State championship breakthrough for bike veteran

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After spending years as a WA state championship bridesmaid, Roger Harris finally broke through for his first Modified Bike title this season at Perth Motorplex and has decided on a new challenge when the new season resumes later this year.

Harris fought a close battle with rival Justin Townson right up until the final event, where a shock first round exit for Townson decided the championship then and there.

“I expected it to drag on through the night,” Harris said. “I ran before Justin and had just got my helmet off and was relieved to get the first round win, when Justin comes up, shakes my hand and congratulates me on the championship.

“While we get on well off the track, we are fierce competitors on the track and we have a very healthy respect for each other as racers. His gesture reinforced that and was appreciated for its sporting nature.”

Harris said there was instant relief to know he had earned a championship after three previous runner ups.

“(The relief) changed to elation as the congratulations started down the end of the track and back in the pits,” he said. “I even suggested we (stop racing) and crack a beer, but my crew wouldn’t be part of it.”

Turning back the clock to the start of the season, the championship wasn’t even on Harris’ agenda.

“When I entered the first meeting I wasn’t actually planning to run the whole season,” he said. “I had a fairly strong start to the season, getting a win in the first meeting with the bonus points.

“I backed this up with a fairly consistent run of quarter and semi finals plus a second win in January which kept me on top of the point score right up until the second last meeting when Justin snuck in front setting up a showdown in the Grand Final.”

Harris will be putting his current motorcycle into temporary retirement with a new challenge coming as he builds a nitrous oxide-assisted Kawasaki to race in Competition Bike.

“The desire to go quicker is still alive and well so during the off season I am building a nitrous injected Kawasaki to run in the AA/CB class,” he said. “This will mean next season will be a pretty steep learning curve as I come to grips with the new ride, but I figure I am not getting any younger and want to give this a shot while I still can.”


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