Palmerston North's Glen Williams will head into the Cemetery Circuit meeting on Boxing Day with a massive points lead in the Formula 3 class but trailing in the Pre-89 Classic class after round two of the Suzuki Tri-Series at Manfeild yesterday.
Williams is keen to win a tri-series title as he is retiring from the national series after four F3 titles in five years. The only year he was beaten, two seasons ago, was when fellow Palmerston North rider Jason Easton beat him into second.
"Really I've achieved everything I want on the national scene, but I won't be retiring completely," Williams said. "As long as I keep some motivation I'd like to keep racing the one-off events like Bert Munro (Invercargill) and Wanganui, which are meetings I love.
"I love the atmosphere at Whanganui with the big crowds close to the racing, as well as the big fields."
Williams and brother David own Redpath Industries in Palmerston North and they have just opened another factory in Bendigo, Victoria.
"We are very busy and my motivation isn't with racing at present; it's with work," Glen said.
"Not racing over the winter series I've noticed the bank balance is pretty good also, with not spending money on tyres, brakes and other parts for my bike."
Williams will keep his Suzuki SV650 but has sold his classic Bimota YB8 to a keen Australian.
"It's a pretty special bike. There are just 250 in the world but in the end I got an offer I couldn't refuse."
Williams has been given an armchair ride to the tri-series F3 title after not only winning both races by the length of the straight yesterday, but closest opponent Scott Moir (Suzuki 450, Taupo) failed to finish a race.
With a third and fourth yesterday, Feilding's Chris Osborne is lurking if Williams fails to finish a race.
Things didn't go as well for Williams in the pre-89s. After winning both races at Hampton Downs and then coming from last to easily win the first race at Manfeild, things looked headed for a similar finish in the second race only for a mount holding the faring to come loose.
Feilding's Craig Shirriffs admits he'll go into the national series beginning at Teretonga, Invercargill, on January 6 hoping he can just get it right on the day. Shirriffs was clearly disappointed with sixth and seventh in the superbike races yesterday.
"We're chasing ourselves trying to get the handling sorted," Shirriffs said. "The track was slippery, we're getting used to the new tyres and trying lots of different things."
"We're pretty disappointed because we should still have done a lot better than that."
He will probably bypass Wanganui for the national championship.
"I've got a few decisions to make but at the moment I don't think I'll go.
"As it is we're going to turn up to Teretonga, make some guesses and hope we get the set-up right."
Despite starting high on the grid, Palmerston North's Daniel Kempthorne failed to fire, finishing outside the top 10 in each F2 race.
Yesterday's most impressive performances came from Auckland 18 year-old Jaden Hassan who streeted the field in both F2 races.
- Manawatu Standard
How excited are you about the 2014 Commonwealth Games?Related story: After the hype, time to let the Games begin