Winning Double Whammy from Honda Family

Winning Double Whammy from Honda Family

Whakatane's Tony Rees (Honda CBR1000RR), with the early advantage on the race track this season. Photo by Andy McGechan,

DECEMBER 4, 2016: Like father, like son ... 49-year-old Tony Rees and his 21-year-old son Damon gave Honda a winning double whammy as this season's pre-nationals Suzuki Series kicked into life at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park at the weekend.

From relatively humble beginnings back in December 2008, the three-round series has grown in significance to such an extent over the past eight years that it now threatens to rival even the New Zealand Superbike Championships in terms of popularity and so it was a huge reason to celebrate when the two Whakatane men took their distinctive blood-red Honda bikes to the top the podium in both the premier classes at round one on Sunday.

Tony Rees raced his Honda CBR1000RR to 2-1 results in his two outings to top the standings in the Formula One/Superbike class, just edging out Wellington's defending series champion Sloan Frost by a solitary point, while Damon Rees qualified his Honda CBR600RR fastest in the Formula Two/600cc Supersport class and then led both races from start to finish as he dominated the day and finished seven points clear of his nearest rival, Wainuiomata's Shane Richardson.

Tony Rees had led the first race from the start, but, when his rear tyre "stepped out" and he lost traction just a few corners from the end, Frost was able to pounce and take the win, crossing the line less than a bike-length ahead of a clearly frustrated Rees.

"It was very slippery out there," Rees explained. "The heat off the track was burning up the rubber and it was a bit dodgy trying to keep 180 horsepower under control. There wasn't a lot of grip and I was riding on the edge."

Rees put a fresher tyre on for race two and that made a huge difference, with Rees winning by a comfortable 5.8 seconds from the eventual runner-up rider, Liechtenstein's Horst Saiger, who had attacked late in the race to overtake Frost and relegate him from second to third.

"I'm ahead of where I was at the same stage last season, so I'm feeling pretty confident and definitely looking forward to round two next weekend," said Rees.

For Damon Rees, the day was particularly significant.

Not only did he celebrate the first 600cc class win of his career when he beat Richardson to the flag in race one, but he did it again just a couple of hours later, completely dominating the class.

"I came close to winning a race last season, but never quite managed it. Now I've got two wins under my belt and it feels great.

"I guess it's all about me having one more year of experience, plus the bike is more powerful and handles better than last year's."

Damon Rees topped the qualification chart with a time of one minute 29.8 seconds, which would have been good enough to see him qualify seventh against the 1000cc superbikes.

The series now takes riders to Manfeild for round two next Sunday, December 11, before its traditional Boxing Day finale on the public streets of Whanganui.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,