Season-Opener Sees Yamaha Team Riders Top Three Classes

The Yamaha Motor New Zealand road racing teams aced their first 2020/2021 season’s competitive outings, with three of the four riders topping their classes at the Suzuki International Series yesterday

It's been a long time between laps for the Yamaha Racing Team’s (YRT) Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) and the Yamaha Racing Development Team’s (YRDT) Rogan Chandler, Harry Parker and Cormac Buchanan, yet they all scored race wins over the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park-hosted event in Taupo.

The current New Zealand Superbike (NZSBK) champion, Hoogenboezem showed that he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, winning both F1 Superbike races on his YZF-R1.

He described it as “an amazing weekend” and soaked up that impossible to beat feeling that comes with “being back at a race track, catching up with the road race family and racing again.”

After securing a front row start in qualifying, he was “super happy” to ride away with the victories.

“During the races the Yamaha felt so good and I could put it where I wanted to - resulting in winning both of the F1 races. Big thanks to the team and sponsors for starting off how we left the end of last season,” Hoogenboezem, of Christchurch, says.

For Wellington’s Rogan Chandler his F2 Supersport 600 class victory looked unlikely before he hit the track on Sunday morning, as he was unable to ride his race-spec Yamaha YZF-R6 and had to settle for his spare bike. It didn’t stop him from winning his first race and finishing a close second in the next race to take a 6-point lead.

“With Taupo hosting the final NZSBK round next March, it was really good to get a good set-up there. I also managed to go the fastest I‘ve ever been around that track,” Chandler says.

The second Suzuki Series round at Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon, near Feilding, this coming Sunday, December 13, is his home track. His fitness is in a good place and with his race bike hopefully ready, Chandler is sure to present a formidable challenge.

Timaru rider Harry Parker says: “All in all it was a good weekend getting the bike set up and I found some good speed. I finished tied on first overall which I'm really pleased about.”

He shares a 42-point haul with fellow Yamaha YZF-R3 Supersport 300 class competitor Caleb Gilmour, with whom he had “some awesome battles” throughout the second race, Parker says.

For Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan the opening round delivered all the highs and the lows associated with racing.

He soared from pole in qualifying to a crushing DNF in race one, then back up again to victory in the second race.

“I was gutted to crash in the first race. I had a good lead and just went into turn one too hot and lost the front. A lesson in patience! Race two was a chance to redeem myself and I led from go to woah which felt unreal,” the 14-year-old Buchanan says.

Yamaha’s Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins was more than pleasantly surprised by how what was meant to only be a chance to trial the 2021 Yamahas, panned out for his riders.

“It was a wonderful weekend for us and I’m really happy with the effort from the crew and the boys in all classes. It couldn't have really gone too much better,” he says.

“We’re focused on the nationals and although this was just a testing event to get our set-ups sorted, I knew we’d be there or thereabouts. To get three class wins was very cool and for Alastair to break a lap record was brilliant!”

“We will keep our fingers on the pulse; keep working hard and ticking the boxes and I’m sure we’ll have another great season,” Coppins concludes.

Overall it was a fantastic day for Yamaha as a brand with Yamaha riders winning six of the nine classes. Bike Torque salesman Jette Josiah won the Super Motard class on his YZ450F. Dave Fellows (YZF-R6) won the F3 class, while Matt Eggleton (FZR1000) won the Pre 89 Seniors.

SUZUKI INTERNATIONAL SERIES ROUND ONE OVERALL:

F1 Superbike

1st Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) - 50

2nd Scott Moir - 44

3rd Mitch Rees - 38

F2 Supersport 600

1st Rogan Chandler (YZF-R6) - 47

2nd Dale Finch - 41

3rd Avalon Biddle - 40

Supersport 300

1st Caleb Gilmour (YZF-R3) - 42

1st Harry Parker (YZF-R3) - 42

2nd Curtis Boyd - 34

2nd Campbell Grayling (YZF-R3) - 34

3rd Luca Durning (YZF-R3) - 30

5th Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R3) - 26