Lap records tumbled during a highly-entertaining two days of racing as the New Zealand Superbike Championships wrapped up with the fourth and final round at Hampton Downs at the weekend.
Whakatane’s Tony Rees set a new lap record time in the superbike class of one minute 3.732 seconds; Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam was the quickest 600cc supersport class rider at Hampton Downs, clocking a time of one minute 4.917 seconds; Hamilton’s Jacob Stroud was fastest of the superlite class riders, notching up a time of one minute 9.201 seconds; Ashburton’s Ballie Perriton was swiftest of the Pro Twin 650 riders, stopping the clock at one minute 9.519 seconds; while Auckland pair Stu Dawe and Ben Bygrave set a new record for sidecars of one minute 8.5 seconds.
However, lap records alone weren’t enough in every case to earn national titles for those riders and, when the smoke cleared, it was Wellington’s Sloan Frost who was handed the premier superbike crown, his first national superbike title but his second major victory in a season that has simply sparkled for the 34-year-old father-of-three.
He also won the pre-season Suzuki Series that wrapped up on Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day, that being his first major superbike win in eight years of battling in the class.
But it was the most coveted of all Kiwi titles that also became his at Hampton Downs on Sunday afternoon when he earned the superbike crown with two races to spare.
Frost finished 3-1-1-1 in his four races, with the third race of the weekend, a gruelling 15-lap affair, also significant as it doubled as the separate Tourist Trophy title.
“This is a dream come true,” said Frost, a refrigeration engineer by trade.
“When I first started racing superbikes eight years ago, nobody believed I had a chance. But I finished third a few times before finally putting it all together this year.”
Nine-times former superbike champion Andrew Stroud finished 1-6-3-2 over the weekend and this was enough for the Hamilton man to overtake Christchurch’s John Ross and secure the runner-up spot in the championship, relegating Ross to third overall.
Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam was another first-time championship winner at the weekend.
The 20-year-old started the weekend trailing Christchurch’s Cameron Hudson by 37.5 points in the 600cc supersport class.
But, with an almost flawless performance at Hampton Downs – Mettam finishing 1-1-1-2 over the two days – he wiped out that deficit and took the title by just 5.5 points from Hudson after a thrilling showdown that went right down to the final race.
“I rode conservatively in that last race because I knew all I needed to do was finish ahead of Cam (Hudson). It’s been seven years of hard work to win a championship and it feels awesome,” said Mettam.
Other riders to win national titles at the weekend were Manukau’s Toby Summers (superstock 1000); Ashburton’s Baillie Perriton (pro twins); Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler (125GP); Hamilton’s Jacob Stroud (superlites); Christchurch’s Dennis Charlett (lightweights); Ashburton’s Lewis Dray (250cc production); Auckland’s Colin Buckley and Tauranga’s Robbie Shorter (sidecars).
Final leading points standings in the 2015-16 New Zealand Superbike Championships:
Superbikes: 1. Sloan Frost (Wellington, Suzuki) 277 pts; 2. Andrew Stroud (Hamilton, Suzuki) 200; 3. John Ross (Christchurch, Suzuki) 180.
Superstock 1000: 1. Toby Summers (Manukau, Kawasaki) 276 pts; 2. Dillon Telford (Kapiti, Aprilia) 237; 3= Daniel Nicholson (Rotorua, Suzuki) and Dan Ornsby (Oxford, Nth Canterbury, Yamaha) 48.
Supersport 600: 1. Daniel Mettam (Glen Eden, Suzuki) 231 pts; 2. Cameron Hudson (Christchurch, Yamaha) 225.5; 3. Aaron Hassan (Westmere, Suzuki) 168.
Pro Twins: 1. Bailie Perriton (Ashburton, Suzuki) 272 pts; 2. Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, Suzuki) 259; 3 Ben Rosendaal (Whangamata, Suzuki) 197.
125GP: 1. Rogan Chandler (Upper Hutt, Honda) 304 pts; 2. Ashley Weller (Christchurch, Honda) 210; 3. Chris Cain (Auckland, Honda) 190.
Superlites: 1. Jacob Stroud (Hamilton, Yamaha) 240 pts; 2. Gavin Veltmeyer (Auckland, Suzuki) 212; 3. Matthew Hoogenboezem (Christchurch, Suzuki) 173.
Lightweights: 1. Dennis Charlett (Christchurch, KTM) 273 pts; 2. Grant Ramage (Timaru, Yamaha) 179; 3. Tim McArthur (Rolleston, Kawasaki) 166.
250cc production: 1. Lewis Dray (Ashburton, Kawasaki) 262 pts; 2. Jacob Stroud (Hamilton, Kawasaki) 206; 3. Alex Bowers (Christchurch, Kawasaki) 184.
Sidecars: 1. Colin Buckley (Auckland) and Robbie Shorter (Tauranga, Kawasaki) 294 pts; 2. A J MacDonald and David Gorst (Kaiapoi, Suzuki) 173; 3. Pete Goodwin and swingers Matt Gibbs and Darrin Prentice (Suzuki) 156.