King of Paeroa for the ninth time

Bay of Plenty rider Tony Rees isn’t a man to be trifled with if his reputation is anything to go by – especially if you asked him how many street battles he’s won. His reply would be nine.

Tony, who is from Whakatane, picked up his latest title at the weekend in the annual Honda Battle of the Streets event at Paeroa.

Bay of Plenty’s Tony Rees, on his Honda CBR1000RR, is most certainly the
‘King of Paeroa’. Photo: Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com.

He first won the premier title more than 20 years ago, and, at age 46, celebrated his eighth big win when he clinched the trophy at the 23rd annual running of the iconic event in 2014.

The event skipped a beat last year when persistent rain forced organisers to abandon the day, the first time in the history of the event.

But now, at age 48, the Honda star has made it to win number nine, the most wins by any one rider at the popular annual event.

To add icing to the cake, Tony broke the lap record for Paeroa, racing around the fabled hacksaw-shaped circuit in a time of 44.427 seconds.

Under brilliant blue skies, Tony took his Honda CBR1000RR to win the first of two Formula One races on Sunday; then he backed it up with a start-to-finish win in the 10-lap King of the Streets feature race as well, making it an historic ninth time that he has won the Honda-sponsored event’s signature race.

He came unstuck in the second of two Formula One races, forced to withdraw when arm cramps became too difficult and painful to bear, thus handing the outright class win instead to Taupo’s Scotty Moir, who managed a 3-1 score-card, but Tony was still the hero of the day in winning the all-important feature race.

“I was getting cramp in my hands before the start of the second Formula One race,” says Tony.

“My hands simply locked up. I didn’t get a great night’s sleep last night and maybe my diet hasn’t been the best, contributing to the cramps, but hats off to Scotty (Moir), who rode brilliantly.

“I nearly crashed three times in that second F1 race and, in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth dying for.

“I’ve never had that happen before. The bike would have won today, but the rider couldn’t,” he shrugged.

“It would have been nice to get three wins from three starts, but I’ll settle for two and one of those wins being in the feature race was good too,” says Tony.

“I think I had the measure of Scotty and my lap time of 44.5 seconds was the fastest I’ve ever been around here.”

Tony now looks ahead to the fourth and final round of the New Zealand Superbike Championships, at Hampton Downs, near Meremere, on March 5-6.

Other class winners at Paeroa on Sunday were Wainuiomata’s Shane Richardson (Formula Two); Auckland’s Gavin Veltmeyer (Formula Three); Taupo’s Scott Moir (Supermotard); Auckland’s Mark Wigley (Pre-89 Post Classics); Auckland’s Mark Robinson (Pre-82 Post Classics); Sanson’s Mark Perry (Bears, non-Japanese bikes); Auckland’s Mark Halls (Senior Classics); Auckland’s Brendon Honey (Junior Classics); Auckland’s Adam Unsworth and Stu Dawes (Sidecar); Pahiatua’s John Blaymires and Charles Hill (Post Classic Sidecars).



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