While many motorcycle racers hang up their boots and helmet when they reach their mid-40s, Tony Rees showed at Paeroa on Sunday he is not one of them.
Multi-time former national superbike champion Rees showed that, even at age 45, he was still a force to be reckoned with.
The Whakatane Honda star certainly demonstrated he still has plenty of lessons to teach.
Rees finished runner-up overall at the 22nd annual Battle of the Streets race meeting on the public streets of Paeroa, each time finishing close behind rising star Sloan Frost, of Wellington, but ahead of the rest of New Zealand's cream of the crop, Rees underlining his ability by setting the fastest lap time in each of his three outings.
"It was perhaps the most exciting time I've had racing on the streets of Paeroa, and I've been around here a few times over the years," Rees said.
"Every race I was the fastest rider out there. I just needed to get better starts.
"It was always a struggle to get past other riders. Sloan [Frost] and I had a nice dice for the lead, especially in that last race and I guess I was riding too nice. I could have shoved any of those other riders off the track if I wanted to ride dirty. I must be getting soft in my old age," he laughed.
He had not tried to prepare his bike for the street racing: "We just pulled it out of the van after my last ride and didn't even do anything with the suspension to change it for the tight street circuit. Plus I used the same set of tyres for the whole weekend. Perhaps I've still got some lessons to teach these young guys," he said.
Castrol Honda Team manager Peter Finlay, of Auckland, was impressed by Rees' performance.
"Tony [Rees] has not raced the recent South Island rounds of the superbike nationals and so it was tough for him today to come up against the riders who have been racing a lot lately.
"This is a fantastic day for him and he's looking forward to contesting the two North Island rounds of the superbike nationals."
The New Zealand Superbike Championships are to resume shortly with round four at Hampton Downs on March 17 and the fifth and final round set for Taupo on March 24.
Rees will take his Castrol Honda CBR1000RR into battle at both events and he'll be a definite threat to the championship leaders.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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