Team Suzuki Press Office – January 14.

Repsol Suzuki’s John Ross raced into the lead in the New Zealand Supersport Championship at Sunday’s second round at Levels circuit in Timaru.

The 31-year-old Christchurch landscaper took his GSX-R600 to seventh in a wet first race and was then fifth in a tight freight-train of bikes at the chequered flag in the second 15-lap outing.

Said Ross: “We are off to round three at Teretonga next weekend and that’s my favourite track. I’ll just have to see if I can win a couple of races down there.”

The premier Superbike class was similarly exciting with Suzuki men Robbie Bugden and Craig Shirriffs sharing the race glory.

Australia’s defending Superbike Champion Bugden won the first race and had looked to be on track to make it another set of back-to-back wins - just as he had at round one at Ruapuna Raceway a week earlier - but Shirriffs had other ideas and pounced to snatch the win away within sight of the flag.

Said Shirriffs: “I didn’t think I could win that but saw my chance and was able to execute the plan I’d formed in race one. It is so very important to get points like these at this early stage of the season. Robbie Bugden is a true professional and it is so good for us Kiwis to be able to race against him.”

Triple R GSX-R1000 rider Budgen continues to lead the championship standings, still 10 points clear of Shirriffs (Suzuki NZ GSX-R1000), with a third Suzuki star, Dennis Charlett (Underground Brown GSX-R1000) finishing third and fourth at Levels and remaining third in the series standings.

After Teretonga next weekend, the series takes a short break before resuming at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on March 16-17th and finally wraps-up at Taupo Motorsport Park on March 23-24th.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan @

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