Kiwi road racer Andrew Stroud won his third successive Suzuki International Tri-Series in style at Wanganui in New Zealand yesterday.
To win the title Stroud only needed to finish ahead of Robbie Bugden. Instead, the 42-year-old father of eight went straight to the front in the opening F1 Superbike race to make a statement of intention. Within a few laps, however, Kawasaki-mounted Nick Cole stormed into the lead, which he held for several laps until Stroud made his winning move and went on to take the checkered flag.
Former three-time NZ Superbike Champion Bugden discovered racing on Wanganui's famous Cemetery Circuit is quite difficult. The Australian had a slow start, but worked his way up to sixth by race end, leaving Stroud with a more comfortable 14-point buffer before the final race.
The second re-start of the final leg proved disastrous for Bugden, who was taken out by another rider at turn one. The veteran racer suffered a broken right leg (tibia and fibula), which saw an end to his title aspirations. The race win went to Dan Stauffer, in his street-circuit debut, but Stroud's second place secured his third successive Suzuki Tri-Series title for Suzuki."It's good to be winning and the whole family appreciates it as well, cheering me on - they're my biggest fans," Stroud said. "In the first race Nick [Cole] had the pressure on the whole time, and the in the second race Dan Stauffer got in front of me early on and pulled a gap straight away. I was pushing reasonably had trying to catch him, but it wasn't happening, so that was it."
The Robert Holden Memorial feature race was an epic thriller between Stroud and Stauffer, with the Australian re-taking the lead on the last corner to become the first ever Australian to win the prestigious Robert Holden Memorial trophy.