Our Students 2012

Hafiq Azmi

Hafiq (15) from Malaysia joined us again this summer to compete in NZSBK 125GP for the South Island rounds. This year we had a fantastically successful season with Hafiq winning 7 out of 9 races, and taking two seconds in the two not won. He had only two get offs this year, one small, one not so small, which is a really good result. To cap off the shortened season (due to having to return to Europe too close to the Nth Island rounds) Hafiq took the New Zealand Grand Prix title and came 3rd overall in the NZ 125GP championship.

 

Hafiq at Ruapuna NZSBK 2012

Hafiq Azmi

 

Tyler Lincoln

Tyler (14) from Havelock North is the Victoria Motorcycle Club 2011 Streetstock 150 champion. He is one of the rising stars of New Zealand motorcycle racing and rode with us on the Honda RS125 at the NZSBK North Island rounds. Tyler had only managed a couple of test rides on the 125 prior to these races, but he did exceptionally well with a best result of 5th and coming in 10th overall. This winter Tyler has his own RS125 bike but we will be helping coach him as much as we are able.

Tyler Lincoln at Hampton Downs NZSBK 2012

Tyler Lincoln

 

Aaron Hassan

Aaron (13) is embarking on his first season of 125GP racing with us this year after a highly successful NZSBK 2012 in the 250 Production class on his Kawasaki Ninja 250. During NZSBK he became the youngest rider to win and NZ championship race and finished a fantastic 4th place overall. He will be following in the footsteps of his older brother Jaden and we wish him all the best for 2012 and beyond.

 

Mihi Banks

Mihi (15)

Turiana Banks

 

David Neale

 

Rogan Chandler

 

Sarah Eliott

Thank you to all our supporters and suppliers

Once again as another successful year of racing and coaching comes to a close (with the new one just around the corner!!) I would like to thank all of the people and businesses that have helped us out this year 2012:

Mel Jackson: a good mate, a good mechanic and a pretty good rider motivator too!  Cheers mate. Same again next year??

Peter Clifford: thanks for the support from Europe, the chance to host Hafiq and be a small part of Rookies Cup. Same again next year??

Greg Percival: while not able to support us the same as in the past, Greg has always been there for advice and assistance.

Phil Snowdon: also a good mate, even though along with Mel he has moved to the dark south (Chistchurch). See you again next season.

Stuart (Pretzel): a talented automotive painter and now a good mate, Pretzel has been painting the bikes from day 1 and always does a fantastic, quick and cheap job. Unfortunately for us all Pretzel has developed MS and is no longer able to work as he once did. I wish him all the best and will catch up the next time we are at Manfeild.

W White Wholesale and Eurotred NZ: Ross and the crew have been supporters from day 1 of Moto Academy NZ and have never failed to come through with the right product at the right time and the right price. Also a huge thanks for selecting Tyler as the inaugural recipient of the Bridgestone NZ scholarship. We hope that we will do you proud and we will always be with Silkolene Oils, NGK Sparkplugs, Shoei Helmets, RK chains, and Bridgestone tyres.

Interislander: without Hanna and now Liz at Interislander we would probably have been unable to put together our programme. We are eternally grateful to your assistance and hope that it will continue.

Race Supplies: thanks go to Kevin for advice, information, great parts supply and good prices.

Dold Industries: again, another supplier that has been with us since day 1. Our bikes always stop the hardest with SBS brakes and our riders are protected with Forcefield back and chest protectors.

Crown Kiwi Enterprises: while not so active with us this season, Crown Kiwi was on board from day 1 and Tyler was wearing Alpinestars equipment supplied by Crown Kiwi.

Henshaw Signs: Thanks to Mark and his crew the bikes and the trailer were looking a million dollars.

Just Fairings: thanks to Glenn for supplying fantastic quality, light and strong fairings in great time for a fair price. Cheers.

Motomart: thanks to Pat and the crew for support and dyno time.

Blue Wing Honda New Zealand: thanks to Paul for the support and paddock clothing. Helped make us look at least semi professional.

Victoria Motorcycle Club: thanks again to the club for continuing to support Moto Academy NZ. I hope that we will get where we all think we should. Cheers.

Hafiq and Dato Azmi, Tyler and Jason Lincoln, Glen, James and Kyle and all the other 125GP racers this season. I really hope that we can build on our success and bring on a new cohort of young riders and take the NZ title next year.

 

Tyler Lincoln again performs well at NZSBK Round 5, Taupo Motorsport Park

The final round of NZSBK racing at Taupo circuit proved to be nothing if not exciting and controversial with the NZ 125GP championship being decided in two parts and only in the final laps. We launched into the weekend with an excellent days practice on the Friday 23 March under fine skies, but with poor weather being forecast for the weekend. So we decided to get as many laps as we could for Tyler on the 125GP bike, the 150Streetstock bike and his FXR150 'Bucket' F4 bike. Tyler lowered his laptimes with every session and we tuned in the bike with several gearing changes and jetting changes.

Saturday weather was still good, so we launched into practice and qualifying with both sessions counting towards the starting grid. Tyler by now was really getting to grips with the bike and the circuit and he put in a great effort and qualified in 5th position out of 11 riders. An excellent result which put him on the inside of row 2 which would allow him a clear run down the inside of the track into T1 off the start.

Race 1 came along pretty quickly and fresh from his win in the Streetstock race Tyler lined up for the race. He got away to a fair start and raced down the inside as advised and up the inside of the riders in front of him and exited T1 in 4th position. As the race progressed he was not able to maintain that position, but had a great race with two other riders and came out in 6th position. Again, a very healthy position.

Sunday morning dawned quite wet and cool, so we set up the bike for wet conditions and Tyler went out for the morning warm up to get used to the bike and conditions.

Race 2 was still wet and raining, but the rain stopped just after our race got under way which made it a bit more comfortable for the riders and indicated that the rest of the day would be dry. This race really showed Tylers class as only very good riders can perform well in the rain. One rider (the eventual championship winner) took the gamble and went out hard and created a bit of a gap to second place, but the next group of Kyle Hammond, Troy Geunther and Tyler were fighting hammer and tongs for the whole race and indeed following the first lap or two, were catching the leaders. Tyler ended the race in 4th place behind Kyle by 0.089s!! Almost on the podium in his second ever race meeting on 125, in the wet!! What a fantastic effort. And to top it all off, he set the fastest laptime of the race by over 1sec! We could not have asked for more.

Race 3 was fine and dry, but with a stiff wind from the south buffetting the track. Unfortunately as it turned out, I forgot to reset all of the suspension and Tyler was able to feel it and along with the wind he was not comfortable in the race. The last race was broken into two parts due to a crash by the race leader, Dan Mettam who was in a dangerous position. He as able to restart the bike and could have rejoined the race, but he failed to do one particular thing and the MNZ stewards excluded him from restarting the second part of the race. That meant that he would not be able to win the championship and after winning the second part of the race the NZ 125GP championship was won by Seth Devereux by 2 points from Dan Mettam.

Tyler had a shocking start to the first part of the race and was down the field finishing in 7th position, but had a better start to the second part and was doing well, but struggling with the bike set up and finished in 6th place, still a very good result.

Overall Tyler finished the season with more points from his second round than his first, he was the leading rider who did not compete in all the rounds (besides Hafiq of course) and finished in 10th position so can wear #10 next summer if he rides in 125GP and he really showed his class, his abilities and his humility. To cap off the season Hafiq Azmi still ended up in 3rd position in the championship and Tyler was awarded the 2012 Bridgestone Scholarship. We hope that we will be able to get a package together for Tyler to ride in 125GP over the winter and to travel to Red Bull Rookies Cup selection.

Thanks Tyler for a fantastic effort.

Tyler Lincoln shows his class at NZSBK Round 4, Hampton Downs

Moto Academy NZ travelled to Hampton Downs circuit in the north Waikato region of New Zealand over the weekend 16-18 March 2012 for the 4th round of the Castrol Power 1 NZSBK championships. This weekend we would be supporting young 14 year old Tyler Lincoln from Havelock North in his first outing in anger on the 125GP bike. We were all very excited to open this new chapter in the development of Moto Academy NZ and the motorcycle racing career of Tyler. After a very successful winter and summer season on the 150 Streetstock machine Tyler was champing at the bit to get racing on the Honda RS125 GP bike.

Thankfully for us for this first race event for Tyler, the weather conditions were fantastic for the whole weekend, so we had no worries about track conditions or tyre changes. On the Friday afternoon we set about setting the bike up for Tyler and he set about getting out onto the track and learning to ride the bike and to get it around the track. As per Tylers abilities, he made no mistakes throughout the sessions and steadily reduced his laptimes, ending the day with a best laptime in the 1m 22 sec bracket.

Saturday morning dawned foggy and cool, but this would soon change as the sun came up and things warmed up. We got stuck into practicing and tuning and Tyler steadily reduced his laptimes further down to 1m 17sec bracket and in the QP he qualified 9th out of 12 riders, so he was not even the slowest of the current riders in the class! The fastest laptime of the session was 1m 12sec, so we were only 5 sec per lap off the pace. Saturday afternoon brought race 1 for the weekend and Tylers first race in the 125GP class. After a hectic start where he was forced to the back of the feild he set about putting his head down and laying down fast laps. While he went slightly slower than his QP time, so did everyone else and Tyler ended up with a great finishing position of 9th.

Sundays weather proved to be about the same as Saturday so we made only minimal changes to the bike to compensate for Tylers increased speed around the track. Race 2 was a fantastic race with battles all through the field and Tyler was able to lower his laptimes to 1m 15sec bracket and due to one or two DNFs in the field he came home in a fantastic 6th position, but he had some of the best battles in the field! Race 3, the New Zealand Tourist Trophy race, was a bit different with Tyler stalling the bike as he approached the start line. This caused a bit of a chain reaction with the organisers and while Tyler was getting his bike restarted a rider was allowed to start the race from pitlane. When this rider was halfway around the track the race proper was started. Tyler got away very well and set about racing with very seasoned riders and had a race-long 4 bike battle from which he emerged victorious and finished in a fantastic 7th position with a best laptime of 1:14.20s, only 2 sec off the best laptimes.

We have to say therefore, that this weekend of racing in NZSBK 2012 and NZ TT event was an unmitigated success and we showed everyone that Tyler is one of the brightest young talents currently in our sport.

We now move to Taupo Circuit this weekend for the final round of NZSBK 2012 with only one championship decided (Superlite) and all championships very close so that any number of riders can take victory. The 125GP championship is no different with any one of four riders able to take the championship. Currently Hafiq Azmi is still leading, but it is not likely that this will remain the situation after race 3 at Taupo.

 

Hafiq Azmi and Moto Academy NZ make it Seven out of Nine and two Seconds in NZSBK 125GP and comfortable points lead overall.

As is almost always the case, motorcycle racing at Teretonga Park is always at the mercy of the Southland weather. Arriving at the circuit on Thursday with the intention of practicing and testing, we were literally blown away by the howling gales sweeping across the circuit. We attempted twice to erect our tent, but both times it turned into a sail and we would have been better attaching it to a land yacht!! Clearly it would have been too dangerous to send Hafiq out in those conditions so we retired to our accommodation and the local indoor Karting track!!! At the track it was proven that old buggers can go faster than young whippersnappers!

On Friday morning we unloaded our gear into the santuary of the large pit shed at the track that I had prearranged in November, knowing full well that we would have the worst of conditions, and I was proven correct. Friday continued to blow hard and Hafiq was having some trouble with the wind. We made a number of small changes to the bike which improved his feel and he set the fastest 125GP time of the day, but some distance off the lap record, which to be fair, was never in danger on this weekend.

Saturday came and we set about fine tuning the bike and rider. Hafiq set the fastest time in the Free Practice and was happy with the bike and all indications (pipe, plug, tyres, suspension, laptimes, video) were that it was working well. All of the 125's seemed to have similar speed, so it would come down to which riders could extract the most from their bikes. Qualifying Practice came along with threatening skies, but our QP thankfully was dry. Hafiq set the fastest lap of the session to qualify on pole, but he saw a 1:06.70 on his laptimer and decided that he wanted a 1:05 something lap. He pushed just a bit too hard and came down in Turn 2. The bike slid along nicely on the track, until it hit the gravel trap, whereupon it was chewed up and spat out! Thanks Teretonga!! Hafiq was fine, thankfully (as Robbie Bugden in Superbike went in on the same corner and did not move for quite a while, but he also ended up being OK. Just having a lie down, these Superbike riders eh???) but the bike was a bit worse for wear. Mel and I set about cleaning and repairing it in quick time for Race 1 later that afternoon.

Clean and repair the bike we did and Hafiq was out on Pole Position for the first race also, held under threatening skies. But again our luck was in and the rain came after we had finished. Hafiq got a good start with his new technique and was P2 into Turn 1, set about getting into P1 and pulling away from the chasing pack setting a time of 1:06.8. Slower than QP but everyone went slower for some reason. At the end of the race the gap to second was 5 seconds, so 7 wins from 7 races.

Sunday dawned wet, cold, windy and miserable, just as we expect in Invercargill I am afraid. That is why I booked us into the big paddock shed!! Soon after we arrived we found that we had an issue with the front left fork leg where a pre-load spacer had jammed inside the fork tube. I am unsure if Hafiq rode the bike that way on Saturday, but if he did he made a great effort as that fork was effectively no longer working. So we pulled out the emergency spare bike and set it up ready for the Warm Up, on rain tyres, and Hafiq went out and again set the fastest laptime, in the rain. In the meantime I set about rectifying the problem which proved more difficult than I thought, but after drilling out the spacer it came out, whacked me in the nose after which we reassembled the fork leg and were ready to rock.

Race 2 time came and the track was dry albeit cool and windy. Hafiq was on the #1 bike again but this time was a bit slow off the line and was in P4 on lap 1. But the front runners, Troy, Daniel and Glen were all just in front, so no panic. Hafiq made his way to P1 over the next couple of laps and set about trying to pull away. But young Troy Geunther from Australia had other ideas and stuck with Hafiq all the way. While we were pit signalling Hafiq we did not let him know that Troy was right on him as I figured he would know this. However, it turned out that he was concentrating more on riding and did not realise Troy was so close, so he did not really push hard. So sadly for us, but fantastically for the spectators and his crew, Troy was able to drive past Hafiq out of the slipstream and pass him just over the line to take his first ever 125GP win (by 0.14s) and along the way become the youngest ever NZSBK race winner. Hafiq was disappointed to be pushed back to P2, but learned something about race craft.

Race 3 for the weekend was wet and crappy so we decided to go out on the spare bike as it was already set up for the rain. Hafiq again got a good start, as did the others, and was running with all the leaders until Dan Mettam came off in Turn 1 right in front of Hafiq and Glen Orwin. Unfortunately his bike spun around at just the wrong time and place and forced Hafiq and Glen to take evasive action onto the grass. This allowed the feild to come by, but both riders regained the track and got into racing hard to catch up. Hafiq was chasing hard and passed the feild in the next lap or two and set about chasing down Seth Devereaux. But the gap was just too big and while he was closing at 0.5-1.0 s per lap, the race was not long enough and he had to settle for another P2 finish, but set the fastest lap time of 1:11.6, 0.6 sec faster than the next best.

So overall we had fastest laps in all sessions, Pole position, and P1, P2, P2 finishes to make 65 points, 215 in total and a 69 point advantage over Dan Mettam in 2nd place in the championship. I think that Hafiq learned some valuable lessons from these races and it is clear now that his abilities have really come on in leaps and bounds. He is able to provide subtle feedback about the bike, he is able to ride a bike that is not perfect and still ride it fast and in general stay on, he is able to chase down riders in front of him and is able to ride at a pace that is necessary, not just flat out all the time. There is a mathematical chance that we might still come away with the NZ championship, but with 150 points up for grabs it is not likely, but you know, you never know, you know.

Hafiq NZSBK 2012

Hafiq. NZSBK 2012

Image courtesy of Championship Digital

We have had a great 3 weeks this summer. It was a shame Hafiq crashed on Saturday, but that is all a part and parcel of bike racing, and again, he was in front chasing a great time, not crashing while at the back struggling. We all wish him the very best for 2012 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and I hope to see him on the podium this year!!

 

Hafiq Azmi and Moto Academy NZ make it Six out of Six in NZSBK 125GP.

Following on from their successful weekend at Ruapuna, the Moto Academy NZ team moved to the Timaru International Raceway at Levels, near Timaru. The weather played its part early in the weekend being at first stifling hot, for us, not for Hafiq, then rain, then a gloriously fine weekend with a nice cooling breeze. So really we could not have had much better conditions.

All weekend Hafiq showed again that he would be the rider to beat posting laptimes that were consistent and consistently quite a bit quicker than the other riders. After being fastest in FP Hafiq posted only one flying lap in QP then slipped off the bike due to a front end patter issue. He was unable to continue in QP, but his lap still gave him Pole Position for the races. The Moto Academy NZ mechanics put the bike back together and made suspension changes that would indeed fix the issue allowing him to ride with confidence in the races.

Hafiq also tried a new starting technique that seemed to help quite a bit and his starts allowed him to get away with the front riders and stay in touch early. Hafiqs main competition came from Dan Mettam (Auckland), Troy Geunther (Australia) and Seth Devereaux (Rangiora), but none of them were able to stay with his pace once he had established their good and not so good points on the track.

Hafiq settled down to consistent fast laps taking the fastest laps of all three races and winning all three by significant margins. While the conditions (with strong, gusty breezes) and the competition did not allow us to challenge the lap record, Hafiq posted a fastest laptime of 1:10.1 sec (We saw 1:09.9 on our GPS timing equipment!!) which was 0.5 sec faster than anyone else over the weekend.

The team were all very tired, but very happy with everyones performance over the weekend making sure the bike was as good as we could make it, back together after the crash and of course with Hafiqs feedback and performances. I think mention should also go to James Jarman who rode really well into 4th place overall for the weekend.

So we now head to Teretonga Raceway with a maximum of 150 points in the bag and a lead of 42 points and where we hope the drought that they have been experiencing comes back for just 4 more days!!!

We have to thank all the people that have helped us get here without whom we would really be struggling and would not look as polished and professional as we look now.

Hafiq Azmi takes comfortable victories in all three races including NZ Grand Prix title at New Zealand Superbike Championship 125 Grand Prix class aboard the Moto Academy NZ Honda RS125

 

15 year old Malaysian Red Bull Rookie Hafiq Azmi has taken the lead by a comfortable margin in the 125 Grand Prix class of the 2012 NZSBK championship at Ruapuna Park raceway this weekend (7/8 Jan 2012).

Hafiq Azmi 2012

Hafiq on the Moto Academy RS125 at Ruapuna Raceway

 

The Moto Academy NZ team of Steve Bagshaw, Mel Jackson, Phil Snowdon, Peter Clifford and Hafiqs dad Dato Azmi followed the plan they had worked out, set up the bike perfectly and coached Hafiq into racing aggressively, but also safely, to take three comfortable victories,the NZ GP title and the lead in the points and the New Zealand Grand Prix title.

Moto Academy Team 2012

The Moto Academy NZ team at Ruapuna Raceway (From left: Dato, Mel, Peter, Steve, Hafiq)


After a baptism of fire with us in 2011 with no 125GP experience, a desire and need to be at the front and a very raw style, Hafiq fell off the bike too often. But after some more coaching and a season of hard racing in Red Bull Rookies Cup in Europe and a year older, he has come back to NZSBK with a renewed enthusiasm laced with better technique, a willingness to wait for the right time to make moves and a desire to learn coaching lessons.

This weekend the team worked hard on making sure that the Moto Academy NZ RS125 was set up to Hafiqs needs and ran well and consistently. We were happy that indeed we seemed to get the bike working pretty well. While we did not set the fastest laptime of the weekend, we were not far off it, and Ruapuna is a circuit that rewards many hours spent learning its nuances. Hafiq has now a total of around 50 laps of the circuit, as opposed to some of the riders who would have over 500!!

The team arrived in Christchurch thanks to Interislander, just as we were welcomed by another small earthquake! The bike was set up with the help of Kiwi Suspension Solutions to allow us to exploit to the maximum the Bridgestone tyres and SBS Dual Carbon brakes. And once again, due to the superior qualities of our Fuchs Silkolene oils, NGK spark plugs and RK Chains we had not a single engine or drive issue and the inside of the engine looked as fresh as when it had been assembled. The Moto Academy trailer and the bikes (including the Andrew Adlam spare which sat all weekend as a display bike) all looked immaculate thanks to the hard work of Pretzel (Stuart) at Tremaine Avenue Panel and Paint (Palmerston North) and the team at Henshaw Signs (Porirua). One rear wheel bearing issue was diagnosed by the team and resolved thanks to Kevin at RaceSupplies.co.nz who also supplies the Honda parts to keep the bike running at its peak. We also thank the Victoria Motorcycle Club for the use of the paddock tent which kept us nice and cool and dry during the weekend.

Hafiq NZSBK 2012 Race 2

The races were hard fought in the early stages with Hafiq racing hard with Troy Gruenther of Australia, Seth Devereaux of Christchurch, Tim MacArthur of Dunedin (NZ #1 2010) and Daniel Mettam of Auckland. But after those riders either fell off their bikes, faded with bike issues or faded with physical issues Hafiq was able to stretch away from the chasing riders. We were also happy that after the gap was established he was able to manage it well and slow his pace to take eventual comfortable victories including the New Zealand 125GP Grand Prix title.

Hafiq is now able to provide us with very subtle feedback which resulted in us making two specific changes to the bike which resolved the small issues he was having. This is fantastic and shows that he really has learned a lot during 2011 and we hope that he will continue to learn in 2012 and that we will continue to have success in NZSBK 2012 as we move on to Levels Raceway in Timaru January 14/15 where we will be working hard on improving his main weakness of race starts (which are pretty tough to master on a 125 bike). After we sort that out, Watch out!!!!  


Hafiq NZSBK 2012 Race 2

Ruapuna NZSBK 2012 Race 2. Hafiq on his way to victory number 2.

Image courtesy of FotoCD Photographers