Canterbury crusader Cameron Hudson will be taking no prisoners when the 2016 superbike nationals kick off in his own back yard this weekend.
The 20-year-old Christchurch student is in a confident mood as he prepares to take his refurbished 2008-model Yamaha R6 into battle at the first round of four in the New Zealand Superbike Championships at Ruapuna Raceway this Saturday and Sunday.
“I’ve been doing a bit of testing over the past few months and the bike is good to go. It’s a 2008-model Yamaha but, with all the work we’ve done on it, it’s virtually a new bike. It’s certainly very capable of winning,” he said.
Hudson will race in the 600cc supersport class, traditionally a hot-bed of past, present and future national and international stars, and he knows he’ll need every bit of his home-town advantage if he’s to end the weekend somewhere on the podium.
He finished fourth overall in the class last season and all the men who finished ahead of him in 2015 – Christchurch bothers Alastair and James Hoogenboezem and Manukau’s Toby Summers – have moved across to the 100cc superbike class for 2016, so he won’t be troubled by them.
This makes Hudson one of the favourites this time around.
“I’ve definitely got the potential to win this weekend. I’ve done a lot of laps around Ruapuna. I actually like all the South Island track but I didn’t have much luck at Hampton Downs (the venue near Huntly that hosts the fourth and final round) last season, but, with a bit of luck, I will have things all sorted out by then. We did a lot of thinking after things didn’t go well for me at Hampton Downs last year and we’ll be putting those thoughts into practice this year.”
He acknowledges that there are still some very fast riders in this class, with Wainuiomata’s Shane Richardson, Glen Eden’s Daniel Mettam and Westmere’s Aaron Hassan to watch out for, as well as visiting Australian hot-shot Alex Phillis, so Hudson is taking nothing for granted.
“I’m really looking forward to the season. I’ve poured everything into this nationals campaign, so I really want to make it work out.”
Following racing at Ruapuna on Sunday, the series heads to Teretonga for round two a week later, on January 17, round three follows at Levels Raceway on January 24 and it all wraps up at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on March 6