New record as Hampton King of Bluff Hill again
Christchurch Superbike rider Ryan Hampton is officially the King of Bluff Hill.
For the third year in a row, Hampton took out the Bluff Hill Climb's open class title of the Burt Munro Challenge on board his powerful Honda CBR 1000.
He was also able to break his previous record time of 45.99 seconds with a stunning 44.74sec effort on his first run of the day.
With glorious conditions greeting the riders, Hampton said he was always confident he could register some sharp times. He made a great start, producing a 43sec effort in practice, then backed that up with a near perfect ride on his first ascent up the 1.4km course.
Hampton was able to race with slick tyres for the first time at the event, after bad weather marred racing during the past two years, forcing him to use wet tyres.
"That's the first time we've actually had some sunshine (for the Hill Climb), without strong winds and rain," Hampton said.
"I knew it was going to be reasonably easier to get a quicker time with good conditions."
Hampton was unable to better his time during his final two rides of the day, with 49.93sec and 46.49sec performances.
He nearly lost control of his bike on his second run after going over some cement, which had been poured on the track after a water spillage. In his final run, Hampton was slowed down by shingle left on the course, from Ian Newman's wayward quad-bike, which clipped the outside of the road in the previous class.
Hampton's stellar opening ride was still enough to ensure the quickest time of the day, with Invercargill's Shane Livingstone five seconds back on his Suzuki GSXR 1000 and Rotorua's Malcolm Pearce finishing third.
Hampton said he always enjoyed heading south to compete in the Bluff Hill Climb, Teretonga sprints and Wydnham Street Race events of the Burt Munro Challenge.
"It's a mix of different events. (At Bluff and Wyndham), you get so close to the crowd. The atmosphere is so much different to what you get at the circuit."
Hampton endured a trying season in the New Zealand Superbikes this past summer, finishing 10th, after encountering severe mechanical problems. He will be using a new motor for the Tri Series and New Zealand summer of racing and was upbeat he could overcome the problems and prove competitive.
Oamaru's Chris Manson, Christchurch's Jason Feaver and Winton's Brent Scammell fought out a fierce battle in the up to 600cc category, which was only decided on the final run of the day.
Manson held the lead with a 47.42sec time on his second run, but Feaver helped set up an interesting finish, when he pulled off a 46.94sec time in his final charge up the hill. Manson stepped up when it mattered to regain the lead with a 46.59, which secured him the title. Scammell was third overall with a best time of 47.45sec.
The North Otago rider has never missed a Burt Munro Challenge since its inception in 2006 and said yesterday's racing was good fun against his old pals.
- © Fairfax NZ News