aid back 2017 Suzuki Series super moto champion Richie Dibben made light of his concerns going into the final round on his home track in Whanganui on Boxing Day.
While he had maximum points from the previous two rounds at Taupo and Manfield and a trusty CRF450 Honda apparently humming, Dibben had a major dilemma he hid well.
At Manfield smoke began streaming out of his engine, but using his knowledge as a motorcycle mechanic for Keown Honda in Whanganui and a bit of good old Kiwi ingenuity,
Dibben bandaged the bike up and carried on.
On closer inspection Dibben and his team discovered a cracked head in the modified motocross machine. After a bit of thought and discussion, workmate Craig “Cudge” Scott suggested a specific type of bog.
Coming into the Cemetery Circuit finale Dibben fitted a new head into his bike, but with no time for trialling it, he entered the unknown.
Few would have known anything was wrong coming into the final two races of the series that would decide whether Dibben would reclaim his title after three years in the hands of Tauranga’s Duncan Hart.
Cool as a cucumber, Dibben not only qualified fastest for the extra bonus point before easily winning both races to reclaim the title, he also broke his own lap record stopping the clock at 50.772 seconds. His previous record was 50.908 seconds.
“I wasn’t too concerned whether I reclaimed the title or not, really. It’s more about getting out there and having fun for me,” Dibben said after the dust had settled.
“I guess it’s good I’ve got it back. I’m just glad it turned out a nice day for a ride after the early rain.”
Dibben now plans to step up to the 600cc formula 2 class next year, although is still keen to defend his super moto title at the same time.
“I actually bought a 600cc bike this year, but the motor blew. I really do want to try the 600c class. but I’ll still keep the old girl and race super moto.”
Meanwhile, the F1 sidecar series outcome had a strong Whanganui connection with swinger of the series winning unit Tracey Bryan born and bred in the city. Parents Roger and Heather Stent are proud supporters, while brother Bryan Stent also races.
F1 rider Barry Smith and passenger Tracey Bryan played the consistency game after arriving to the Cemetery Circuit finale with maximum points. Two thirds on the day was enough to claim the F1 sidecar title.
“It didn’t come without it’s problems,” Bryan said on the day.
“Our long chassis machine (LCR1000) didn’t arrive from England until the day before the first round at Taupo. Then we discovered an oil leak. We managed to get through though and it’s neat to win the series,” she said.
In the meantime, the brother and sister act (Stent/Bryan) raced their BMW-powered unit to win the classic sidecar event on the Cemetery Circuit programme. The siblings set a new lap record for the class clocking 59.439.
The two Boxing Day F1 races were won by multiple and current world champion sidecar racers Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes from Britain with former Whanganui racer Adam Unsworth and new swinger Bryce Rose from Auckland taking second.
However, it was not without controversy.
In race one Reeves was deemed to have jumped the start and was penalised 20 seconds.
However, he finished the race 24 seconds clear so retained the win.
Meanwhile, Whanganui’s Dwyane Bishop convincingly won the Formula Sport/Bears senior class with maximum on his Aprilia.
Shane Richardson (Wainuiomata) was impressive winning the 600cc F2 class with a race to spare and then powering through traffic to finish third overall in the all-capacities Robert Holden feature race.
Aucklander Nathanael Diprose (Suzuki GSX-R450) was almost untouchable in the Formula Three class, beaten just once in the series six F3 races.
Huia man Diprose qualified fastest at all three rounds and, with five wins from six starts, he had wrapped up the class with a race to spare – Whanganui’s Ashley Payne (Suzuki GSX-R450) winning the final race of the day at Whanganui.
Auckland’s Gavin Veltmeyer (Suzuki GVR645) sealed the overall runner-up position for the series, with Payne settling for third overall in the F3 class.