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> T E A M





NZSBK 2011 round 3 Newsletter: Ruapuna, Christchurch, 12th and 13th February

> C O N T E N T S



Team Manager Maaty vanBooma’s update from round 3 at Ruapuna


HOTSHOT Josh McGrath, knee down and “gaahn frit” (as they say in the West Island)

SAM BAKER Rubbing’s racing, and Sam wasn’t afraid to get in amongst it at round 3

MAKING TRACKS The Team vb Racing calendar has more dates this summer than Paris Hilton!







TRACK PREVIEW: RUAPUNA Which way does the track go, and what’s the lap record…?

KEN JONES Sage advice helps Ken as he set new personal bests on the Greg Percival YZF 450

JOSH McGRATH Another round win for this rising star!

HOTSHOT Sam and Josh leave the grid as the New Zealand 125 Grand Prix restarts under heavy skies

> C A P T A I N ’ S


Team Manager Maarty vanBooma’s update from round 3 at Ruapuna.

Motorsport is a sometimes cruel mistress;

and was showing much better consistency,

Looking ahead, Hampton Downs is only

preplanning, double checking and re-

and Kenneth had both a new personal

six weeks away. We’re hopeful of securing

checking can all seem to be for nothing

best on the 450 and achieved his best

Josh’s services for the final two rounds, he

when the best laid plans come unstuck,

placing so far. Stu and I had the bikes

was originally slated to only do the first

but the measure of a good team is how

running fast and strong and the results

three rounds due to racing commitments

they collectively deal with the adversities

reflected that effort. It was a great

in Spain, but it is now a possibility that He

presented to them. For Team vB Racing,

weekend for the team, a whole team

may return to finish out the season.

the Thursday before round three of the

effort and a whole team result, it made

NZSBK series was our nightmare event; if

me extremely proud of each and every

Sam and Ken will definitely be back with

it could turn to custard it did. For me it

member there over those 3 days.

both working hard on their fitness and

was even worse, I was back in Napier on

conditioning over the break.

business and oblivious to events

While motorsport may burden one with


the lowest of lows, it will also give one the

We are in negotiation with another

highest of highs, the highs will outweigh

Australian rider should Josh not be

Arriving at the track on Friday morning I

the lows but it is the test of ones mettle

available, and are also looking at the

convened a team meeting for everyone

how we respond to these pressures. My

possibility of running a 3rd GP125

and suggested we put the previous day’s

30 years involvement with motorcycling

machine at the final two rounds. So while

dramas behind us and look forward to the

has shown me full the kaleidoscope of

it may be break time, it is certainly still

challenge of the weekend. A good team

emotion, energy, effort and attitude, this

very busy and not without its challenges

will overcome any problems and that is

past meeting has shown me that my team

but I’m comforted with the knowledge

exactly what the team did!

has every tool they need to achieve great

that, as a team, we can overcome any

success, and I can happily say that, after

adversity that may come our way!

By Sunday night we had achieved a great

Thursday, we can overcome anything and

deal. Young Josh had secured his second

It makes me very excited for the rest of

round win of the series so far, Sam had

the season to come!

gone faster than he ever had at Ruapuna

Talk to you all soon, Maarty

> H O T S H O T Team vB Racing 2011: Maarty vanBooma, Josh McGrath, Stu Holdaway, Sam Baker, Andrew Forward, and Ken Jones

> T R A C K

P R E V I E W : R U A P U N A

Which way does the track go, and what’s the lap record…?

Ten minutes west of Christchurch, Powerbuilt International Raceway at Ruapuna Park (to use the full name) is one of the more complex tracks the Championship visits, also making it one of the most satisfying to win at. Ken takes us for a lap on his Greg Percival built YZF 450 R. “As I go past the start finish line I see the 100m board approaching fast, so I sit to the outside of the track and straight line the first part of turn one. I brake, and change down three gears while shifting to the outside of the track for turn two.

turned it’s hard on the gas and down towards the hairpin. Approaching the hairpin, I’ll sit to the right of the track, watching for the 100m board, brake and change down three gears. Once at the hairpin I follow the inner edge of

the apex, I get hard on the gas and try and move as far back to the right as I can for the approach to the left hander at turn eleven. I turn late and wind the gas on hard so I drift wide for the entry to turn 12. This

the corner around until I can see a straight line out to the ripple strip. I gas it up as I exit and weight the outside peg to improve my drive.

leads to the right hander known as the Dipper (turn 13), where I hit a late apex and move back to the right hand side of the track for the fast left ahead.

From the hairpin I go through a slight right-left hand kink flat out in third, and then onto the right hander at turn seven. Then it’s a flick left through turn eight, and on through turn nine (Carousel).

I sit a bit out from the apex so as to miss a nasty seal change that upsets the bike, and then brake while moving to the left and change down two gears.

As I hit the apex of turn two (Flexoplas), I start to gas it up and make my way to the kink, changing back one gear and keeping to the righthand side of the track until I can see the apex of the right hander at

At the beginning of the short straight I start to stand the bike up and wind on the gas on hard. At the 100m board I change down two gears, sit to outside of track

On the entrance to the final sweeper there is a bump on the outside of the circuit which is my marker to start turning in. I aim to hit the apex slightly late and start to roll on the gas and make my way down

turn three (Pothole). Once I have the bike

and bank it over into turn ten. Just before

the straight for another lap.”










125 km/h

230 km/h

190 km/h







75 km/h

50 km/h

55 km/h

85 km/h

> H O T S H O T Josh McGrath, knee down and “gaahn-frit” (as they say in the West Island)

> K E N N E T H


Sage advice helps Ken as he set new personal bests on the Greg Percival YZF 450

We rolled out to the track at a leisurely

clutch in the bike as Stu was snowed

the track opened we were ready to go for

10am on a sunny Thursday morning and

under with other work.

a good sunny days testing.

offer. Ruapuna is a fairly complex track to

Friday was upon us before long, and

9 o’clock arrived and it was time for me to

learn so we were all looking forward to

unlike Thursday it was to be an early

go out and start setting some times. In

were all keen to see what the day had to

plenty of laps.

the first session I managed to set a base lap time of

With the sun shining and all

1.48.5. In session two,

the bikes unloaded I

again, I was to go out and

managed to get out for my

do what I know how to do,

first session of the day

and that is to improve.

around 12.30. I went out with one intention, that was

During this session I

to start getting familiar with

managed to get my times

taking lines to suit a big

down to 1.45.5. I noticed

bike rather than the lines of

that Terry Fitzgerald (one of

a 125, and I can definately

the top riders from the

say that unlike the previous

Superlite class) had been

two tracks, the lines here are quite a bit different.

Knee slider glued to the inside kerb, Ken expertly pilots the YZF 450 around Ruapuna’s sweeper

following me for the whole session. Back in the pits I spoke to him about my

Unfortunately I found that the clutch in

morning start. Sam, Andrew and I all

riding and see what suggestions he could

my bike had started to slip so I decided to

arrived at the track around 7am and


call it a day from riding and change the

started unloading everything so that when

With a new list of things to work on, I was

go out. Nevertheless, it was forward

out. I didn’t manage to set any blistering

more than happy when the third session

march on the first lap until about half way

laps due to the temperature change, and

of the day came around and could put few

around when I had a rather big moment

wasn’t able to get the suspension quite

of Terry’s suggestions into action. Sure

and realised that I had forgotten to check

right so struggled a little for feel. I

enough, by the end of the session I was

the pressures after putting new tyres on

managed to hold on to twelfth overall

having a ball and I managed to get my lap

(ooops!) The next lap was a feeler to see

(about eighth in the Superlite class).

times down to mid-1.43’s. I decided to call

how bad the pressures were, but I pushed

it a day so as I wouldn’t wear myself out

on and equalled my personal best time.

for the next two days ahead.

Race two was up and we had made a couple of changes to the suspension which allowed me to

A sunny day greeted us on Saturday and I was feeling confident on improving.

improve on my times from

“I had huge fun and managed to beat the gremlins this

the morning and managed

year, finally keeping it sunny side up at the national

to finish in eleventh overall.

Before long it was time for qualifying. I was determined

round at Christchurch.. yay!!”

Overall the weekend was a

to make improvements and

huge success as it is all

within a few laps I had set a

When I came in I thought for a laugh I

new personal best of 1.42.3, leaving me in

would check how bad the pressures were

experience comes speed. I had huge fun

11th on the grid.

and I had 40psi rear and 38psi front

and managed to beat the gremlins this

(normally 26 psi front and 27 psi rear!).

year, finally keeping it sunny side up at

Before I knew it I was lined up on the grid

the national round at Christchurch.. yay!!

and ready to go. The lights were on, still

Sunday arrived and I was as keen as ever.

on, still on, still on (12 seconds!) and I

The first race was up and this time the

was wondering if they were ever going to

lights only took a quarter of the time to go



experience, and with


> S A M


Rubbing’s racing, and Sam wasn’t afraid to get in amongst it at round 3

The Ruapuna circuit in Christchurch is one

After bashing round on the little 150’s, it

found something that would work for us

of the most challenging tracks I have

was time to take to the track on the 125’s.

come Saturday morning.

raced on. There are both the tight and

Both Josh and I had good early speed in

technical sections testing the rider and

some sections, but struggling with both

Qualifying on Saturday was cooler than

bike in first and second gear, and also

lines and gearing in others. Both being

Friday and my bike was running spot on.

faster sections testing bravery and who will hold

After a quick morning warm

the throttle on the longest.

up we went into our

With 15 turns, there is alot

qualifying session. I like to

to learn.

do my qualifying in two bites where I go out, do a

We turned up at the track

quick five laps, come in and

on Thursday to get an extra

talk about the laps then go

day of testing before the

again and aim to go faster.

third round of the New

In the short 15 minute

Zealand Nationals.

sessions this can be hard and I didn’t use my time

Things started out with

the best, only managing

some easy laps on the 150cc four strokes, with Josh, Ken and I getting a

seventh fastest. This was Sam left Ruapuna fourth overall in the 125GP class; an excellent effort!

feel for the circuit. I had previously had a race meeting here at the end of last year and loved the tricky style of the track and liked the warmer temperatures than all our previous riding.

bigger, heavier riders than the average 125 pilot, what works for others doesn’t always work for us, but with some good setup tips from Maarty and Stu, we both

on the second row so good starts would be crucial.

My starts were the worst I have ever had. I was going from seventh place to last before the first turn in each of my three

races, and it left me playing catch up in

We headed out on slick tyres and those

team, and I want to see the little fella

every race.

morning rain clouds opened and the track

back for the North Island rounds after the

was like ice. I saw about four bikes go


Saturday afternoon’s race was a good one

down before the red flag came out and we

where I got back some positions early and

all pitted for wet tyres. But in the 15

Sunday night was a laugh seeing young

had a good battle with three other riders.

minute gap to fit tyres ,the rain stopped,

Kenneth Jones with a few strong

We were all putting on tough moves and

and we all restarted on slicks, still on a

lemonades in him. He goes all flustered

in the end I had gapped the group and

damp track.

and red in the face, and dances like a girl

ended up in fifth position.

but I said I wouldn’t tell anyone so I won’t. It was a funny way to

After the race we all had a

top off a good weekend.

laugh as some of the passes

“ After the race we all had a laugh as some of the

were so close, but that is the style of racing that is the

passes were so close, but that is the style of racing

most fun, and the crowd

that is the most fun, and the crowd loved it.”

loved it.

After the Ruapuna round I now sit fourth in the Championship and am keener than ever to get back on the bike. I will be heading

Sunday morning was looking like it could rain, but by the first race the track was dry enough for slicks. This race was a good result for me as I did my fastest lap of the weekend and ended up fourth. This made me super keen to get out in race three, the 15 lap New Zealand Grand Prix, and I wanted to go faster again and try to land one on the podium.



The race was shortened, and after seeing other riders go down on the slippery surface I nursed the bike home to finish sixth, happy to bring it back in one piece. Josh went on to get third in that race which gave him the round win. That is another awesome result for him and the

home to race the first round of the Australian Superbike Championship at Symmons Plains in Tasmania, and probably get out for a spin on the dirt bike too. Big thanks to Maarty, Stu, and Andrew for the massive efforts over the first three rounds. Sam

> J O S H

M c G R A T H

Another round win for this rising star!

On Monday after Teretonga we rushed to

Friday morning I was ready to get out and

2 seconds straight away. 1.42.1 was my

Timaru to get to Ruapuna early on the

get some solid laps in. it was a cooler day

time for that session and I was over the

Tuesday. When we got there Stu, Sam and

and the temp was running perfect. I got

moon with it. I had a good hard think

I found out the track had been hired out

down to a 1.44.2 which I was happy with

about qualifying and how important it is to

so Stu, Sam and I went and

get on the front row. When I went out for

worked on the bikes. On

qualifying I pushed and

Thursday we finally got to

pushed and I saw the white

ride on the track and I was

flag come out for last lap

out on the 150. I did three

and I went for it, I pushed

sessions on that and I

as hard as I could and I did

thought it was time to get

a 1.41.3 which put me in

out on the 125.

third position for the weekend’s racing.

Since it was so hot, the bike was running hot and I

I got a good start in race

didn’t really get a lap in.

one and was on the back of

That was it for Thursday,

Avalon and got into the 1.

very frustrating as the others had had laps here and I really wanted some extra track time!

Don’t call it a comeback: Josh fends off Dominic Jones, who made a surprise appearance in the 125GP class.

for a first time at Ruapuna which is a fairly technical track. During Saturday warm-up I tagged on to a faster rider and dropped

40’s, but didn’t drink any water and couldn’t concentrate properly, so I

was lapping 1.5 seconds slower than what I should have been, and the rider in fourth

was catching up quite quickly. He passed

the three lap scrub-in session to figure out

was stoked and the media were coming

me on the last lap and so I had to pass

some faster lines and get the jetting right.

from everywhere to talk to me!

For the race I was completely focused on

As we lined up on the grid for the Grand

Going into the hairpin I knew I had to

the start. The lights went out and I was

Prix, it started to rain. They stopped the

outbrake Dominic Jones which was going

into second place through the first corner.

race so we could put wets on but by then

to be extremely difficult because he is

Avalon Biddle was in front and the chase

the track dried up enough to stay on

probably the latest braker out there.

began. She had a two second gap, and I

slicks. I got a good start and got into third

him back as soon as I could.

but I stayed there because I didn’t back off until he

the bike got hot and when I

backed off and it was late. I

“We had an epic battle the whole race but I put a

went to pull the tape off the

went up the inside and ran

gap on him in the last lap and took the win.

radiator the tag on the tape

wide which also made him

I was stoked and the media were coming

snapped. I couldn’t get it off

run wide too but I got the

from everywhere to talk to me!”

so we were down on power

drive out and took third. I

but I got third position in the

was happy with the result

would catch her through the corners but

but also learnt that I need to keep up my

then she would get away down the

water intake!

straights. On the second lap she crashed

Grand Prix and a round win (second in a row) and I’m really happy.

out and I was leading the race with

Big thanks to Stu and Maarty for helping

On Sunday morning I drank as much

Dominic Jones hot on my tail. We had an

me out and getting me a few wins, and I

water as possible before I got out. I used

epic battle the whole race but I put a gap

hope to be back for the N.I. rounds.

on him in the last lap and took the win. I Josh



> M A K I N G


The Team vB Racing calendar has more dates this summer than Paris Hilton! Catch us in action soon!







5-6 February

29-30 January

12-13 February




Hampton Downs

2-3 April

26-27 March

> H O T S H O T Sam and Josh leave the grid as the New Zealand 125 Grand Prix restarts under heavy skies






P R O D U C E D B Y C H A M P I O N S H I P D I G I T A L . C O M © 2 0 1 1 A L L R I G H T S R E S E R V E D

Team vB Racing NZ Newsletter 2011 - issue 3  

Welcome to the third newsletter for the 2011 New Zealand Superbike Championship season. This issue tells you all that happened for us at rou...

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