Graveyard Circuit Motorcycle Racing Returns to the Streets of Whanganui

Cemetery Circuit organizers and sponsors are delighted to be back on track for the 2022 event. Photo/Paul Brooks

One of Whanganui’s biggest events will return to the streets this summer.

The cemetery circuit was canceled for the first time in 70 years in 2021 due to Covid-19 restrictions, but event organizer Allan Willacy said he expected the Boxing event Day is making a big comeback in December.

“We are expecting a fantastic crowd and a fantastic event, overseas competitors are coming, so it’s a really positive feeling this year.”

He expected the event to attract large numbers of spectators and runners from across the country and overseas.

International riders had yet to be confirmed for the event, but Willacy said plans were to bring in four riders from Australia and two from the UK.

The graveyard circuit is also once again the final round of the Suzuki International Series, which this year is collaborating with the New Zealand Superbike Championship to offer six rounds of racing throughout the summer.

In addition to the Suzuki Series finale, the final round of the New Zealand SuperMoto Championship will be part of the graveyard circuit meet.

The event will also host the New Zealand TT title, which Willacy says runs alongside the national championships and originated from another world famous street race, the Isle of Man TT.

“It came in, they gave us back the titles for our street circuit, so that’s another advantage for our competitors,” he said.

Although it is not part of the national championships, as the nationals do not include street circuits, Willacy said the collaboration between the two series will bring more attention to the event.

“The [Suzuki] The series is New Zealand’s biggest series and the Whanganui Cemetery Circuit is New Zealand’s biggest motorcycle event.

Strategic Marketing Manager for Whanganui & Partners, Jonathan Sykes, said the contribution of events such as the Graveyard Circuit was important to the district’s economy.

“When events are hosted in Whanganui, we see a significant impact on our visitor spending and hear about their value from our community and attendees.

“Holding renowned, world-class events like the Cemetery Circuit is something that Whanganui takes great pride in. Like our community and the national and international fans of the Cemetery Circuit, we were extremely disappointed to see this iconic event having to cancel last year. And we know the organizers have done everything they can to keep the event going until it becomes unavoidable that it cannot take place under the restrictions.”

Sykes said the fact that Whanganui hosted the New Zealand Amateur Boxing Championships and the Hoop Nation Junior Showcase in April showed the value of the events for the district. Marketview shows that consumer spending in Whanganui in April 2022 increased by 8.1% compared to April 2021. During the Hoop Nation Junior Showcase period, April 27-30, consumer spending increased by 7 .9% compared to the same period a year earlier.

“We work with all of our supported events to assess the economic contribution made versus what was planned in advance. Additionally, we have our own tools, such as consumer spend metrics, that help us to understand the additional value created by the event,” Sykes said. .

Willacy said the graveyard circuit was a crown jewel: “Everybody wants to compete, everybody always wants to win, and the best guys always want to win the Robert Holden.”

Keryn Amon (left), owner of Platinum Homes, Allan Willacy, event organizer for Cemetery Circuit and Peter Goldfinch, executive dealer at Suzuki New Zealand.  Photo / Bevan Conley
Keryn Amon (left), owner of Platinum Homes, Allan Willacy, event organizer for Cemetery Circuit and Peter Goldfinch, executive dealer at Suzuki New Zealand. Photo / Bevan Conley

One such person is 2016-18 National Superbike Champion Sloan Frost, who will race the event on a unique machine, the 2022 Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa, New Zealand’s fastest naturally aspirated motorcycle.

Suzuki New Zealand continues to support the event and provided Frost with the bike to race.

The 1300cc Hayabusa sports bike is significantly heavier than the other 1000cc Formula 1 superbikes it will compete against, but Suzuki New Zealand dealership manager Peter Goldfinch says Frost should put up a good fight.

“He’s not expected to win, but if he can get a top five or top six on what is essentially a street bike, that will be really good marketing for us.”

He said Frost racing the Hayabusa through the narrow city streets would be quite a sight.

“He will probably go into second gear sometimes,” he said.

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