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'Rocket Rex' Heading To Whanganui


DECEMBER 23, 2015: It's all starting to click for Taupo motorcycle road-racer Rex Mincher and, even though he's one of the oldest competitors in the Formula Two 600cc Supers class, he's been turning heads this summer.

The 52-year-old father-of-one has only been racing since 2010, but his progress since then has tracked a steady upward trajectory and this is despite the fact he's also on an old bike, the same Yamaha R6 he bought new in 2009.

"Why buy a new bike? This one's brilliant and there's nothing wrong with it," said company director Mincher, who is currently running seventh in the F2 class after two of three rounds of the Suzuki Series.

The third and final round is this coming weekend, Boxing Day to be precise, when the streets of Whanganui are closed off to hold the famous Cemetery Circuit races.

"The bike is handling so good. I bought it brand new from Pro Moto Yamaha in Taupo in 2009 and then when for a ride on the road. It was the first bike I'd ridden in about 25 years and I did about 75 kilometres and said 'wow, bikes really have changed. They can go around corners now'," he laughed.

He then took it to the race track for the first time and the rest, they say, is history, because now he's a dedicated and determined racer and this season has had "a podium finish in sight".

"My eyes lit up a bit when I was racing at Manfeild (round two of the Suzuki Series just over a week ago) because I could actually see me earning my first podium finish. Then I crashed. That's racing I suppose."

It's likely that Mincher's improvement over the past season could even result in his friends renaming him "Rocket Rex" and he credits his recent success with his "watching the international visitors here very closely to see what I can learn. I was focussing pretty intently on Switzerland's Roman Stamm and I think I picked up quite a bit from watching him".

Stamm has since crashed out of the series and so now it's all up to Mincher to put into practice what he learned from those observations.

"I can't wait for Whanganui on Boxing Day. I love racing there and I've been getting faster each year. I'd like to think I can qualify as high as to be on the second row.

"I don't have any fears of racing at Whanganui. It's like being on a roller coaster ride," he said.

The past five years have not been without incident for Mincher - he crashed out of the opening round of nationals and broke his leg at the start of the year - but he's now fully recovered and producing some of the best form of his career.

The upcoming 2016 nationals - the four-round series kicking off at Ruapuna, near Christchurch, on January 10 - are his next big challenge after Boxing Day and he'll tackle that series with new-found confidence.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,