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Rogan Chandler Has Sights Set On Another Key Title

Updated: Aug 29, 2022


He's armed and dangerous and on the prowl in a motorcycling community near you.


Upper Hutt man Rogan Chandler has loaded and primed his weapon of choice, a Suzuki GSX-R600, and he reckons he has an itchy trigger finger as he sets his sights on the 2022-23 New Zealand Motorcycle Road-Race Nationals.


The Suzuki International Series and the New Zealand Superbike Championships are collaborating for the first time to kick-start the 2022-23 national road-racing season, set to blast off in early December, and the 24-year-old top gun must surely rate as one of the hot favourites to dominate proceedings.


Chandler won the Formula Two (600cc) class the last two times the popular Suzuki Series was raced, in 2019 and 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic forcing it to skip a beat in 2021 – and he fancies his chances of delivering the goods once more.


"The nationals that had originally been set for earlier this year got cancelled, but I've been racing the club championships run by the Taupo and Auckland motorcycle clubs and won my class at both of those series.


"Suzuki was keen for me to race their bike and I have had amazing support from engine tuner and former top racer Ray Clee and he's been giving me help at the race tracks. I knew Ray a bit, but had never really talked to him. It was Simon (Meade) at Suzuki New Zealand who made the call for me and connected me up with Ray this year.


"I have finished second in the 600cc class at the nationals for the past two seasons and also won the 600cc class in the Suzuki International Series for the past two years as well. I hope that makes me one of the favourites.


"Ray builds great bikes and I feel I might be even faster now than before," said Chandler, who is this year also supported by Topkat Roofing and TSS Motorcycles in Petone.


"I'm doing mostly testing and practice at the moment. The first big competition for me will be the Suzuki International Series that also kicks off the nationals.


"I don't know who will be my toughest rivals. Nobody has really announced what they will be doing this year or what class they might ride. It's hard to say ... I've just got to beat anyone who lines up at the track.


The first two rounds of the Suzuki International Series in December, at Taupo International Motorsport Park and Feilding's Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon respectively, will kick-off the new-look six-round nationals and that's where Chandler intends to set a high benchmark.


The third and final round of the Suzuki International Series is, as usual, set for the public streets of Whanganui, the world-famous Cemetery Circuit, to run on Boxing Day.


This street fight won't be part of the nationals but remains the jewel in the crown for the three-round Suzuki International Series. Chandler is a multiple winner on Whanganui's streets too.


"I really enjoy racing around the Whanganui streets," said Chandler. "When you talk about the Cemetery Circuit, even people who don't understand or follow motorcycle racing will know about this great event."


The nationals resume in the South Island in the New Year, with racing at Mike Pero Motorsport Park (Ruapuna), on the outskirts of Christchurch. The following weekend the series arrives at Teretonga Park Raceway, near Invercargill, for round four.


Round five will be a key part of Hampton Downs Moto Fest extravaganza on March 4-5, before it all wraps up the following weekend with the final round taking riders back to the Taupo circuit.


The pandemic has caused all sorts of disruptions to major sporting events worldwide and New Zealand has not been immune to these, the annual New Zealand Superbike Championships series being cut short in 2020, similarly reduced in size to just three rounds in 2021 and unable to be raced at all in the early part of 2022.


It was a similar story for the glamorous Suzuki International Series, unable to be run at all last year.


For dedicated riders such as Chandler, and his friends and racing rivals, the creation this year of a new six-round series is truly exciting news.


CALENDAR:

Suzuki Series:

• Round 1, Taupo, Dec 3rd and 4th

• Round 2, Manfeild, Dec 10th and 11th

South Island:

• Round 3, Ruapuna, Jan 7th and 8th

• Round 4, Teretonga, Jan 14th and 15th

North Island:

• Round 5, Hampton Downs, part of Moto Fest, Mar 4th and 5th

• Round 6, Taupo, Mar 11th and 12th


Words by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

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