Road Racing News

Cemetery Circuit Races – Preview

66 years since race action first took place on the Cemetery Circuit, another top draw world class entry will embark upon New Zealand’s most famous roads venue on Boxing Day, including high profile event newcomers Conor Cummins and Lee Johnston.

New Honda Racing signing Johnston, who will be GSX-R 1000 Suzuki mounted for F1 and feature race action on the 26th of December, recently took part in the second round of the Suzuki Tri Series at Manfield.

Photo by Terry Stevenson

A fourth place finisher in the opening Superbike race, speaking after the weekends competition, the popular Ulsterman was full of praise for the championship organisers.

“It’s so good to be here, the weather is awesome, the track is good and the people have been unbelievable the way they’ve looked after us.

They can’t do enough for you, it reminds me of back home in Northern Ireland so it’s really nice and I’m enjoying it.”

Whilst fellow international road race front runner Cummins, who looks set to remain in the Padgetts Racing fold for 2018, alongside piloting Honda machinery in the big bike races, is also an entrant within the Super Moto class.

Outside of the notable debutants, attention a plenty will be focused upon the battle for overall Suzuki Tri Series honours.

Covered by just seven points, Scott Moir, Mitch Rees and prospective TT and Irish roads newcomer Daniel Mettam each individually has a huge chance of becoming series champion.

Photo by Terry Stevenson

They will also have a keen eye on the Robert Holden feature race, which for the past three years has been won by Cemetery Circuit legend Tony Rees.

Having sustained a hand injury following an incident at Manfield, the Whakatane racer is a potential non starter for the boxing day bonanza at Wanganui.

Photo by Terry Stevenson

Added notable entrants anticipated to contend for rostrums in the 1000cc/feature races include Sloan Frost, ex Manx GP competitor Hayden Fitzgerald, Jay Lawrence and Jayden Carrick.

Looking towards the 23 strong Supersport entry, ZX6R Kawasaki mounted duo Toby Summers and Shane Richardson look like being the prime contenders for race wins.

Additionally various classic, Super Twin, Bears and Formula 3 machines will also grace the Cemetery Circuit in just over a weeks time, with overall 19 races set to take place.

Photo by Terry Stevenson

We must not forget to mention as well the stellar Sidecar entry which includes the likes of multi world champion Tim Reeves joined by rising star Mark Wilkes, local heroes Barry Smith/Tracey Bryan, Eckart Rosinger/Steffen Werner and experienced newcomers Greg Lambert/Julie Canipa.

Words by Stevie Rial