Wairarapa real estate agent Eva Wintle (Suzuki GSX150F), is thrilled to celebrate winning her first national motorcycle racing title at the weekend.

March 4, 2024: Wairarapa’s Eva Wintle was simply lost for words at the end of her difficult and stressful couple of days of racing at the sixth and final round of this season’s New Zealand Superbike Championships at the weekend.

The 23-year-old real estate agent from Masterton has been racing motorcycles for just over 12 months now, but in December last year, she was really starting to rock the sport’s established stars.

The six-round 2023-24 New Zealand Superbike Championship series kicked off just before Christmas, the opening two rounds incorporated within the popular Suzuki International Series, and it all finally wrapped up at Hampton Downs, an integral part of the Star Insurance MotoFest, at the weekend just gone (March 2-3).

When Wintle arrived with her Suzuki GSX150F bike at Hampton Downs for the grand finale she enjoyed a healthy lead in the GIXXER 150 class – a competition created seven years ago by Suzuki New Zealand to provide a foundation or nursery ground for fledgling young racers – and knew another solid performance would probably be enough to secure the national title.

With the weather moving swiftly from warm and overcast on Saturday, to wet and wild on Sunday, all the racers’ best-laid plans went out the window.

Thankfully, all the hard work had been done at the previous rounds, so Wintle was able to ride conservatively at Hampton Downs, “just circulating to finish each race”, to pocket the necessary points.

“I finished runner-up in my final race of the weekend and now I’m national champion. It’s a crazy thing to say, eh?! 

“There are not quite any words to … yeah, I don’t have any words to describe how I feel right now,” she said as she was packing up at the end of racing on Sunday.

“I really didn’t think at the start of this weekend that I was going to be able to pull it off.”

Napier’s Sebastian Mitchell finished overall runner-up to Wintle in the class, while Lower Hutt’s Nixon Frost, son of Suzuki’s two-time former national superbike champion Sloan Frost, returned from injury late in the series and he accumulated enough points to claim third overall for the series. 

“My first year of racing was in the Suzuki International Series in December 2022,” Wintle explained.

“I finished second overall in the GIXXER class that year, first time out, so I was pretty happy with that.

“The competition is a lot harder this season … the boys at the front go fast. My riding has developed and changed drastically, and I’ve learned a lot in a short time.”

First created by Suzuki New Zealand in December 2017 with the aim of providing a starting place and a pathway towards “growing future champions”, the GIXXER Cup class was slotted into the Suzuki International Series and it proved to be a runaway success. These days it’s also included in the New Zealand Superbike Championships programme.

Many of the young riders who had their first taste of motorcycle road racing with the inaugural GIXXER Cup contest in 2017 are now out on the track and racing in some of the bigger bike classes – Supersport 300, Formula Three, Supersport 600, and even the premier Superbikes class – proving what an inspired and imaginative decision it was to introduce this class in the beginning.

The young man who wrapped up the GIXXER Cup title in the 2023 Suzuki International Series, Hamilton’s Joseph Stroud, is the son of Suzuki’s nine-time former national superbike champion Andrew Stroud, also an internationally-recognised former road-racing star.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan