Dennis Charlett is stamping his authority on the New Zealand Superbike championship. The 45 year-old father of five and grandfather of three (no, those aren’t typos) won the first three races of the season during the series opener in Christchurch, placing him firmly at the top of the points standings heading into round two at Levels Raceway, near Timaru.
The championship favorite certainly got the wake-up call as Taupo’s Suzuki rider Scott Moir raced to a convincing win in Saturday’s Superbike race, while Charlett was forced to settle for fourth place. But Charlett responded in the best way possible the following day, taking his Underground Brown Suzuki GSX-R1000 to second and then first placings; enough to push his overall series advantage to 20 points over Hamilton Kawasaki rider Nick Cole, who managed 3-3-2 results at the weekend and remains the biggest threat to Charlett.
Meanwhile, in the 600cc Supersport class, defending champion Ross was again the stand-out competitor, finishing the weekend 2-1-1 to stretch his championship advantage from 28 to 38 points over Suzuki’s Alistair Hoogenboezem and Yamaha’s Toby Summers.
Other class leaders at the half-way stage of the series are New Plymouth’s Hayden Fitzgerald (Superlites, Suzuki SV650); Christchurch’s Matthew Hoogenboezem (125GP, Honda RS125); Kawakawa’s Royd Walker-Hoult (Pro Twins, Suzuki SV650); Ashburton’s Baillie Perriton (250cc Production, Kawasaki) and Hamilton pair Aaron Lovell and Dennis Simonson (Sidecars, LCR1000).
The series now takes a month-long break and resumes at Taupo Motorsport Park on March 22-23rd, which includes the New Zealand TT title races. The championship wraps-up with a double-header final round at Manfeild Park, on the outskirts of Feilding, on March 29-30th.