Ending what has been a strange season on an absolute high, Altherm Yamaha Racing Team’s Alastair Hoogenboezem secured the NZGP Superbike title that has long escaped him.
The Auckland-based YZF-R1 rider was thrilled to nab this trophy after the proactiveness of Motorcycling Canterbury, in conjunction with Motorcycling New Zealand, enabled the single-race New Zealand Grand Prix to go ahead last weekend.
“I’ve won the NZGP in the 125 and 600 classes but the Superbike NZGP has eluded me for many years now for one reason or another. It was pretty cool to grab this one and although not all the top guys could be there, Scotty Moir and Tony Rees provided some good competition,” Hoogenboezem says.
Christchurch's Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, hosted the sought after GP title races, which was a huge relief to the road racing fraternity after it has endured three seasons interrupted by the Covid-19. Along with disrupting major sporting events worldwide and in New Zealand, the pandemic caused the annual New Zealand Superbike Championships series to be cut short in 2020, similarly reduced in size to just three rounds in 2021 and unable to be raced at all in 2022.
Hoogenboezem says it was the first season since 2007 that he hasn't competed in a national championship, “so it’s been really weird.” Although the efforts of the New Zealand motorcycling clubs to host one-off meetings, such as this recent Easter weekend event, meant “it's actually been quite busy for not having a national championship.”
He thanked the Altherm Yamaha Racing Team for getting him out there and over winter will be working towards the 2022/23 season where he will be striving to regain the national Superbike title he won in 2020.
Rangiora’s Jake Lewis was racing in the Supersport 600 class and had a mixed selection of results.
“We had tough conditions at Ruapuna, with it being a very windy Saturday and then the rain on and off Sunday made it busy adjusting bike settings for the ever changing conditions,” he says.
Saturday’s opening race saw Lewis score a win and then a third place in the afternoon.
“After another third place in the wet race Sunday morning, I was looking to be back up front in the dry conditions. I had great pace for the NZGP race and was keen to win my fourth NZGP title but a small mistake on the brakes into the tight hairpin took me down and out after taking the lead a couple laps prior,” Lewis says.
“It has been an odd season with the Covid disruptions but the clubs have done a great job to be able to run these meetings. I want to say a big thanks to the team, Yamaha NZ and Altherm Window Systems for the continuous help and support. I can’t wait for the 2022/23 season,” Lewis concludes.
Riding for the Altherm Yamaha Racing Development Team, Timaru’s Harry Parker says his weekend in the Supersport 600 class was “a bit of a hit and miss” event.
“I went out in practice and battling the wind managed to get P7. Race one came around and I got my fastest lap time of 1:35 but then I had a few bike problems half way through the race, so I came into the pits. We couldn’t fix the problem at the track, so we had to put the bike on the trailer and watch from the sideline,” he says.
Yamaha Motor New Zealand’s Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins congratulated Hoogenboezem on winning five out of the six races and lifting the coveted Superbike NZGP title.
“It was also great to see Taupo Yamaha dealership Promoto Motorcycle’s Scott Moir do so well in the NZGP Superbike race, achieving a third placed finish.”
“Jake and Harry had a mixed bag of results and Cormac Buchanan wasn’t racing as he is overseas about to begin his campaign in the Red Bull Rookies Cup which starts this weekend in Portugal.”
“Despite this affected season we’ve got a lot of track time in on different circuits and did a lot of work. The Altherm Yamaha road racing teams have had some really good results in all classes.”
“Thanks to everyone for their efforts in running the events this year and to all the sponsors for sticking with us over this difficult time. We’ve done everything we could do and are looking forward to getting back to normality and getting some good racing in next season, beginning in December with the Tri-Series,” Coppins wraps up.