With a commitment to fostering the talent of younger racers in the entry capacity categories, through to supporting its top-tier riders in their desire to claim the Superbike title, YMNZ has covered all bases.
The Yamaha Racing Team (YRT) will consist of Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem and Jake Lewis, of Rangiora. These two seasoned high-flyers will be on-board their 1000cc YZF-R1 race machines in the Superbike class and they will be managed by engine and suspension tuning guru Dave Cole and experienced team manger Peter Fenton.
At 27-years-old Hoogenboezem is the team’s most ‘senior’ rider and enters his fifth Superbike season. Although the thrill of hurtling down a straight at 290kmh is second nature now “it still definitely puts a smile on my face,” he says.
He has national 125cc and 600cc class titles to his name and is looking to add a third championship to his trophy cabinet this season. His teammate Lewis (24) has the same ambition and no doubt the two Yamaha riders will spur each other on to great things on their Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycles this season. Lewis returned from a five-year stint racing overseas in 2018, winning the New Zealand 600 Supersport title that year.
Like Hoogenboezem, he joined the YMNZ team last year and his goals are to be consistently on the podium and “represent the Yamaha brand the best I can,” Lewis says.
For the 2020 season, YMNZ has developed a satellite squad, the Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT) managed by Steve Lloyd. It forms the pathway for the up-and-coming younger riders to progress into the YRT when they have built up the necessary skills and speed. Wellington’s Rogan Chandler (22) will compete in the Supersport 600 class onboard his Yamaha YZF-R6 for his third year in this class. YMNZ also welcomes Timaru’s Harry Parker to the team and the 19-year-old will contest the Supersport 300 class, on his YZF-R3.
Lloyd says that since he sold his motorcycle business in 2012, he has been involved with the Off-limits Trust, which organises and runs events such as the Tussock Buster and Boundary Buster. The trust also develops young riding talent in New Zealand.
“We are excited to be able to do this now through the establishment of the Yamaha Racing Development Team. We are operating alongside the Yamaha Racing Team with the shared goal to provide an environment that allows riders to develop skills not just on the track but off the track as well. We hope that success on a national level will allow our riders to progress to being picked up by Yamaha Racing in Australia, or Asia, and even further afield internationally,” Lloyd says.
With a rule change by Motorcycling New Zealand from a single manufacturer 150cc class, to now open to all manufacturers within the Supersport 150 class, Yamaha is extending support to 13-year-old Southlander Cormac Buchanan – supported by his hometown dealership Rogers Motorcycles in Invercargill - who will be leading the charge in this class on a YZF-R15. Despite his young age, Buchanan has a packed international schedule leading into the NZSBK’s first round in January. He has been racing in Australia in the Oceania Junior Cup; was nominated to attend the prestigious Red Bull Rookies Cup in Spain last weekend; and has been selected to ride in the Asia Talent Cup in Malaysia later this month.
"I'm absolutely stoked to be part of the bLU cRU and have the chance to learn from riders the calibre of Jake, Al, Rogan and Harry. As I'm just starting my road racing career, having positive and talented role models willing to mentor me within the Yamaha teams was a massive drawcard,” Cormac says.
Former international motocross star and more recently, successful team manager Josh Coppins has taken on a new management role at the helm of Yamaha’s racing programme, which will span across all disciplines.
"I'm looking forward to the season ahead. We have a great group of riders and have been able to provide them with a clear pathway and structure which we believe will help the sport, the Yamaha brand and will ultimately help the riders to get the championships they deserve,” Coppins says.
The road racing season kicks off with the Tri-Series starting on December 7 and 8 at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo.
The YZF-R15 v3 will be available to dealers late October and Yamaha is looking forward to seeing the support of the brand within this class. Yamaha will be offering a limited number of R15 fairing kits for racers and also have a race-ready apparel package available through Ficeda. These will be available directly via YMNZ. Please contact Amy Coppins from JCR for more information via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 NZSBK Championship Dates:
NZSBK Round One - 11th & 12 January 2020 (Ruapuna, Christchurch)
NZSBK Round Two - 18th & 19th January 2020 (Levels, Timaru)
NZSBK Round Three - 7th & 8th March (Hampton Downs, Waikato)
NZSBK Round Four - 28th & 29th March 2020 (Manfeild, Palmerston North)
NZSBK Round Five - 4th & 5th April 2020 (Bruce McLaren Park, Taupo)