A blisteringly quick new lap record, a dominant performance by a rider using his home track advantage and one of the closest finishes seen in a long time were just some of the features of the second round of the 2018 SuperGP Champions Trophy held at Killarney Raceway on Saturday, 24 March 2018.
Clint Seller (King Price Extreme/Bikefin Yamaha R1) was quickest in Friday afternoon’s SuperGP qualifying session. He was chased by two locals, Brandon Haupt (Fueled Racing/TCF Investments Yamaha R1), riding in the RST Suzuki South regional class that joined the national riders for this round, and David McFadden (RPM Centre/Stunt SA Kawasaki ZX10R). Daryn Upton showed he is getting to grips with his Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR 1000, qualifying at the head of the second row. Opening round winner Michael White (Consortium Shipping/Ridgeway Sports Bar Yamaha R1) was next up ahead of another regional rider Trevor Westman (Mad Mac Kawasaki Racing Team ZX10R). Dylan Barnard (Shop #74 Yamaha R1), Karl Schultz (ASAP World Suzuki GSXR 1000) and JB Racoupeau (VBR Kawasaki ZX10R) filled row three.
In the opening race Seller held off an early challenge from Haupt after which he was able to pull away and control things front the front, taking the flag just over 4.5 seconds ahead at the end of 15 laps. McFadden didn’t have a great start and had to find a way past Upton before he could set about hunting Haupt down. He did just that and moved into second just before half-distance but Haupt fought back, taking the position back on the penultimate lap and holding it to the flag. Upton and White had a race-long duel, which Upton took by less than a bike length. Westman had some attention from Barnard in the early stages, but when the latter fell after running into the kitty litter on the outside of turn one, had a someone lonely run to sixth. Racoupeau claimed seventh with Barnard eighth after remounting.
With Haupt ineligible for national honours, the national podium saw Seller on the top step with McFadden and Upton on either side of him.
Seller looked like he had race two in the bag when the red flags came out after Geldenhuis went down hard in turn one. Seller had set a new superbike lap record of 1:09.944 on his way to opening up a 3.3 second lead over McFadden before the stoppage. At the restart White grabbed the early lead from Upton but the pair were soon overhauled by the Cape Town duo of McFadden and Haupt while Seller was circulating near the back of the field after breaking his gear lever. McFadden was able to stay ahead for the five-lap sprint, taking the flag just ahead of Haupt with White getting the better of Upton. When the two times were combined, McFadden emerged on top, just ahead of Haupt with White taking third from Upton. Westman claimed fifth ahead of Seller with Racoupeau and Schultz in seventh and eighth. McFadden headed the national podium with White and Upton in second and third respectively.
Regional honours went to McFadden from Haupt and Westman.
Quintin Ebden (Wingfield Motors Yamaha R1) dominated the SuperMasters races, taking pole position and both heat wins, although Peter Haupt (TCF Invest Yamaha R1) pushed him hard in the second race. Gavin Upton (Turn Skill Engineering Yamaha R1) won the SuperMasters Interprovincal class.
Hayden Jonas (Samurai Racing Yamaha R6) knows Killarney very well and used that advantage to good effect, setting the quickest time in qualifying, eight tenths quicker than Adolf Boshoff (Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) with Blaze Baker (King Price Extreme/Bikefin Yamaha R6) joining them on the front row of the grid. The second row was an all Cape Town affair, Brandon Staffen (AJH Cooling/Keating & Jansen Kawasaki ZX6) leading the way from Jared Schultz (Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) and Gareth Gehlig (Formula Autos/One X Custom Kawasaki ZX6). Aiden Liebenberg (Shop #74 / Fercor Construction Kawasaki ZX6), Karl Schultz (ASAP World Kawasaki ZX6) and Byron Bester (Hi-Tech Racing Kawasaki ZX6) filled the third row of the grid.
Jonas had a poor start in the opening race, dropping down to third behind Boshoff and Baker into the first corner but, by the end of the lap, he was in the lead which he was never to surrender. Baker and Boshoff then scrapped for the remaining podium positions with Boshoff in front when it counted. Jared Schultz was next up ahead of Staffen and Liebenberg. Gehlig and Bester rounded out the top eight.
Race 2 was red-flagged early on after a collision between Gehlig and another competitor which left Gehlig with a broken ankle. At the re-start Jonas again didn’t get away well but had worked his way into the lead by the end of the first lap. With Baker and Boshoff fighting each other behind him, he was able to pull away, taking the win by 6.7 seconds. The pair behind him swapped positions on a regular basis but this time it was Baker that was in front at the flag. Jared Shultz ended in a lonely fourth with Staffen leading a three-bike train in fifth just ahead of Bester and Liebenberg. Karl Schultz ended in eighth.
Regional honours went to Jonas from Jared Schultz and Staffen.
In only its second event, the new Super300 category provided the closest racing of the day. Zante Otto (ORT-Online Yamaha R3) let things late in the qualifying session, grabbing pole position with her last lap of the session ahead of Kewyn Snyman (The Mag Workshop KTM RC390) and Taric van der Merwe (Evolve Nutrition Yamaha R3). Dino Iozzo (King Price Extreme/Bikefin Honda) headed the second row ahead of Tyreece Robert (Uncle Andy Racing/Motol KTM RC390) and Capetonian Connor Hagan (NPH Electrical KTM RC390). Cameron Aiken (BST Security KTM RC390) rode around overheating problems to seventh ahead of Chase Hulscher (Uncle Andy Racing/Motol KTM RC390) and Jason Linaker (Samurai Racing Kawasaki Ninja 300).
Unfortunately for van der Merwe all his hard work in qualifying was for nothing as his bike cried enough in the morning warm-up, leaving him to start both races from pit lane on his spare bike. When the lights went out at the start of the first race, Otto grabbed the hole-shot with Iozzo, Robert, Snyman and Hagan in close attendance. With positions changing almost every corner, Otto, Iozzo and Snyman slowly opened a gap over Robert and Hagan. Picking a winner was impossible but Iozzo took it from Otto in one of the closest finishes seen in South African motorcycle racing for a long time. The winning margin was just two thousandth of a second. Snyman was just 0.012” further back. Robert took fourth ahead of Hagan. Even though he started from pit lane, van der Merwe was able to end in sixth, setting the fastest lap time of the race on the way. Hulscher and Tony Sterianos (RST KTM) rounded out the top eight.
If anything, the second race was even more entertaining than the first. Snyman’s bike developed a clutch problem which left him stranded on the start line as the rest of the field streamed past with Otto and Iozzo battling for the lead just ahead of a pack that contained Robert, Hagan and Hulscher. Snyman eventually got his bike going but at the end of the opening lap he was down in fifteenth place and any chance of a victory looked out of the question. He, however, had other ideas. He joined up with van der Merwe, who again had to start from pit lane, and the pair scythed their way through the field, reeling off fastest lap after fastest lap. By the end of the third lap they were up into sixth and seventh, albeit with a big gap to the five riders in front of them, but they carried on with their relentless move forward, catching and passing Hagan and Hulscher a couple of laps later. Snyman made short work of the rest, taking the lead on the final lap. Van der Merwe didn’t manage to make his way through the traffic quite as quickly and had to settle for third ahead of Otto and Robert. Hulscher claimed sixth just two tenths ahead of Hagan with another Capetonian, Jessen Samaai (KTM RC390) in eighth.
Two comfortable wins from pole position gave Romano di Leva the overall win in the Breakfast Run class. He was joined on the podium by Lee Engel and Nathier Taliep. The RST Trac Mac Powersport 650 Motorcycles overall victory went to Paul Medell who just held off Chris Williams in both races. Mike van Rensburg took third place in both heats.
In the RST Trac Mac Classic Superbikes & Clubmans Motorcycles races Chris Williams Took both race wins in Club A. He was joined on the overall podium by Willem Binedell and Wessel Kruger while Club B went the way of Wayne Arendse from Gavin Livingstone and Giovanni Massa.
The SuperGP Champions Trophy now moves to East London for the third round of the 2018 championship on 28 April 2018. The event forms part of the Africa Bike Week™ which takes place in the coastal city between 26 and 29 April.