Shirriffs' focus on superbikes class

Craig Shirriffs almost misses the days when he just hopped on the saddle and gunned his superbike.

Now it is all technical, starting with plugging a computer into the bike.

"If you don't get it right you can make yourself go slower," said the Feilding rider.

He had plenty of tweaking to do during the first Suzuki Tri-Series round at Hampton Downs last Saturday, but was still waiting for parts to arrive.

He races the second round at Manfeild tomorrow.

"We had bent forks, a result of crashing over a period of time," he said.

New forks had to be airfreighted from Japan and they finally arrived on Monday.

Shirriffs, an independent who rides for Suzuki NZ, is into his third season on the Suzuki GSXR1000

To complicate the set-up even further, he is the only front-running bike running the new Michelin tyres and was short of technical information about them, even down to tyre pressures.

"I was also the only bike not running a traction-control system."

That is an electronic system that takes over to counter wheelspin. Shirriffs has since installed one and was testing it at Manfeild today before the racing starts there tomorrow.

If he doesn't get it right, he will switch it off.

At Hampton Downs, he had a fourth and a third to sit third overall in Formula 1. Sloan Frost won the first race and father of nine Andrew Stroud the second, but Shirriffs was the only rider to pass Stroud.

Shirriffs isn't desperate anymore to ride the Wanganui street races on Boxing Day, and will make a decision on that tomorrow night.

"It is where I cut my teeth, in street racing. My main focus for the last few years has been to win the nationals superbike class."

The nationals are so close Shirriffs can't afford to prang the bike, or himself, at the Cemetery Circuit.

His other big event has been getting engaged to partner Joanne, after 15 years. However, he will be too busy with his bike this summer, won't go a winter wedding, so the big day might be 18 months down the track.

Palmerston North's Daniel Kempthorne (Yamaha R6), is fifth in Formula 2 after being fifth and sixth at Hampton Downs. Glen Williams (Palmerston North) and Taupo's former motocross rider Scott Moir turned on great racing there, having a win and a second each. Feilding's Chris Osborne (Ozzy 450R) had a fourth and a fifth. Williams won both races in the Post-Classic Pre-'89s on his Bimota YB8 1000, each time ahead of 1980s star Eddie Kattenberg on a Yamaha FZR1000.

Formula 1 series points: Andrew Stroud, 48; Dennis Charlett, 42; Craig Shirriffs, 36; Hayden Fitzgerald, 33; Ray Clee, 30; James Smith, 28.

Formula 2 series points: Jaden Hassan, 51; John Ross & Jeremy Holmes, 42; Jayden Carrick, 34; Daniel Kempthorne, 31; Toby Summers, 29.

Formula 3 series points: Scott Moir, 48; Glen Williams, 47; Gavin Veltmeyer, 38; Chris Osborne, 34; Terry Fitzgerald & Nathaniel Diprose, 31.

Post Classic Pre '89 series points:Glen Williams, 51; Eddie Kattenberg, 44; Paul Wooton, 38; Damian Mackie, 36; Andrew Skelton, 34; Nigel Lennox, 29.

Manawatu Standard