Suzukis Win:

Posted: Wed 07 Apr 2004



DESPITE stiffer competition than ever before, Suzuki’s storming GSX-R1000 is still proving the motorcycle to beat in Superbike racing around the world.

In New Zealand, Andrew Stroud has just wrapped up his third consecutive Production Superbike Championship.
On a GSX-R1000 prepared by fellow Suzuki racer Ray Clee, Stroud scored 12 races wins and three second places in the six round, 15 race series that concluded at Manfeild on March 28.

In a highly successful month of March, Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 also won the most important race in North America – the famous Daytona 200. Doing the honours for Suzuki at Daytona was hard riding Australian Mat Mladin, who held off hard-charging Honda CBR1000 riders Jake Zemke and Miguel DuHamel.

Underlining the big Suzuki’s continued competitiveness, GSX-R1000s filled no less than 11 of the first 15 positions.

It was a similar story in the New Zealand Championship, with Andrew Stroud doing the lion’s share of the winning, ahead of a snarling pack that consisted mostly of Suzuki GSX-R1000s.
On the three occasions Stroud was beaten – it was by rivals on Suzuki GSX-R1000s.

Stroud opened the New Zealand season with a win in the first race at Pukekohe in early December before team-mate Ray Clee came storming back to take the second race – and set a new course lap record of 57.8 seconds.
After beating Stroud comprehensively in the New Zealand TT at Pukekohe, Clee was behind the eight-ball at Timaru’s round two, missing the practice sessions at Levels Raceway after suffering a rare mechanical problem.

Despite using his less powerful back-up engine, Clee managed to snatch pole position in the final qualifying session at Timaru, and was the only rider to get under the 1m 7s lap time barrier, scorching off a sizzling 1m 06.658s lap.
But Stroud again started with a first race win, backed up with another win in race two, then had to chase Clee hard to squeeze a very narrow win in race three. Along the way, Clee again set fastest lap time, with a sizzling 1m 06.10s lap record.
“Ray was out front and I had to hunt him down. He did three laps under the lap record so I had to have a think about that, and get going. I finally caught him on the final lap, slip-streamed him down the straight, pulled out of the draught and motored into the lead. Ray prepares the bikes but I had a bit more power than him. I think Ray works harder on my engines than on his own!” Stroud joked.

The only major difference between the top two Suzuki’s was that Clee preferred Dunlops while Stroud opted for Pirelli tyres.

On to Ruapuna for round three, Clee again provided Stroud’s competition, with Stroud setting a lap record 1m 32.184s in his pursuit of the Aucklander. In the end though, it was Stroud who emerged victorious, with another three wins.

At Teretonga, Stroud again rattled off three wins from Clee.

Then, after a five-week break, the series went to Taupo’s tight Centennial Park circuit. There Wanganui’s Brian Bernard scored the opening win from Stroud, but in race two, the defending champ was back in front at the chequered flag.

Which left the final at Manfeild last weekend. There Clee, reveling in a fresh set of Dunlop tyres, shot into the lead in the first race and held on to win by an impressive 6.9 seconds – setting as new course lap record of 1m 07.65s to boot. But Stroud came back to squeeze the final win of the series, with Clee just six hundredths of a second behind.

In the title chase, it was Stroud with 360 points from a possible total of 375 who took his third consecutive title, from Clee (276), Brian Bernard (232) and Dennis Charlett (167).

Not only did these GSX-R1000 riders take a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the N.Z. Championship, fuel-injected DOHC 16-valve 988cc Suzukis took six of the top 10 placings.

Proving the big Suzuki’s worth, while the Kiwis were wrapping up their championship, at Silverstone the same day, Rizla Suzuki rider John Reynolds took a 3-1 score to take an immediate lead in the British Superbike Championship.

Suzuki claims to “own the racetrack” with its GSX-R1000 – and from these results, it is hard to argue



1. Andrew Stroud (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 360 points
2. Ray Clee (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 276
3. Brian Bernard (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 232
4. Dennis Charlett (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 167
5. Jon Lowther (Yamaha YZF-R1) 146
6. Brendon Marshall (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 133
7. Jason McEwen (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 127
8. Chris Haldane (Ducati 999R) 96
9. Mike Smith (Yamaha YZF-R1) 81
10. John Hepburn (Aprilia RSV1000) 73


1= John Reynolds (Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000) 41,
1= Michael Rutter (Honda SP-2) 41,
3. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda SP-2) 40,
4. Sean Emmett (Ducati) 24,
5. Scott Smart (Kawasaki ZX-10) 21,
6. Dean Thomas (Ducati) 19,
7. Stuart Easton (Ducati) 14,
8. Yukio Kagayama (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 14,
9. Craif Coxhell (Honda SP-2) 12,
10. Tommy Hill (Yamaha ) 11.



1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
2. Jake Zemke (Honda CBR1000)
3. Miguel Duhamel (Honda CBR1000)
4. Jack Pfeifer (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
5. Lee Acree (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
6. Ricky Orlando (Suzuki GSX-R1000
7. Pascal Picotte (Yamaha)
8. Opie Caylor (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
9. Scott Jensen (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
10. Eric Wood (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
11. Marco Martinez (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
12. C.R.Gittere (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
13. Cory Denton (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
14. Frank Trombino (Yamaha YZF-R1)
15. John Haner (Suzuki GSX-R1000).