Pavletich shows age no bar­rier

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS - By ANDY MCGECHAN

Ararimu bike racer Paul Pavletich is at it again . . . win­ning ma­jor ti­tles.

The 60-year-old pro­fes­sional rid­ing and driv­ing in­struc­tor again showed that age is no bar­rier to win­ning at the top level, wrap­ping up the five-round 2018 New Zealand Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Rac­ing Reg­is­ter’s (NZCMRR) se­ries with a round to spare.

This made it back-to-back ti­tle wins for the pop­u­lar racer af­ter he had also won the Pre-89 For­mula One class in this cham­pi­onship last sea­son.

He was vir­tu­ally un­touch­able in the Pre-89 F1 class when the NZCMRR Se­ries kicked off at Pukekohe in early Fe­bru­ary, Pavletich win­ning both the eight­lap Ja­son McEwen F1 Tro­phy race and the six-lap F1 race that fol­lowed.

In the first race, Pavletich took his 1000cc 1989 Yamaha OW01 to cross the fin­ish line ahead of Christchurch’s for­mer New Zealand su­per­bike cham­pion Den­nis Charlett (McIn­tosh Suzuki GS1135), with Ro­torua’s Matt Eg­gle­ton (Yamaha FZR 1000), Te Awanga’s Ed­die Kat­ten­berg (Bi­mota YB8) and Auck­land’s Neil Martin (1982 Kawasaki 1100) round­ing out the top five.

In race two the fin­ish or­der was the same, with Pavletich, Charlett, Eg­gle­ton and Kat­ten­berg fill­ing the first four po­si­tions and Paeroa’s Pa­tric Nuss­baum (Kawasaki ZX10) the man to round out the top five po­si­tions.

“It was a real high­light for me to beat Den­nis (Charlett). I have huge re­spect for Den­nis. He is a rider who has won nearly ev­ery class of road-rac­ing in New Zealand.

“The first race was par­tic­u­larly close and Den­nis and I had a real battle,” said Pavletich. “He passed me for the lead with three laps to go, but I got back past him on the last lap.”

With win­ning rides at the an­nual Battle of the Streets race meet­ing at Paeroa two weeks later to him sharp, he was still in hot form when the NZCMRR se­ries ar­rived at Hamp­ton Downs, near Mere­mere, for round two.

Pavletich then took his Yamaha OW-01, pre­pared for him by el­der brother Mark Pavletich, to also win both his Pre-89 F1 class races at Hamp­ton Downs, fur­ther ex­tend­ing his se­ries lead.

The rain ar­rived to make high-speed rac­ing dou­bly dif­fi­cult at round three of the se­ries at Taupo¯ ’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park and that week­end Pavletich had to set­tle for two fourth plac­ings, a third and just the one win, but still he main­tained a healthy points ad­van­tage for the se­ries over­all.

Pavletich bounced back to score a hat-trick of wins at round four, also at Taupo¯ , and this put him in an un­beat­able po­si­tion for the out­right se­ries win.

This al­lowed Pavletich the lux­ury of skip­ping the fifth and fi­nal round at Man­feild — the three races that week­end in­stead won by Whangarei’s Duncan Coutts (Suzuki) — and it was mis­sion ac­com­plished for the man from Ararimu.

Pavletich fin­ished the se­ries ahead of Kat­ten­berg (Bi­mota YB8), with Hamil­ton’s Mark Hat­ton (Yamaha FZR1000), Eg­gle­ton (Yamaha FZR 1000) and Auck­land’s Ken Fer­gu­son (Suzuki) round­ing out the even­tual top five.

“I won eight out of 11 races and only lost in the rain at Taupo¯ ,” said Pavletich. “I am work­ing on my wet rid­ing. I have now taken up vet­er­ans’ mo­tocross rac­ing again, to sharpen my skills in that area.”

In all, the se­ries pro­duced five dif­fer­ent race win­ners, with Pavletich win­ning races at each of the rounds he at­tended, while Coutts won three races at Man­feild, Clive’s SJ Chavell (Yamaha) won two races at Taupo¯ , Hat­ton won a race at Man­feild and Para­pa­raumu’s Peter Bo­gusz (Suzuki) won a race at Taupo¯ .

“Ed­die Kat­ten­burg was al­ways pushing at the front as well,” said Pavletich. “Un­for­tu­nately for Ed­die, he had a big crash at Man­feild while prac­tis­ing and was un­able to com­pete at the fi­nal round.

“I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to rac­ing at Wan­ganui [at the tra­di­tional post-Christ­mas Ceme­tery Cir­cuit event] on Box­ing Day and then the 40th An­niver­sary of the New Zealand Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Rac­ing Reg­is­ter’s an­nual Clas­sic Fes­ti­val meet­ing at Pukekohe (on Jan­uary 2-3, 2019).” Paul Pavletich is sup­ported by Aca­demic Au­dio, Met­zeler tyres, Fazy Luck and PRORIDER.

PHOTO / ANDY MCGECHAN, WWW.BIKESPORTNZ.COM

Ararimu bike racer Paul Pavletich, with back-to-back NZCMRR ti­tle wins to his credit.

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