Mixed bag weekend for Altherm Yamaha road racing teams in Timaru
The Altherm Yamaha Racing teams’ riders had mixed fortunes at the New Zealand Superbike Championships’ (NZSBK) fourth round at Levels International Motor Raceway, at the weekend.
Continuing his dominant streak in the Supersport 600 class, Southlander Cormac Buchanan stormed through all three races to claim another trio of victories, which included a lap record in race 1, which he then bettered again in Race 2. Although, the weekend wasn’t all plain sailing for the talented up-and-coming star.
Despite having never raced the Yamaha YZF-R6 at the Timaru track before, Buchanan quickly adapted and won the first two races easily for his Althem Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT).
“The last race, I certainly made it difficult by crashing on the first part of the race,” Buchanan explains.
Not willing to give up, he ran back to the pits where his team and Yamaha Superbike rider Alastair Hoogenboezem’s Altherm Yamaha Racing Team (YRT) pooled resources to get him going on his spare bike for the restart. Buchanan likened it to an orchestra tuning up their instruments for a performance – with everyone working together in harmony to create something beautiful.
“The spare was on display in front of the Yamaha tent, with no tyre warmers on, and no race prep done on it! The team had a matter of minutes to turn it around. They did an amazing job,” he says.
Unwilling to simply circulate and collect points, Buchanan went after the thing he most wanted – the win.
“The last lap was pretty hectic. I hit the curb on the last corner and landed on the grass. I ended up crossing the finish line on the grass but managed to stay on, which I’m happy about.”
He explains where his desire to keep fighting comes from, no matter what odds are against him.
“I’ve kept up such a good season and it keeps motivating me to keep doing that every single time. It’s easy to say, take a second place, but for me finishing second, it’s not a nightmare, it’s probably one of the worst things that I can think of. I’m a racer, I want to win. I knew I had to go out there and keep winning and we managed to do so.”
He also bought out a Supersport 300 bike for some extra mileage and set a new lap record of 1:09.180 in his flying practice lap. He then clocked a new lap record in the first race, before crashing on the last lap when he was forced to change his racing line suddenly after coming up on a back marker.
Although he was a little battered and brusied, Buchanan was pleased to have achieved his previously unattained goal of setting the 300 lap record. He made the decision not to contest the next two Supersport 300 races and saved his energy for the trio of Allan Ramage Memorial races.
His 1-2-2 results saw him have to settle for second place behind Jesse Stroud.
Hoogenboezem describes Levels as “one of my old backyard tracks,” as although he is now Auckland-based, he was originally from Christchurch.
A 3rd place qualification signalled an improvement from his customary 4th place.
“Race 1, I had a pretty good start and overtook Mitch [Rees] on the outside of turn 1. Tony [Rees] got holeshot and I sat behind him and then made the pass to lead for 4 to 5 laps.”
The NZSBK’s two frontrunners Mitch Rees and Australian visitor Ant West passed him in the race’s second half and Hoogenbooezem came home 3rd.
“I was happy to hang with them but I’m getting over them coming through,” he says, with a laugh.
Sunday wasn’t the best day for Hoogenbooezem’s Yamaha YZF-R1. Electrical, technical problems meant his electronic aids were intermittently turning off and on, leaving him to finish in 6th place.
“It was really hard to be confident on the gas and I had quite a few moments,” he says.
The Altherm YRT worked hard to sort the issues for the final race and reflashed the electronics. However, the bike would not start right before the bikes headed to the grid, leaving Hoogenboezem with a DNS.
“It was really frustrating and a hard weekend. However, the team was always there for me and we got through it,” he says.
Team Manager Josh Coppins was running a bLU cRU Kids Camp over the weekend so was unable to attend the road racing round.
“For Cormac it was a bit of a mixed bag but overall it went well and was a pretty successful weekend,” he says.
“From Al’s perspective, it was a tougher weekend, which is pretty disappointing given the time and effort that’s gone into this programme. We need to get on top of these issues quickly and come up with a plan because I’m not happy with where that’s at.”
The road racing teams now have a break until the February 9 to 11 weekend when the NZSBK’s fifth round at Teretonga Park, Invercargill, coincides with the Burt Munro Challenge.
For Buchanan, racing on his local circuit is one of his favourite annual events.
“I can’t wait to be out there in front of the home crowd and I can’t wait for the race weekend,” he says.
Hoogenboezem has a set of goals to achieve too.
It’s going to be really hard to come back for the championship but if we can go out with a bang and take some solid race wins, round wins, and upset the front guys, I will be happy with the season,” he wraps up.
- Follow Altherm Yamaha Racing Team rider Alastair Hoogenboezem on Facebook
- Follow Altherm Yamaha Racing Development Team rider Cormac Buchanan on Facebook
NZSBK Championship Round Three Results:
1st Ant West (YZF-R1) – 75
2nd Mitch Rees – 61
3rd James Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 34
7th Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 27
1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R6) – 76
2nd Rogan Chandler – 60
3rd Declan Van Rosmalen – 37
Allan Ramage Memorial
1st Jesse Stroud – 70
2nd Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R3) – 65
3rd Hamish Simpson – 45
NZSBK Championship Standings (R1, R2, R3 & R4):
1st Mitch Rees – 236
2nd Ant West (YZF-R1) – 215
3rd Tony Rees – 182
4th Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 163
Supersport 600 (Provisional)
1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R6) – 279
2nd Rogan Chandler – 180
3rd Luca Durning – 162
2023/24 RACING CALENDAR:
NZSBK Round One – 2nd & 3rd December 2023 – Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo
NZSBK Round Two – 9th & 10th December 2023 – Manfeild
NZSBK Round Three – 6th & 7 th January 2024 – Ruapuna Motorsport Park, Christchurch
NZSBK Round Four – 13th & 14th January 2024 – Levels, Timaru
NZSBK Round Five – 9th to 11th February 2024 (in conjunction with Burt Munro) – Teretonga, Invercargill
NZSBK Round Six – 2nd & 3rd March 2024 – Hampton Downs, Waikato
ALTHERM YAMAHA RACING TEAM (YRT) WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS:
Altherm Window Systems, Yamaha Motor NZ, Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, YMF, YMI, Akrapovic, Pirelli, Race Supplies, GB Racing, JCR, Hughes Transport, Holland Collision Centre, Workshop Graphics and Sprint Filter.
ALTHERM YAMAHA RACING DEVELOPMENT TEAM (YRDT) WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS:
Altherm Window Systems, Yamaha Motor NZ, Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, YMF, YMI, Akrapovic, Pirelli, Race Supplies, GB Racing, YSS Suspension, Kiwi Suspension Solutions and Sprint Filter.