Organisers of the upcoming 2023-24 New Zealand Superbike Championships season have been forced to make a slight tweak to the calendar.
The sport’s governing body in this country, Motorcycling New Zealand, says it was thrilled to announce last month the official dates and venues for a new-look six-round 2023-24 series, but, according to MNZ road-race commissioner Andy Skelton, “changes have since been forced upon us”.
“We are now informing riders, stakeholders and interested parties that, unfortunately, the stand-alone Taupo event that had been set aside to cater for the national TT title races, on March 9-10, as a follow-on round from the final national points racing at Hampton Downs on March 2-3 has, sadly, had to be cancelled.
“We are all disappointed with the decision but fully understand the financial pressures on promoters and circuit owners to create financially viable events and obviously with this round not being supported with national points, it creates some uncertainty as to the viability.
“Hampton Downs and Taupo would like to consider next year’s allocation of the national points rounds, so leaving the door open for further opportunities,” says Skelton.
“The TT races will be incorporated into the Hampton Downs points meeting if the host club applies for the opportunity. We will keep stakeholders informed as we move forward.”
However, the rest of the 2023-24 season is unchanged and will go ahead as planned.
As outlined last month, the Suzuki International Series and New Zealand Superbike Nationals will be combined, a recognition of the popularity, significance and relevance of both competitions.
The popular annual three-round Suzuki International Series, including the world-renowned Cemetery Circuit street race event in Whanganui on Boxing Day, kicks off this busiest time of the year for New Zealand's elite motorcycle road-racers, with the New Zealand Superbike Nationals flowing on nicely after that, three events in the South Island and then the MotoFest festival weekend at Hampton Downs, north of Hamilton, to wrap it all up.
Skelton explained that points from five of the six rounds will be counted in 2023-24, with riders able to discard their worst round score, allowing teams and individuals to manage their budgets and choose which rounds they wish to attend and which one they might choose to skip.
DATES FOR 2023-24 NZ MOTORCYCLE ROAD-RACE SEASON:
Suzuki International Series (and first two rounds of the nationals):
• Round 1, Taupo, Dec 2nd and 3rd;
• Round 2, Manfeild, Feilding, Dec 9th and 10th;
• Whanganui's Cemetery Circuit, Dec 26th (third and final round of Suzuki International Series, but not part of the nationals).
• Round 3, Ruapuna, Christchurch (includes GP title races), Jan 6th and 7th;
• Round 4, Levels, Timaru, Jan 13th and 14th;
• Round 5, Burt Munro, Teretonga, Feb 9th, 10th and 11th.
• Round 6, Hampton Downs, part of MotoFest, Mar 2nd and 3rd.
-By Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com