Team Suzuki Press Office – December 18.

Reigning champion Dennis Charlett took the lead in the New Zealand Suzuki-supported Tri Series Formula One class at Sunday’s second round at Manfield.

The Christchurch GSX-R1000 rider finished first and third, keeping his cool as all around him were losing theirs.

"It was a fantastic day for me," said the 45-year-old father-of-five and grandfather-of-three. "My Suzuki GSX-R1000 performed brilliantly. To win this series for a second year in a row would be great, but I'm not taking anything for granted because there's still a round to go.

"Regardless of how it all works out for the Suzuki Series, it has still been great in terms for getting myself set-up for the national championships that kick-off in in January and I feel like I'm in a good position."

In a drama-filled day, series leader after round one, Nick Cole (Kawasaki ZX10R), suffered engine problems during F1 qualifying and was forced to the sidelines. He lined-up for racing proper with his back-up bike and his results suffered because of this, managing just sixth and fifth in his two outings on Sunday and dropping back to second in the series standings, now three points behind Charlett, with the third and final round coming-up at Wanganui's famous Cemetery Circuit on Boxing Day, December 26th.

Next up was Australian Linden Magee (BMW 1000RR) crashing spectacularly soon after the start of the opening F1 race, forcing the race to be stopped. He was not seriously injured but his bike was wrecked. Then Suzuki’s Sloane Frost, who was second in the F1 standings after round one, crashed just a handful of laps into the re-started F1 race. The man who took the lead in re-started F1 race, Feilding Suzuki ace Craig Shirriffs, was the next rider to experience drama as he was forced to give-up his lead and pull out of the race when the bracket holding his brakes in place came loose.

Drama hit Taupo’s Scott Moir (Suzuki GSX-R1000) when he had to withdraw when his bike suffered a malfunction as he sat on the start line for race two. Moir had finished fourth in the opening F1 race but his race two problem dropped him back to fifth in the series standings. Disaster also struck Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki GSX-R1000) in the F1 class when he suffered electrical problems and was forced to pull out of race two, leaving him seventh in the class standings.

Frost bounced back from his disappointment to win the day's second F1 race, with Shirriffs finishing second, but this was merely consolation for these two riders since their non-finish in race one probably cost both of them any chance of winning the three-round, six-race series.

"It was a consolation to win race two after crashing out of race one. I went too hard, too early on cold tyres and it has me thinking I might not race the final round now," said Frost.

"There's not a lot of point in me risking myself for a series I can't now win. I've got to think about the nationals coming up. It has been a mixed day for me; a DNF and a win. It's frustrating because, if you drop one out of six races, you really haven't got a chance."

Frost is now third in the F1 standings, eight points behind Cole and 11 behind Charlett with just the two Boxing Day races to go.

Other class leaders after Manfeild are Auckland’s Toby Summers (Yamaha R6, 600cc F2 class); New Plymouth’s Hayden Fitzgerald (Suzuki SV650, F3 Superlite); Australia’s Craig Trinder (Aprilia RSV4, Bears, non-Japanese bikes); Wanganui’s Richard Dibben (Honda CRF450, Super Moto); Whangarei’s Duncan Coutts (Suzuki GSX-R1100, pre-89 Post Classics); Auckland’s Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawe (Windle, Sidecars).

Words and photo courtesy of Andy McGechan @

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