When the New Zealand Superbike Championship (NZSBK) was last raced in 2021, Invercargill phenomenon Altherm Yamaha’s Cormac Buchanan claimed dual class titles and he hit repeat in 2023, winning the Supersport 300 class again and adding a national Supersport 600 victory.
Having already clinched the 300 title last weekend at Hampton Downs, his steely focus was on the larger capacity class crown but he certainly didn’t have an easy time of it at Taupo Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park. In fact, lifting the Supersport 600 trophy came down to the final race of the season and it was an all-out battle between Buchanan, his Altherm Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT) teammate Jake Lewis and Rogan Chandler.
Buchanan was sweating at the start of the last race as “the tyre wasn’t coming to me.”
“But the longer I got into the race, the tyre started to come on a bit and when I saw a gap between Jake and Rogan I was able to go for it and really tried to put the hammer down. The defining moment was when I hit the front and I tried to put as many fast laps in as I could,” he says.
Having only swung his leg over a Yamaha YZF-R6 just four months ago, becoming the national 600 champion in his rookie season didn’t feature in his early season expectations. It wasn’t until round four at Teretonga Park that he started to believe he could claim the championship.
“To actually win it this year was an unexpected surprise. I’m definitely proud of winning dual titles. I did the same thing with the Supersport 150 and 300 classes in 2021, so to do it with the Supersport 300 and 600 was really nice.”
Several crashes in the Supersport 300 class at Taupo were not the way he wanted to finish his season in this class however, and Buchanan says he felt “very lucky that I got the championship wrapped up at Hampton Downs.”
“The team environment has been really good. Steve Lloyd is a great team boss and Jake and I have had a really healthy relationship, I’ve really enjoyed it,” Buchanan wraps up.
Altherm Yamaha Motor New Zealand Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins says it was a ”huge achievement” for Buchanan winning double titles.
“He flew out last night to start his European campaign in Portugal. I feel like having him on both the YZF-R3 and YZF-R6 bikes has really helped him progress and will put him in a great position for his international season.”
“Jake rode really very well all weekend but unfortunately he is up against a very determined, very talented young lad with the world at his feet, so he wasn’t able to execute the win. Second was still an exceptional performance and we are very happy with his result.”
“A 1-2 in the Supersport 600 category and Cormac winning the Supersport 300 class is a huge achievement from Steve Lloyd and YRDT team. With support from Kiwi Suspension Solutions (KSS), they put together an amazing season. It’s going to be pretty hard to beat this one!” Coppins says.
Rangiora’s Lewis echoed his YRDT teammate’s sentiments around their fierce but friendly rivalry.
“A 1-2 and being the dominant Supersport 600 team for the championship is a great result. Cormac rode extremely well all year. He has been a fantastic teammate and thoroughly deserved his winning result. Obviously I would have loved to grab the win but for the championship to go down to the wire and coming into the last race tied on points was awesome. I gave it my all and did the absolute best I could but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough.”
“Big thanks to Yamaha, Altherm, Josh and Amy Coppins, Steve and Diana Lloyd from YRDT, NZSBK for a great series and all our supporters for making the season possible. We had an amazing package all year and it showed in the results,” Lewis says.
For thAltherm Yamaha Racing Team’s Superbike rider Alastair Hoogenboezem there was redemption at the tail end of what he sums up as a “rollercoaster season of hectic ups and downs.”
Riding the team’s spare YZF-R1 after a mechanical ruled out the number one Yamaha superbike last weekend, Auckland-based Hoogenboezem achieved his ambition to win 2023’s final 14-lap race. Having wrapped up second place overall in the Superbikes, after finishing third in the first and second races - despite a wheel sensor failure hampering his progress - he was on a mission for race three..
“The last few years I’ve always managed to win the last race of the season and that was my goal. I really wanted to give something back to the team to celebrate. I went out, took the lead at turn two and pretty much led the whole race to come across with the win to wrap up the season nicely,” he says.
“Massive thanks to all our sponsors. Well done to Jake and Cormac - they rode amazingly - and good luck to Cormac for his European campaign,” Hoogenboezem sums up.
Coppins says once the team ironed out the sensor hiccup, “Al had probably one of his better rides of the season in the final race.”
“It has been a tough season for Al but he has still achieved second in the championship. There’s been a lot of positives for him and we will start working hard for next season to keep him progressing.”
“Overall it's been a stellar campaign for our two road racing teams. I’d like to thank all the riders, mechanics, sponsors and supporters for their efforts, plus all the partners, families, sponsors Altherm and Yamaha for their support.
Special mentions go to Steve and Diana Lloyd, Jake, Tim, Cormac and the Buchanan family, Alastair and the Hoogenboezem family, Red, Smokey, Hank and Dave Cole,” Coppins says.
The Altherm Yamaha road racing teams and riders will now take some well-deserved time off, before starting to build back up towards the 2023/2024 season.
NZSBK Round Six Results:
1st Mitch Rees – 71
2nd Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 57
3rd Tony Rees – 56
4th Scott Moir (YZF-R1) – 39
1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R6) – 67
2nd Jake Lewis (YZF-R6) – 61
3rd Rogan Chandler – 56
1st Caleb Gilmore – 52
2nd Cameron Leslie – 51
3rd Jesse Stroud – 50
1st Haydn Fordyce (YZF-R15) – 101
2nd Hunter Charlett (YZF-R15) – 95
3rd Tyler King (YZF-R15) – 77
NZSBK Championship Overall Results:
1st Mitch Rees – 351
2nd Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 252
3rd Dave Sharp – 167
1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R6) – 259
2nd Jake Lewis (YZF-R6) – 254
3rd Rogan Chandler – 243
1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R3) – 305
2nd Jesse Stroud (YZF-R3) – 270
3rd Dennis Charlett (YZF-R3) – 208
1st Hunter Charlett (YZF-R15) – 288
2nd Nixon Frost (YZF-R15) – 243
3rd Lucas Guthrie (YZF-R15) – 178