If there is one event on your motorcycling calendar that should not be missed this season, then this is probably it.
Ready to mark its fourth anniversary at the popular north Waikato race track on the weekend of March 6-7, the Mike Pero MotoFest is sure to again rate as New Zealand’s “must see and must do” motorcycling event of the year.
This will be particularly so with the inclusion in the programme of several separate major competitions – MotoFest will host the third round of four in this year’s New Zealand Superbike Championships (NZSBK), including the New Zealand TT title races; the second annual Motul NZ Classic Grand Prix and the Shoei Helmets-sponsored Classic Two Stroke races as well.
The New Zealand Superbike Championships will headline the event with the second instalment of the Classic NZ Grand Prix and the Shoei Helmets-sponsored Classic Two Stroke races also taking centre stage at the hugely-popular two-day extravaganza.
Behind the scenes and taking care of things will be the tirelessly-dedicated members of the New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register (NZCMRR).
Called in at late notice to host the event, the NZCMRR has a reputation for running excellent events and they will work alongside the Hampton Downs promoters and Motorcycling New Zealand officials to ensure it all goes smoothly and produces a spectacle to remember.
The form book was thrown out the window as the first half of the 2021 NZSBK series wrapped up in the South Island last month.
The four-round NZSBK series kicked off at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, on the outskirts of Christchurch, on the weekend of January 9-10, with round two followed just a week later, at Levels International Raceway, near Timaru, and that set the cauldron bubbling ahead of an expected MotoFest boil-over.
Although Whakatane’s Damon Rees have been a last-minute entry in the NZSBK – after delaying his planned trip to race in the United Kingdom – and riding an (older-model) bike, borrowed from his elder brother Mitch Rees, it didn’t slow him down at all and he completed the two-round South Island phase of the NZSBK in winning style.
The Rees siblings packed up their equipment at the conclusion of racing at Levels with the two Honda team-mates positioned 1-2 at the top of the Superbike class rankings at what was also the halfway stage of the 2021 championship.
Mitch Rees compiled a 4-2-3 score-card at Levels, adding to the 2-2-3 tally he achieved at Ruapuna, proving again that consistency counts for so much.
Rangiora’s Jake Lewis (Yamaha), Christchurch’s Alastair Hoogenboezem (Yamaha) and Taupo’s Scott Moir (Suzuki) round out the top five in this elite class after Levels.
Christchurch’s Dale Finch (Triumph) as so far been unbeaten in the Supersport 600 class, winning all his races at Ruapuna and Levels, and Upper Hutt’s Rogan Chandler (Yamaha) is safely second overall after the two South Island rounds.
Hamilton’s Zak Fuller is fourth overall in this 600cc class (just 11 points adrift of Kawasaki’s 2019 600cc champion Avalon Biddle) and, as a novice in the class, he should be rightly encouraged by the form he has been exhibiting against his vastly more-experienced rivals.
There will just one round of the NZSBK series left to run after the Mike Pero MotoFest weekend, the fourth and round four at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park on March 13-14, so scoring points is vital for all competitors at Hampton Downs.
This fourth annual MotoFest extravaganza promises excellence on all fronts, with well-respected identities from all segments of the motorcycle sporting community coming together for a spectacular two days of action.
MotoFest again has the support of Kawasaki, as it has since day one, and Bridgestone, Motul, Shoei and MTF Finance.
Star Insurance will again sponsor and bring to life the Legends Garage, while manufacturer and trade displays will also have fans possibly not knowing which way to look.
MotoFest will certainly tick all the boxes with bike enthusiasts if the 2021 edition can match last season’s MotoFest.
The 2021 New Zealand Superbike Championships are supported by Sky Sport Next, Aon Insurance, Pirelli, Trust Aoraki, Redpath, CTAS, MX Timing, BikesportNZ.com and commentators Neil and Brad Ritchie.
Class leaders as the NZSBK series heads to Hampton Downs are Whakatane’s Damon Rees (Superbikes); Christchurch’s Aaron Scott (Superbike B, support class); Christchurch’s Dale Finch (Supersport 600); Whangamata’s Jarad Horn (650 Pro Twins); Invercargill’s Cormac Buchanan (Supersport 300 and Supersport 150); Hamilton’s Billee Fuller (GIXXER Cup 150); Tauranga duo Barry Smith and Stu Dawe (Sidecars).
2021 NZ Superbike Championships calendar:
Round 1 – January 9-10, Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch;
Round 2 – January 16-17, Levels International Raceway, Timaru;
Round 3 – March 6-7, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, North Waikato, Mike Pero MotoFest;
Round 4 – March 13-14, Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan