Wellington’s Sloan Frost is on the verge of winning his first national superbike title and he heads to the fourth and final round of the series at Hampton Downs this Saturday and Sunday with mixed feelings, both anticipation and apprehension in equal doses.
While he always enjoys racing, the pressure is on him like never before this weekend.
If the refrigeration engineer keeps his cool and avoids any trouble, he should be crowned New Zealand superbike champion on Sunday afternoon. However, a flat tyre, a jammed lever, an engine failure, a split fuel line or, worst of all, a crash, and it could all end in massive disappointment.
The 34-year-old father-of-three Frost enjoys a massive 43-point advantage over his nearest rival, Christchurch’s John Ross, as he arrives at Hampton Downs.
That means Suzuki rider Frost almost has two races up his sleeve with only four to go and the prospects are that he’ll wrap up the title before the final outing.
“It makes it a little bit tougher for me with there being four races this weekend. I can’t afford to relax,” said Frost.
“I just need to concentrate on what I do. I’ve had good success at Hampton Downs in the past, so I do feel comfortable there.
“If I can get a bonus point for qualifying fastest and then win the first race on Saturday, then I can relax a little bit on Sunday.”
Coming from a motocross background, Frost first raced superbikes in 2009 and his first major success has been seven years in the making.
Meanwhile, the battle-within-a-battle for 1000cc superstock honours has been raging this season between Manukau’s Toby Summers and Tirau’s Dillon Telford, with Summers a relatively-safe 24 points ahead of Telford at the start of this weekend. The superstock class is raced at the same time as the superbike class but the riders are scored separately.
There is much more to this weekend’s racing than just the superbike class, with titles still in the balance in every other class too.
The racing has also been particularly fierce in the supersport 600cc class where Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam has been threatening, although Christchurch’s Cameron Hudson has been consistently quick enough to keep himself top of the series standings.
Hudson’s advantage is 37.5 points over Mettam, with third-ranked rider Shane Richardson, of Wainuiomata, another 34.5 points further back.
Richardson dominated the 600cc class at the Battle of the Streets event in Paeroa and heads to Hampton Downs in confident mood, although his nationals campaign has been blighted by small mechanical problems and he’s actually in danger of slipping off the podium – Westmere’s Aaron Hassan just 1.5 points behind him in the series standings.
The class leaders after three of four rounds are Wellington’s Sloan Frost (superbike class, Suzuki); Christchurch’s Cameron Hudson (supersport 600, Yamaha); Manukau’s Toby Summers (superstock 1000, Kawasaki); Christchurch’s Dennis Charlett (pro twins, Suzuki); Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler (125GP, Honda); New Plymouth’s Shaun Harris (superlites, Suzuki); Charlett (lightweights, KTM); Ashburton’s Lewis Dray (250cc production, Kawasaki); Auckland’s Colin Buckley and Tauranga’s Robbie Shorter (sidecars, Kawasaki).