Coming off a solid effort yesterday, the Rowe Racing team was hoping to continue the great results in both of the two classes contested today, plus the one-off Trans-Tasman Challenge race. With packed grids and busy corners, Royce showed maturity beyond his years to smartly avoid traffic and slink his way to the front of the pack. Not only did close racing ensue, but his times continued to drop throughout the day.
PIC: Not quite Phillip Island spec, but exciting all the same
Having both Royce and Howard aboard the same bike meant the machine was going to endure a lot of strain throughout the day. The team had rebuilt the clutch overnight and done everything possible to ensure it was as prepared for the demanding track. Sharing the bike resulted in some hectic work at the pit gate as Royce and Howard’s races were back to back, and saw the first rider come in from their race, leap off, the second rider jump on, while the team changed race numbers and transponders and topped up the tank as the next race went out. The team did a great job and it all went seamlessly.
PIC: The bike held together well – a testament to the team
Utilising his confidence from the race win yesterday, Royce steered the BJR Ducati 696 to two race wins in the Superstock Limited class. Pulling a solid gap from the get-go, Royce thrived around the tight and technical circuit pushing for more and more corner speed aboard his lightweight machine – a familiar feeling to the 125GP bike he began his career on as a teenager.
PIC: Eyes on the prize
In the F2 class, it was a similar scenario. Although having the second race red-flagged which subsequently ended the meeting, Royce managed to separate himself from the pack and take the first race win which was enough to take home the overall trophy.
PIC: Royce continued to drop his times throughout the weekend
There were entries from as far as the UK and USA but the main rivalry was between the Australians and New Zealanders. The feature race of the weekend was the Trans-Tasman Challenge involving ten Aussies versus ten Kiwis. The crowd were on their feet the moment the green light flashed and had everyone agreeing afterwards that it was the best race of the meeting. The field consisted completely of bikes between 1000 to 1200cc – except for Royce on the BJR Ducati 696. He started from second row of the grid and then spent the five laps dicing with the leader who was on a 1098 Ducati. The lead swapped several times with Royce passing the Kiwi through the twisty sections and the 1098 pulling away down the straights of the 3.5km circuit. The two bikes entered the final straight to the finish line side-by-side, but the 1098 had the legs to the line and Royce finished 2nd by less than a second. The Kiwis ended up winning the trophy with more points from the race than the Aussies.
PIC: Royce dicing for 1st in the Trans-Tasman Challenge
Obviously ecstatic about securing such solid results for his first time on the Island, Royce said, “After a good day yesterday I was keen to keep the lap times coming down. Turning heads with times that not even the locals could keep up with, the team and I were stoked with our results. Some prize money presented has recently resulted in beer money all round. The fush and chups over here have been bonza and all the Kiwis have been more then welcoming. I’m overly happy with the weekend’s results and I can’t wait until my next outing on the bike.”
We were lucky enough to have an expat Pom invite us to share his garage for the weekend. His name was Guy Lowe and he had raced at the TT on six occasions as a sidecar passenger. His pet parrot ‘Reg’ was a popular garage manager for the weekend.
PIC: Howie, Guy and Royce posing for a photo with team manager Reg… the parrot
We would like to thank Hamish Cooper for arranging our entry and helping in the pits, Glen Hand for snapping some great photos over the weekend, Eddy Garner for putting in an enormous effort in getting everything sorted in Australia and New Zealand, the NZ BEARS Club for putting on a spectacular meeting and the people of Christchurch for their warm and friendly welcome wherever we went. Christchurch is a beautiful city and well worth visiting. Now it’s time to celebrate in Middle Earth!