Press Release – Motorcycling New Zealand
Wellington racer Sloan Frost has to race through the pain barrier to stake his claim in the New Zealand Superbike Championship at Timaru this weekend.
He started the season as one of the favourites for the title but a heavy crash at Wanganui on Boxing Day left him with a battered Suzuki and minor but painful injuries to his right wrist and a heel.
Suzuki New Zealand gave him a new bike to use for spare parts but the human body is not so easy to fix and Frost was off his usual pace in the first round of the championship, the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at the Ruapuna circuit in Christchurch last weekend, where he finished fourth overall.
“The biggest problem I suffered all weekend was the pain and lack of movement through my wrist on the right hand corners,” he said. “As the race would go on it would get worse and I would slowly lose all the strength in my arm so my fine motor controls on the throttle were terrible.”
The pain continues, and Frost does not take pain-killers because he finds they have a dulling effect on him. But he is feeling strong and more confident, having proved last weekend that he could go pretty fast despite his handicap in this highly competitive championship.
“I feel like I can race this weekend,” he said. “I’m definitely here to race, not just to collect points.”
Christchurch rider Dennis Charlett, 45, leads the championship after racing his Suzuki to victory in all three races at the GP meeting. If he can maintain that form he will clearly be hard to beat.
Hard-charging Nick Cole from Hamilton, who won the international Suzuki Series in December, finished second each time at Ruapuna on his Kawasaki and he will be fired up to cut back Charlett’s points lead.
But the standard of New Zealand motorcycle racing is now so high that there is a host of fast riders capable of challenging for the top placings.
These include Suzuki riders Hayden Fitzgerald (New Plymouth), Scott Moir (Taupo), Craig Shirriffs (Feilding) and Ray Clee (Kumeu) and the Honda team of Tony Rees (Whakatane) and James Smith (Christchurch), while Australian Linden Magee has shown strong form on his BMW.
In 600cc Supersport, reigning champion John Ross of Christchurch leads the series but fellow Cantabrian Alastair Hoogenboezem, also on a Suzuki, pushed him very hard at Ruapuna and Seth Devereux (Christchurch) won a race on his Kawasaki. Other leading riders in this class include Taupo’s Toby Summers on a Yamaha.
Other championship classes are Superlite, Pro Twin, 250 Production, 125 GP and 250 Mono (which race together), and Sidecars. Each class has qualifying and one race on Saturday, and then two races on Sunday.