CAPTION: The superbike class TT race podium at the weekend's Star Insure MotoFest event at Hampton Downs featured (from left) Christchurch's Alastair Hoogenboezem, Whakatane's Mitch Rees and Glen Eden's Daniel Mettam. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com
The Star Insure MotoFest at Hampton Downs at the weekend delivered thrills, spills and title-winning performances of a calibre that could only be described as world-class.
The fourth edition of the popular motorcycling festival on Saturday and Sunday drew a large crowd and all who attended were etched with massive smiles on their faces.
The Star Insure MotoFest motorcycling festival was again an immense extravaganza of everything related to bikes of all eras, all styles and all brands and this time around it incorporated the fifth round of six in this season's New Zealand Superbike Championships.
This huge annual affair at Hampton Downs, just south of Meremere, promised and delivered excellence on all fronts, with well-respected identities from all segments of the motorcycle sporting community, coming together for a spectacular two days of action.
In addition to the eye candy of top-line machinery on display or demonstrated on track, including two of the world-famous 1000cc Britten motorcycles, bike racing heroes of the past, present and future too rubbed shoulders with their many fans.
And while legends of the sport's past drew plenty of attention, including Kiwi former world championship title winners Graeme Crosby and Hugh Anderson, legendary New Zealand bike tuner and engineer Paul Treacy and current MotoGP commentator Simon Crafar were also on hand to answer questions from enthusiasts.
Former Taihape man Crafar – a former 500cc Grand Prix-winning rider – was centre of attention with his insights on the MotoGP scene today.
It was a much younger Crafar who raced to 500cc Grand Prix victory at Donington Park in 1998, managed third at Assen, in Holland, and second at Phillip Island, in Australia.
Crafar finished seventh in the 1998 world championships, behind motorcycling legends Mick Doohan, Max Biaggi, Alex Criville, Carlos Checa, Alex Barros and Norick Abe.
As well as chatting with some of the sport's icons, men such as nine-time former national superbike champion Andrew Stroud, Robbie Dean, Vince Sharpe, Rodney O'Connor, Chris Haldane, Dallas Rankin, Paul 'Superman' Pavletich and Dennis Charlett, spectators were spoiled for choice with national championship races running throughout the weekend.
This action at Hampton Downs saw the nation's current elite pitted against one another on one of the most spectacular circuits in the Southern Hemisphere.
The high-intensity motorcycle racing at Hampton Downs was certainly drama-filled, so thrilling in fact that even the great Alfred Hitchcock would probably have blushed … it could not have been scripted any better.
Hampton Downs' business development manager Richard Scoular agreed the circuit was buzzing at the weekend.
"It was an absolutely amazing result here today too with the superbike title being sewn up by Whakatane's Mitch Rees and I offer huge compliments too to the Hampton Downs team for an incredible delivery of a great event.
"After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, it was great to see top-level motorcycle racing back here at Hampton Downs."
In addition to Star Insurance, MotoFest again had the support of Kawasaki, Bridgestone, Motul and Shoei.
Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com