The last few weeks have been a hectic time for the sidecar crews leading up to the first of the Southern summer races- not only did we take delivery of our stunning new Kawasaki LCR sidecar, but also the bikes previous owner flew in to join us for a few rounds over the festive season!
Multiple World sidecar champion Tim Reeves and Southern 100 winner/passenger Mark Wilkes have arrived in New Zealand to compete in the 3-Round Suzuki Series being held over the next month, with the final round at the famous Cemetery Circuit in Wanganui for some street-circuit racing,Kiwi style.
Round 1 has just been complete at Hampton Downs Raceway just outside of Auckland NZ,and while the team has never visited the country,they certainly took no time in coming to grips with the track!
Although Hampton Downs is currently running a bit shorter than the European circuits,it's well know for its changes in elevation and amazing grip levels- and this showed when the boys broke the lap record unofficially in their first untimed practice session, then again by over 4 seconds during qualifying to secure P1 on the grid.
Race 1 got underway after finally fitting a new rear tyre,and although chased hard by the defending champions Lovell/Bryan, Tim quickly extended his lead off the line to around 27 seconds at the completion of 8 laps of the 2.8KM circuit to take the win, and the first points in the sidecar class :)
Race two was the last race on the card for the meeting, and again Tim & Mark lead off the line-after dicing it up with Lovell/Bryan for a few corners in the early stages of the race and even with the local team putting in their best times ever in the 1:09 sec range, the Kawasaki LCR pulled away with consistant 1:06 sec laps to get the chequered flag
Getting the first two wins in the series has definately been a great start to the series here, but we were absolutely delighted to also receive the award for best overall performance across all classes at the meeting!
Now the team heads South for round two, scheduled for next weekend at the Manfield Race circuit, Feilding NZ- it's a longer circuit with a few bumps along the way, and anything can happen!
Updates to follow on the day via our Facebook page and a full rundown here after the conclusion of the meeting, also dont forget to check out live timing from ctaslive and some incredible video from TT Kiwis (check out the bottom of this page;), it's almost like being on the bike with the lads :)
Seeyou all next week!
Carl,Gav,Tim & Mark