Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem will be back defending his first Superbike title and riding his 1000cc YZF-R1 race machine in the top tier class for the third year with the Yamaha Racing Team (YRT).
Rangiora’s Jake Lewis rejoins Hoogenboezem in the team, which is managed by engine and suspension tuning guru Dave Cole and experienced team manager Peter Fenton.
In the Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT) led by Steve Lloyd, Wellington’s Rogan Chandler (YZF-R6) is looking to better his New Zealand Superbike Championship’s (NZSBK) runner-up placing in the Supersport 600 class. Harry Parker, of Timaru, continues with the team and will contest the Supersport 300 class for the third consecutive year on his YZF-R3.
Now aged 14, Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan, is taking on a double class challenge. He will defend his Supersport 150 victory on a Yamaha YZF-R15 and also take on the Supersport 300 field riding a Yamaha YZF-R3.
After being forced to celebrate his debut Superbike win during lockdown, Hoogenboezem is consequently looking forward to a full, uninterrupted season of racing and also the challenge of backing up his victory.
“I realise there will be a target on my back with the number one plate on my Yamaha YZF-R1. In the past when I’ve won a championship [he holds national 125cc and 600cc class titles] I’ve moved up a class but I’m already at the top so there’s no further for me to go!” he says.
He warns his rivals that he is well-prepared and the YRT has plenty of notes on his Yamaha R1.
“We know what we are doing. What makes it tick. The times will only get faster and faster, depending on the conditions at the track,” Hoogenboezem says.
Lewis is looking forward to building on his 2020 top three finishes in what promises to be an extremely competitive championship.
“My first superbike win is not too far away and that is something I want to achieve this year along with more podium finishes. A big thank you to Josh, Amy and Yamaha NZ for giving me the opportunity to continue with the Yamaha Racing Team into 2021,” he says.
For Chandler there is only one more podium step he needs to climb this season and that's to the very top.
“I feel like I’m capable of the win,” he says.
He is training hard over the pre-season and is determined to “make sure I am enjoying the racing and having fun and being a good ambassador at the same time,” he says.
Chandler won his class in the Suzuki Series last year and he will be doing his best to defend that title in December, before the NZSBK begins in early January.
Parker will also compete in the three-round series as he works towards improving on his fifth place in the 2020 NZSBK’s Supersport 300 class.
“My goal this year is to finish in the top three every round and finish on the podium for the championship,” he says.
The team’s youngster Buchanan is excited about the challenge of riding dual classes.
“I know it will be more difficult physically but on the flip side there’s the advantage of having more track time and I’m definitely going to be giving it my all out there. Yamaha have crafted great machines which actually feel quite similar, except for the speed and power of the R3. So the transition between the two bikes has been going smoothly,” he says.
He has plenty of ambition for the season ahead, which includes defending his 150 SuperSport title and featuring highly in the Supersport 300 ranks.
“I’m expecting the 300 class to be highly competitive which is a chance to hone my race craft and take it to the next level. If I can earn a place on that podium at some stage, I will be stoked,” he says.
Buchanan has plenty of incredible memories from his debut year racing in New Zealand and hopes to have added some more by the end of the 2021 series.
2020/21 YRT & YRDT RACE SCHEDULE:
5th & 6th December 2020 – Round One Suzuki Series, Taupo
12th & 13th December 2020 – Round Two Suzuki Series, Manfield
8th - 10th January 2021 – NZSBK Round One – Ruapuna Park, Christchurch
15th - 17th January 2021 – NZSBK Round Two – Levels Raceway, Timaru
5th - 7th March 2021 – NZSBK Round Three – Hampton Downs, Auckland (TBC)
12th - 14th March 2021 – NZSBK Round Four – Bruce McLaren Park, Taupo
YAMAHA RACING TEAM (YRT) WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS:
Yamaha Motor NZ, Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, YMF, YMI, Akrapovic, Pirelli, Race Supplies, GB Racing, JCR, Holland Collision Centre, Workshop Graphics & Sprint Filter.
YAMAHA RACING DEVELOPMENT TEAM (YRDT) WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS:
Yamaha Motor NZ, Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, YMF, YMI, Akrapovic, Pirelli, Race Supplies, GB Racing & Sprint Filter.