Championships

CAPTION: Whakatane’s Mitch Rees (Honda), the defending champion in the elite 1000cc superbikes class, may feel he has a target on his back at Taupo this weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

NOVEMBER 28, 2023: The 2023 New Zealand Superbike Championships (NZSBK) kick off in the Bay of Plenty this weekend and so will begin the intense battle to find the nation’s best motorcycle road racers across many separate bike categories.

The 2021 national series was shortened from four to three rounds due to COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 nationals were cancelled entirely due to pandemic, so the expanded six-round series in 2022-23 was warmly received.

It’s again full steam ahead this 2023-24 season and it will again be a six-round series, with only five rounds to be counted and riders to discard their one worst result.

Motorcycle road-racing in New Zealand is always edge-of-the-seat excitement and, for the much-anticipated 2023-24 season, it will perhaps be an adrenaline rush like never before.

NZSBK series co-ordinator SJ Cavell agreed, saying he was “really excited to get the 2023-24 championship underway” at the Taupo International Motorsport Park this weekend.

“It will be great to see who comes out of the blocks firing,” he said.

“I am really keen to see how the international riders like (Britain’s) Davey Todd and (Australian) Ant West stack up against our homegrown talent.

“The weather could play a part also, with there being some rain forecast over the weekend, so this will no doubt add an extra level of intensity to the racing should it arrive.”

There will certainly be no rest for the wicked this season, with the opening round at Taupo this Saturday and Sunday, December 2-3, and the second round following swiftly afterwards, just one week later, at Manfeild, near Palmerston North, on December 9-10.

These two opening rounds are being run in conjunction with the Suzuki International Series, a separate-but-parallel competition that will wrap up with its third round on the public streets of Whanganui, although the racing around the Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day will not be included in the NZSBK championship chase.

After that Boxing Day extravaganza, the NZSBK series heads south, with rounds three, four and five respectively set for Euromarque Motorsport Park (Ruapuna), in Christchurch, on January 6-7; Levels International Motor Raceway, near Timaru, on January 13-14 and at Teretonga Park Raceway, near Invercargill, an integral part of the week-long Burt Munro motorcycling festival, on February 9-10.

Title winners in the 2022-23 season were Whakatane’s Mitch Rees (Superbike class); Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan (Supersport 600 & Supersport 300); Whitby’s Dave Fellows (Pro Twins, post-2020 bikes); Waiuku’s Bob Irving (Pro Twins, pre-2020 bikes); Christchurch’s Hunter Charlett (Supersport 150); Panmure’s Adam Unsworth with Whanganui’s Bryce Rose (F1 Sidecars) and Albany’s Mark Halls with Geoff Davies (F2 Sidecars).

Bay of Plenty’s Rees may be the defending national superbike champion in the premier superbike class, but he’ll have the international visitors and 2020 season champion Alastair Hoogenboezem, from Christchurch, to contend with, along with having to face up to equally-talented individuals such as Taupo’s Scott Moir, Christchurch’s former national Supersport 600 champion Dale Finch, Whanganui’s national supermoto champion Richie Dibben and returning Kiwi international Shane Richardson, from Wainuiomata, to name a few.

Riders such as Rees’ father, Tony Rees, a multi-time former national champion, Nikau Valley’s Isaac Markham-Barrett, Wellington trio Rhys Lindsay, Malcolm Bielski and Luke Riley, Grey Lynn’s Dave Sharp, who was third in this class last year, and Ngaruawahia’s Jordan Burley are also poised to strike.

The Supersport 600 class will certainly be fizzing again this season, with defending champion Buchanan certain to feel some heat from dual-class rider Richardson, Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler, visiting Australian Declan van Rosmalen and Wanaka’s Jesse Stroud and Whanganui’s Luca Durning, to name a few.

In addition, racing in the Formula three/Pro Twins, Supersport 300, Formula Sport, Supermoto, Supersport 150, Pre-89/Pre-95 Post Classics and Sidecars classes is bound to keep everyone entertained.

Whatever class you’re fan of, a packed programme of races awaits spectators at Taupo this weekend and it’s sure to be furious action, with championship campaigns perhaps won or lost at this opening round.


Suzuki International Series (and first two rounds of the nationals):

  • Round 1, Taupo, Dec 2nd and 3rd;
  • Round 2, Manfeild, Feilding, Dec 9th and 10th;
  • Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit, Dec 26th (third and final round of

Suzuki International Series, but not part of the nationals).

South Island:

  • Round 3, Ruapuna, Christchurch (includes GP title races), Jan 6th and 7th;
  • Round 4, Levels, Timaru, Jan 13th and 14th;
  • Round 5, Burt Munro, Teretonga, Feb 9th, 10th and 11th.

North Island:

  • Round 6, Hampton Downs, part of MotoFest (includes TT title races), Mar 2nd and 3rd.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,