Campbell Grayling wins first national motorcycling title
8 Mar 2017
Taranaki's Campbell Grayling could have a big future in motorsport, certainly if his learning curve continues on such a sharp upward trajectory.
The 17-year-old Francis Douglas Memorial College student collected his first national motorcycling championship at the weekend, less than three years after he first took up the sport.
The Opunake teenager had taken his Kawasaki Ninja 250 to an almost unbeatable position even before the weekend's fourth and final round of the New Zealand Superbike Championships at Hampton Downs and, with another hat-trick of wins at the North Waikato circuit on Saturday and Sunday, he put the title well beyond doubt.
In the end, Grayling finished the 12-race series 53 points ahead of his nearest challenger Rob Gibson, from Tauranga, with Timaru's James Squire completing the class podium 13.5 points further back.
Although obviously his greatest achievement so far, the national title win at the weekend was not the first time Grayling had tasted major success. Last year, he won the 250cc production class title in the Hamilton Motorcycle Club's Winter Series.
"That gave me confidence to really go for it at the nationals this year," he said.
Grayling was off to university next year, but hoped he could continue racing.
In all, Grayling won nine of his 12 250cc class races at the nationals this year, as well as claiming the New Zealand Grand Prix and time trial titles.
Meanwhile, other Taranaki riders also stood out at the weekend with New Plymouth's Hayden Fitzgerald wrapping up his abbreviated campaign by finishing runner-up in the 1000cc superstock class.
Despite contesting just two of the four rounds, the Yamaha man was almost untouchable when he was on track, qualifying fastest and also winning the stand-alone New Zealand time trial title at Hampton Downs on Sunday.
Riding a 600cc version of the same bike, Fitzgerald also finished 15th overall in the 600cc supersport class, while fellow New Plymouth man Jason Nairn finished the nationals 18th overall in the same class.
New Plymouth's Nicki Smith also contested only the two North Island rounds of the series and she finished up 13th overall in the pro twins category.