The opening round of the 2021 New Zealand Superbike Championship took place on the 9/10 January, around the 3.44 km Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch.
With a record number of women racing in the Championship this year, all five ASP / Women in Motorsport NZ sponsored riders put in strong performances. Highlights included Georgia Elvin and Olivia Goddard achieving their first podiums in a National road racing event, and Billee Fuller winning two of her three races having never ridden the track before.
Riding at her home track in her first ever National road racing event, Georgia Elvin managed to qualify in third position in the Supersport 150 class.
The first race of the weekend saw Georgia get a good start, as she entered turn one in second position. Half-way around the opening lap, she had been passed by Samuel Guthrie and was now in third, which she held to the finish to take her first podium on NZSBK debut.
Race 2 started in dramatic fashion for Georgia, as she accidentally pulled a huge wheelie off the line and lost several places on the run to turn one. Throughout the race, Elvin was involved in a battle with Olivia Goddard for third position. After six laps Elvin would finish in fourth just 0.141-seconds behind Goddard in third.
Race three saw Elvin get her best start of the day. Throughout the race she was again dueling with Olivia for third, with the pair swapped positions multiple times throughout the race. Georgia eventually pressured Goddard into a mistake on the last corner of the last lap to again claim another podium spot.
After round one of the Supersport 150 series, Georgia is 3rd in the championship on 45pts, 15pts behind Samuel Guthrie in second.
Olivia Goddard's weekend was filled with ups and downs. The weekend allowed Olivia to improve her track knowledge and her race pace and improved constantly throughout the weekend.
During qualifying, Olivia set a lap time of 2:09.018 seconds which put her fifth on the grid. The time equalled her quickest personal best time from 2020. Olivia got a good start in race one, but unfortunately she lost contact with the lead group and finished race one in fifth.
On Sunday morning's warm-up, Olivia set her fastest lap of the weekend so far. This gave her a nice confidence boost going into the two remaining Supersport 150 races.
The second race of the weekend saw Olivia again get a great start. Half-way around the opening lap, she had passed Georgia Elvin for third position, which she held until the finish to claim her first-ever national podium.
"It means a lot to me. Dad's been encouraging me all season and all my career."
The final race of the weekend saw Olivia get a massive wheelie off the line. Luckily she managed to regather herself and entered turn one in third position. Throughout most of the race, Olivia was again involved in a battle for third with Georgia Elvin. Olivia led this battle for much of the race but Georgia managed to get by on the last lap relegating Olivia to fourth place.
After round one, Olivia is fourth place in the Supersport 150 championship on 40pts, 5pts behind Georgia Elvin in third.
Round one of the New Zealand Superbike Championship was Billee Fuller's first time racing at Mike Pero Motorsport Park. Qualifying got off to a rocky start, with Billee crashing on her first lap, meaning she would have to start from last on the grid.
The first race of the weekend saw Billee get off to a great start. Throughout the race she was involved in constant battles with Oliver Wright and Hamish Boyd. Billee finished the opening Gixxer 150 Cup race in a strong second position.
Race two saw Billee lead the Gixxer 150 Cup race until halfway around the second lap when she was passed by Hamish Boyd. Billee remained in second until the final corner when Boyd ran wide, this allowed Billee to re-pass and take her first win.
Billee had gained valuable track knowledge from the previous races which she applied to lead race three of the Gixxer 150 Cup. Billee won in convincing fashion, leading the race from start to finish.
"I couldn’t have been happier with how I rode. I did struggle in the first couple races, not knowing if I could push myself a lot more than I did."
commented Billee .
After round one of the Gixxer 150 Cup series Billee is in 1st position on 70pts, 5pts ahead of Hamish Boyd in second.
Round one of the New Zealand Superbike Championship was - in her own words - an emotional rollercoaster for Madi Berry. It was the first time Madi had raced in the competitive National Supersport 300 class, having moved up from the Gixxer 150 Cup class she competed in last season.
Saturday qualifying saw Madi get more familiar with her Kawasaki Ninja 300, as she improved her lap times on each circulation. Madi qualified in 20th position for the opening round.
Madi got a good start in race one, and she had passed several riders by the end of the opening lap. Madi had close battles throughout the race with her fellow competitors, and she finished her first race of the year in 16th position.
In race two, Madi again got a good start and passed seven riders by the end of lap one. By mid-race, Madi had progressed through the field to 14th. She found herself in a four-way battle for 13th position, which she took by the chequered flag.
Madi held on to her starting position of 20th by the end of the opening lap in race three. By the end of the race, Berry had progressed and fought her way up to 16th.
By the end of the race weekend, Berry had improved her lap times by an impressive 2.621 seconds. After round one of the series Berry is in 17th position in the Supersport 300 championship.
Eve Scrivener enjoyed a good opening weekend at the Mike Pero Motorsport Park. Having crashed in the opening race of the Gixxer 150 Cup last year spraining her AC joint, this year she put in a solid performance to finish every race and gain more track knowledge with every lap. Throughout the weekend Eve improved her lap times, and by the end of the race weekend, she had improved by a massive 4.552 seconds.
Round Two of the New Zealand Superbike Championship heads to Levels International Raceway, Timaru this weekend (16th and 17th January).
Words: Michael Wincott & Aaron Staples