Moir to fore in Whanganui streets
Taupo¯ ’s Scotty Moir had a Boxing Day to remember after winning back-to-back Suzuki Series Formula One titles then gifting the coveted Robert Holden Memorial to a visiting international rider in sensational style.
The 35-year-old was a breakthrough first-time winner last year of both the Suzuki Series’ Formula One class outright and the Robert Holden Memorial race, a 10-lapper that is the feature of the series’ final round on Whanganui’s Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day, and he came agonisingly close to winning them both again this year too.
Moir (Suzuki GSXR1000) had arrived at the final leg of the series on the Cemetery Circuit in Whanganui three points adrift of F1 leader Shane Richardson (Kawasaki ZX10R) from Wainuiomata.
In the first of the two F1 races on the card, Moir took the early lead and was never headed, while Richardson languished back in the pack. Evergreen street circuit specialist Tony Rees (Honda CBR1000Sp1) sat second ahead of Auckland’s Daniel Mettam (Suzuki GSXR1000) with Richardson soon breathing down their necks and visiting British racer and current Isle of Man champion Peter Hickman fifth.
While Moir cleared out to an effortless win, the remaining group battled it out in tight quarters until Richardson swooped through a dream gap in the dying stages to take second.
This placed Richardson and Moir tied on points at the top of the F1 table with a race to go.
Starting from the second row on the grid with Moir on pole, Richardson needed a good start to have any chance of turning the tables on the man from Taupo¯ . Unfortunately that was not to be and he was suddenly 12th with more than half the field in front on him while Moir played a cagey game, knowing full well a top-four or five finish would hand him the title with his rival out of the frame. Richardson pulled the pin midway through race two extinguishing any chance of taking the title.
Moir finished fourth behind an impressive Tony Rees, but had enough points to secure the title for the second year on end.
“I felt great out there and just put my foot down and went for it,” Moir said of his first race.
“And I felt if I got the start I did in the first, I could hold out Shane, but in end he wasn’t in it. The pressure was on in that second race and I knew I didn’t need to put myself at too much risk. Winning the Suzuki Series is a real confidence booster for the upcoming nationals.”
Richardson said after race one he was always going to be up against it from the second row on the grid.
“I was lucky enough to get up for second and be tied on points with Scott, but my chances of winning the second race depended on a very good start from the second row.”
The Robert Holden Memorial, a race open to the fastest 25 times of the day in all classes apart from Supermoto, initially appeared to be Moir’s for the taking. However a simple mistake cost him back-toback trophies.
In what appeared to be a repeat of F1 race one, Moir scooted to what appeared an unassailable lead while the rest of the field, including Hickman, fought for the scraps. On lap three Moir even set a new F1 lap record of 48.709 seconds.
Hickman was obviously getting used to street racing, Cemetery Circuit-style, and gained ground with each race and each lap. In the Robert Holden, Hickman was picking off rivals’ heads like plums from a tree and with a lap to go he only had Moir to rein in. However, even Hickman himself thought it was a bridge too far.
In the final lap and nearing the final corner before the short run to the chequered flag, Hickman was honing in on Moir who seemingly appeared unaware. He visibly slowed and Hickman nailed him just short of the finish line to become the first international rider in recent history to win the Robert Holden Memorial.
The Rees family also had a day to remember with patriarch Tony taking one leg of the F1, while son Damon Rees (Honda CBR600RR) won the Suzuki Series F2 title.
Defending champion Duncan Hart (Yamaha YZF450) from Tauranga won the Supermoto title after two incident-packed races.
Taupo¯ rider Scott Moir on Whanganui’s famous Cemetery Circuit during round three of the Suzuki Series.