New Zealand Superbike campaigns underway at Manfeild after Taupo cancellation
Altherm JCR Yamaha Media Statement 12/12/2022
Buchanan shines amongst tough first outing for Altherm Yamaha road racing teams.
Altherm Yamaha Racing Development Team’s (YRDT) Cormac Buchanan displayed all the talent he has been honing overseas in the off-season, at the first round of the New Zealand Superbike Championship (NZSBK) at the weekend.
The Invercargill-based youngster has recently returned from racing in Europe, and as expected, he shone in the Supersport 300 class - clean sweeping all three races at the Manfeild circuit. His debut on the more powerful Yamaha YZF-R6 in the Supersport 600 category also went positively.
Yamaha Motor New Zealand’s Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins congratulated 16-year-old Buchanan on his performances. “It was a pretty tough weekend for us and Cormac’s results were the highlight. It’s great to see him leading the Supersport 300 class by 16 points already.”
Buchanan described the weekend as a whole, as positive. “I felt good from the get-go, even in the sketchy wet conditions on both bikes. I wasn’t expecting to feel as confident as I did on the YZF-R6 straight away in the wet. It was a bit nerve-wracking riding a 120 horsepower, heavier bike around in wet conditions and I’m proud of how I handled it,” he says.
In the Supersport 300 qualifying session, Buchanan got himself into pole position. “The first two races I had big battles with Jesse Stroud and we broke the lap record in both races, going 1.3 secs quicker than the previous Manfeild 300 times. That was a big check off my goal list for the weekend. I enjoyed having the big battles where we were getting very close and having contact a few times, which produced probably some of the best 300 racing at Manfeild in many years. It was good to be a part of that,” he says.
CAPTION : Up-and-coming star Altherm Yamaha Road Racing Development Team’s Cormac Buchanan scorched through the three Supersport 300 races, winning them all at the Manfeild round over the weekend.
The Altherm Yamaha team made changes to Buchanan’s YZF-R3’s suspension for last race and “it worked liked a dream,” he says.
“The bike was on rails and I was able to win by 7 seconds. It was my favourite victory in the 300 class and I’m feeling very positive going to Ruapuna in January off the back of that.”
“I was happy with how I handled my Supersport 600 races and I learned lots. In the second race, I finished up only 0.2secs off the podium,” Buchanan concludes.
The other two Altherm Yamaha riders didn’t have the start to the NZSBK season they were hoping for, Coppins says.
“Our Superbike rider Alastair Hoogenboezem was on the podium in two races but had a DNS (did not start) in the first race, with his Yamaha YZF-R1 incurring a mechanical failure. Unfortunately, as a team we let him down there, which is disappointing and frustrating as it’s a short series and he’s already on the back foot. We just have to do the best we can do and try to put him in a better
position for the next four rounds,” he says.
Hoogenboezem’s mixed weekend began reasonably well with good practise sessions on Friday before the rain set in. Saturday’s rainy weather meant he went out on his spare Yamaha YZF-R1, which is set up as the wet weather bike and despite a few niggles, he qualified 4th and on the front row.
Disaster followed in the damp warm up lap for race 1 when the superbike dropped a valve.
CAPTION : Altherm Yamaha Road Racing rider Alastair Hoogenboezem #43 is third in the Superbike category.
Hoogenboezem’s other race bike was set up for dry conditions and was unsuitable for the slippery Manfeild circuit. Sunday’s race two was the first time he had ridden his new 2021 bike in a competitive outing and although it needs a bit more fine tuning, Hoogenboezem came in third.
“It felt good to secure some points and we got some good data and information going into race three.”
He got a good start moving up from fourth to second and matched race leader Mitch Rees’ times for the first 8 of 12 laps, before dropping off the pace towards the end.
“I’m siting third in the championship but there’s a big gap to [Superbike leader] Mitch. Luckily this season has four rounds left, with three races at each and we have a big break now to regroup before what I still consider to be my local round in Christchurch. Then we head down to Invercargill. It could’ve been a better weekend but could’ve been a lot worse. Big thanks to the team for their support and efforts,” Auckland-based Hoogenboezem says.
Coppins adds that Altherm YRDT Supersport 600 class rider, Rangiora’s Jake Lewis “struggled a lot in the wet on Saturday but was better yesterday in the dry.”
CAPTION : Jake Lewis rides for the Altherm Yamaha Road Racing Development Team in the Supersport 600 class and will be looking for a stronger showing on his home track at Ruapuna in early January.
“Jake has a lot of work to do in the upcoming rounds and I’m sure he will be looking forward to getting back to more familiar tracks down south.” Lewis was battling the flu at Manfeild and did not feel well all weekend.
“Saturday in the rain was tough to get a good feeling with the bike but we managed to stay upright and grab some points,” he says. On Sunday the sun came out and Lewis made some progress on the dry circuit.
“Although starting in P15 made my life difficult, I got good starts and was able to fight my way through the field to battle in the top 5. A big thanks the whole Altherm Yamaha Team. They did a great job and I look forward to repaying them with some strong results when we head to Christchurch in the new year for round 3,” Lewis wraps up.
Coppins believes this was “probably the most difficult start to a road racing season we’ve had.” His focus is now firmly on ironing out those issues and “putting our best foot forward for the next round.”
NZSBK Championship Points Standings:
Superbike / F1
1st Mitch Rees – 76
2nd Tony Rees – 52
3rd Alastair Hoogenboezem (YZF-R1) – 36
7th Scott Moir (YZF-R1) - 26
Supersport 600 / F2
1st Ashton Hughes – 64
2nd Rogan Chandler – 54
3rd Dillon Telford – 52
6th Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R6) – 30
7th Jake Lewis (YZF-R6) – 23
1st Cormac Buchanan (YZF-R3) – 76
2nd Jesse Stroud (MT-03) – 60
3rd Dennis Charlett (YZF-R3)– 39
1st Tyler King (YZF-R15) – 75
2nd Hunter Charlett (YZF-R15) – 52
3rd Megan Kemp (YZF-R15) – 42
PHOTOS CREDITED TO ASP, Aaron Staples Photography