The 2023-24 New Zealand Superbike Championships

CAPTION: Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan (Yamaha), chased here by Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler (Suzuki), is determined to put on a great show in front of his hometown crowd this coming weekend. Photo by Andy McGechan,

FEBRUARY 5, 2023: The 2023-24 New Zealand Superbike Championships (NZSBK) literally zoomed through the first four of six rounds in December and January and, with just two more rounds remaining, we now have a pretty clear idea where the various titles might end up.

Australian visitor Ant West (in the Superbikes), Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan (Supersport 600), Hamilton’s Jesse Stroud (Supersport 300 class), Mahana’s Jonny Lewis (Super Twins), Taupo’s Karl Hooper (Formula Three), Masterton’s Eva Wintle (GIXXER 150) and Whanganui F2 Sidecar duo Peter and Michael Dowman all seem to have a firm grip on their respective classes and it might take either a miracle or disaster at round five in Invercargill this coming weekend for that to change.

However, when we consider that points from only five of the six rounds are to be counted in this 2023-24 season – with riders to discard their worst round score – and we do a few quick mathematical calculations, it all could change.

West skipped round one entirely, due to a clash with his Australian racing commitments, so his “drop round” will obviously be the Taupo event. He will therefore discard a big fat zero from his series tally.

West is actually second to Whakatane’s defending national superbike champion Mitch Rees in the current standings, but only by 21 points.

Rees’ worst scoring round thus far is round two at Manfeild, where he DNFed a race, but he’s expected to delete all 42 points he scored at Manfeild and West then leapfrogs him in the overall series standings.

It’s equally dicey for riders with an even slimmer advantage at the top.

Individuals such as Christchurch’s Diego Petrucci (who leads the Supersport 150 class by a scant four points from Auckland’s Haydn Fordyce, with Christchurch’s Hunter Charlett just another eight points further back) and Palmerston North’s Barry Smith and Stu Dawe (ahead by just 15 points in the F1 Sidecars class) still have some work left to do.

So, for everybody involved, there is simply no excuse not to turn those throttles to the stop. The various class leaders are zipping over the horizon and time running out for title hopefuls giving chase.

The first two of six rounds in the series were run in the North Island in early December and, after a short hiatus over the festive period, the series resumed with round three in Christchurch in the first weekend of January.

The series carried on with round four at the Levels International Motor Raceway, near Timaru, on the weekend of January 13-14 and spectators were again treated to racing of the highest calibre.

Invercargill’s Teretonga Park Raceway circuit will host the penultimate round five this Saturday and Sunday, February 10-11 – that event included as an integral part of the annual 2024 Burt Munro Challenge bike festival week – before the series then travels north again to wrap up with round six at Hampton Downs, near Huntly, on March 2-3.

This season’s main sponsor is PTS Logistics, who transported airbags to Ruapuna, Timaru and Teretonga, while other partners for the championship are Coregas (nationwide industrial gas supplier) and Race Supplies (Motorcycle race parts supplier), with Moto Movers and BRM Dyno also supporting the Pro Twins/Super Twins class and Bartercard is offering prizes for all the dedicated marshals and ‘flaggies’ in the series.


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

  • 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 championships).

South Island:

  • Round 3, Euromarque Motorsport Park (Ruapuna), Christchurch (includes GP title races), Jan 6th and 7th;
  • Round 4, Levels International Motor Raceway, near Timaru, Jan 13th and 14th;
  • Round 5, Teretonga Park Raceway, part of the Burt Munro Challenge, near Invercargill, Feb 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,