Mixed weather conditions matched the varied results achieved by the Altherm Yamaha riders at the closing New Zealand Superbike Championships’ (NZSBK) round at Hampton Downs.

Altherm Yamaha Racing Development Team (YRDT) rider Cormac Buchanan had wrapped up his Supersport 600 title on his home Invercargill track, a round earlier, which proved fortunate considering how his Sunday races panned out.

JCR Yamaha NZSBK Cormac Buchanan

The weekend had begun promisingly, with the Southland youngster achieving his sixth pole from six rounds on Friday.

“Saturday, I seemed to have an ok feeling with the bike. Not the best but good enough for pole and I backed it up with a win in the first race,” Buchanan says.

Sunday’s weather took a turn for the worse with heavy downpours meaning a late tyre change prevented him being able to scrub in his tyres before the second race.

“I went into the race blind, with no clue what the track was like in the wet. I certainly found out. It was an unfortunate way to end the season, crashing out of both races.”

Buchanan adds that the DNFs did not take away from the stunningly successful season he has had. 

“It’s been an incredible year, with 14 wins out of 18 races, 113 laps led and 6 out of 6 pole positions. It was a  big step forward from last year and a good way to start off 2024, by winning my sixth NZSBK title.”

JCR Yamaha NZSBK Cormac Buchanan

He thanked the Altherm YRDT that he has been with for four seasons.

“They’ve made such a great environment for me to improve in and nothing is ever a problem. It’s been a pleasure to be part of this team for the last few years and I’ll always be a part of the Yamaha family,” Buchanan wraps up.

His focus now turns to his European endeavours and Buchanan returns to Spain to rejoin the AGR Racing team, with testing in Valencia in 10 days.

Yamaha Motor New Zealand Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins was philosophical about Buchanan’s final NZSBK round.

“It was a difficult weekend for Cormac, which was uncharacteristic. However, you learn a lot more on your bad weekends than you do on your good weekends. There will be a lot for him to download and debrief for the weekend but he will be a better rider for it,” he says.


Coppins says Altherm Yamaha Racing Team’s rider Alastair Hoogenboezem “had a better weekend than what we’ve had with him in the Superbike category.”

“Overall, it’s been a difficult season and fourth overall is not where he wants to be. We are already working on changes for next season to improve the package and what we achieve,” Coppins adds.

Hoogenboezem finished the six-round series on a high note, with a third place at the Hampton Downs round on his Yamaha YZF-R1.

“I had a good first race on Saturday in the dry and mixed it with Ant West and Mitch Rees for about  four laps. We came across the line reasonably close and I finished third,” he says.

He held the same race finish position in the second outing as well.

With the rain bucketing down on Sunday before the final race, tyre choice became crucial and the Altherm YRT made a decision to go out with the YZF-R1 on wets.

“The sun half came out and the track was slowly drying. We made the decision to go out on wets but as soon as we went out, I realised it was the wrong call. The track was drying quickly,” Hoogenboezem says.

With his tyres disintegrating rapidly and nothing to be gained by pushing too hard, he settled in aiming for a safe finish and made sure he came home with a shiny bike and an injury-free off-season.

Hoogenboezem says he was disappointed not to get a 2024 podium overall but has continued his annual NZSBK achievement of a top four finish. 

“Overall, it was a really tough championship. We had moments of ‘old Al’, where there’d be fantastic racing and passes. It’s made me really hungry and really determined for next season. Big thanks to all the Altherm YRT team’s sponsors and my personal sponsors, many of whom came out to the track this weekend.”

Hoogenboezem congratulated his teammate Buchanan on a successful season and also the 2024 Superbike podium placegetters, winner Ant West and son/father Mitch and Tony Rees, who were second and third respectively.

Coppins also saluted West and the Australian Addicted to Track team which ran their Yamaha YZF-R1.

“Congrats to them for representing the brand so well and also thanks for working together with us. We were able to learn a lot from them. Ant certainly lifted the championship this year and it went to another level.”

“We enjoyed hosting many of our team supporters and sponsors at Hampton Downs and it was great to show them what we do.”

“While it’s a wrap for the road racing season for us, we are already working on the structure and making improvements for next season. Thanks to all the team members, mechanics, helpers, families and sponsors for their input this season. We also wish Cormac all the best for his 2024 FIM JuniorGP World Championship bid in Europe,” Coppins wraps up.

Pics: ASP

NZSBK Championship Round Six Results:


1st Mitch Rees – 71

2nd Ant West (YZF-R1) – 65 

3rd Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 45

Supersport 600

1st Rogan Chandler – 65

2nd Jack Favelle – 52 

3rd Declan Van Rosmalen – 39 

5th Cormac Buchanan  (YZF-R6) – 26

NZSBK Championship Overall Standings:


1st Ant West (YZF-R1) – 345

2nd Mitch Rees – 336

3rd Tony Rees – 230

4th Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 220

5th Scott Moir (YZF-R6) – 109 

Supersport 600 

1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R6) – 330

2nd Rogan Chandler – 295

3rd Luca Durning – 205