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Honda XR650 mounted Craig Flood won both the Supermotard races at the Cemetery circuit meeting

News (thanks to Kiwi Rider)

Words Todd Sutherland

Forget what they showed you on TV. The real action at the Boxing Day Cemetery Circuit meeting was the Supermotard races.

Despite the dark ominous rain clouds rolling in from the west, the Supermotard race (first of the day) remained dry throughout. Never the less, right from the off the crowd were treated to the sideways antics of Briggs, Stephenson and the like, and as few spectators had ventured out to the qualifying sessions held the previous day (Christmas day would you believe?) they were gob smacked when Briggs treated them to a demonstration of the techniques effectiveness when he swept up Craig Flood (Energy Honda, XR650) and (leader) Craig Scott (Dave Leary Racing, KX500) to take the lead on the start of the fourth lap.

The contrast in styles made for great viewing. Flood later commented he was having problems of his own “I had to concentrate on looking into the turns… I kept finding myself busy watching him instead of going for the pass”. With Flood pushing hard Briggs did get things a little ‘too’ sideways on the last lap of that first race and the former ‘Battle of the Streets Champion’ (250 production) capitalized, slipping under Briggs and maintaining the lead to the finish. The assembled masses loved it, shouting support each time the leaders past by.

The second Supermotard race later in the day saw New Plymouth Honda dealer, Flood again take race honours, this time in emphatic fashion. Further down the field the start was marred by a collision but in motard tradition the riders, unfazed, remounted and continued. No longer spectateing, Flood diced with Briggs before setting the fastest supermotard lap of the day (54.703) and eased out a commanding lead. The big 500cc two stroke Kawasaki of Craig Scott again proved capable of great things early on before succumbing to first Briggs, then finally getting piped at the line by Nigel Healey on another KTM. Farther back down the field Brendon Stephenson and Phillip Gray, re-starters after the start straight fracas, were hamming it up for the crowd with big slides and wheelies.  

No less than 15 Supermotarders swelled the smallish Formula 3 ranks. Surprise pole sitter (to the F3 regulars at least) was Craig Flood on the Energy Honda XR650. Joining him on the front row were fellow (partners in crime) motarders Scott and Briggs. In the wet conditions of the first F3 race the motards were dominant with 8 of the top 10 positions taken, including the first 3 positions. Craig Scott was simply flying in the wet conditions and it was only desperate work from Briggs that kept him from taking line honours.

The afternoon’s dry F3 race saw the motard front rowers knocked back to 3rd 4th and 5th place finishers behind the F3 special builds (and not to mention riding talents) of Terry Fitzgerald (SV650) and Steven Bridge (VeeArma F7). The F3 point’s table at the end of the day had Briggs leading the table from Fitzgerald and 3rd place shared by Craigs’, Scott and Flood.

 Cemetery Circuit 26 December 2002 Supermotards.

Points overall

 Name     Machine                                Sponsor                Total      

1    Craig Flood      XR650 Honda      Energy Honda                 40      20   20              

2    Stephen Briggs      660 SM KTM      KTM NZ                        34      17   17              

3    Craig Scott      KX500 Kawasaki      Dave Leary                     28      15   13              

4    Nigel Healey      KTM520 SX      Central Motorcycles      25   10      15  

5    John Fallwell      Honda XR650'02      Cycletreads Ak               19      8     11              

6    Brent Symes      CRF450 Honda      Dave Whitaker Honda   18      9     9                

7    Craig Sullivan      WR426F Yamaha      Sawyer Motorcycles      16   6      10  

8    Phillip Gray      KTM SM      Crash Test Engineering      13   13      0    

9    Peter Hewer      XR650      Energy Honda                 12      4     8                

10  Brent Neilson      KTM 380      Twin City Motorcycles      12   7      5