Motorcycles are being tuned up all around the country in anticipation of another stunning season of road-racing ahead in 2016.
The sport’s governing body in this part of the world, Motorcycling New Zealand, has just announced the dates for the 2016 New Zealand Superbike Championships and the series will again be spread over four rounds, with three meetings in the South Island and a double-header round in the North Island to wrap it up.
“We really want to thank the clubs that puts up their hands to support and host next season,” said MNZ road-racing commissioner Greg Percival.
“With Hampton Downs now under new ownership, it will be interesting to see if the planned upgrades there will be completed in time for our final round. The full, new, extended track may be ready for us to use by March and that will be exciting.
“We are really looking forward to another great season ahead.
“With three of four rounds being held down south, it may favour the South Island riders, so we have tried to balance things up a little bit by having a double-header final round at Hampton Downs.”
The series boasts 14 races in total for each class.
In other news, Percival, said the popularity of twin and single-cylinder 300cc motorcycles has encouraged MNZ to add a “lightweight production class” to the programme this season.
The new class caters for riders of the Honda CBR300R single, Kawasaki Ninja 300 twin, KTM RC390 single and Yamaha R3 twin bikes. The 250cc production bikes would be raced at the same time but scored separately.
“It this way we are following the trend worldwide to cater for these bikes.
“In addition, we have been asked to resurrect the 1000cc street-stock class, a championship class to run alongside the superbikes and also to be scored separately. It is a lower-cost option for those who want to race the bigger capacity bikes and will help boost the size of the superbike starting grid.”
The 1000cc stock bikes will be permitted minimal changes only, to such items as race fairings, exhaust catalytic converters being removed, plus allowing for a slip-on muffler and suspension springs.
“Hopefully this will put more bikes back on to the superbike grid and might even encourage the 600cc guys to move up.”
Percival said the dates chosen for the series this year would not clash with the motocross code, allowing fans and riders of the two separate and very different bike codes to indulge themselves in both, if they so wished.
THE 2016 NZ SUPERBIKES CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR:
Round One: Motorcycling Canterbury, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, January 9-10, 2016;
Round Two: Southland Motorcycle Club, Teretonga Park Raceway, Teretonga, January 16-17, 2016;
Round Three: South Canterbury Motorcycle Club, Timaru International Motor Raceway, Levels, January 23-24, 2016;
Round Four: Auckland Motorcycle Club, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Hampton Downs, March 4-6, 2016 (3-day meeting).
Media: Andy McGechan