Team Suzuki Press Office – December 11.
Suzuki New Zealand-sponsored motocross rider Brad Groombridge made his road racing appearance at the weekend’s opening round of the Suzuki-supported Tri Series at Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park.
The reigning New Zealand enduro and cross-country champion, who is also ranked No.2 in the national MX2 motocross class, jumped at the chance to try a different motorcycle discipline. Groombridge and his Kea Trailers Race Team-mate Seton Head, rolled into the pits at Taupo with just one aim in mind; to learn as much as they could about racing on tarmac.
Groombridge took the GSX-R1000 to race in the Formula Sport class, the 28-year-old finishing second and eighth in his two outings behind experienced road-racers Brendon Coad and Steve Bridge, which was good enough for him to finish third overall on the day; a podium finish on his road-racing debut probably better than he could have imagined.
Said Groombridge: “I received a call about a week ago from Suzuki’s National Superbike Champion Sloan Frost and he said he had a spare bike for me if I wanted to give it a go on a Superbike, went down to Wellington on Thursday to pick the bike up and I managed to have a ride on a ‘bucket’ bike at a local kart track for about 40 minutes, so that was my first road-bike experience.
“I have ridden a road bike before, but no significant distance. The transition went well, and my track times were pretty good, straight off the bat. It was a learning experience trying to find my braking markers at 260kmph and not using any rear brakes … it’s all front brake really. There were a few different things I had to figure out.
“The first few times at full throttle down the main straight were a bit scary, but then I got used to the speed and I was okay. I did have one ‘off’ when I low-sided the bike but it was nothing too major.
“I am committing to doing the whole Suzuki Series and also now will do the 2019 New Zealand Superbike Championships too. None of the dates clash with my enduro, motocross or cross-country events, so I’m free to race the Superbike.”
The riders now head to Manfeild for round two of the Suzuki Series this coming weekend. The series wraps-up with the riders tackling the world-famous Cemetery Circuit in Whanganui on Boxing Day.
After that it will be the five-round 2019 New Zealand Superbike Championships that will command their focus, the series kicking off at Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Christchurch, on January 5-6th.
Words and photo by Andy McGechan @ www.bikesportnz.com