Killarney’s own clash of the titans - or, in this case, the Klash of the Kawasakis – will continue this weekend as the two top riders in the Mike Hopkins Regional Motorcycle Series square off again in Round 7 of the championship.
Ronald Slamet on the Mike Hopkins ZX-10R and Aran van Niekerk on the Stunt SA/DMR ZX-10R, who between them have notched up 10 wins and nine seconds in the 11 races run so far this season, are just two points apart - 148 to 146 - with 90 points on offer from the remaining six races, in one of the closest-run two-wheeled series yet run at the Cape circuit.
But don’t think they are going to have it all their own way on Saturday, with Gerrit Visser on the Competition Bikes CBR1000RR – the only other rider to have won a Superbike race at Killarney this year – and former champion Malcolm Rapson (Kawasaki ZX-10R) ready to take advantage of the slightest error by either of the front-runners.
RACE WITHIN A RACE
And right behind them we have the makings of an epic race-within-a-race, as talented teen Nicholas van der Walt on the DMR CBR600RR (who is also Van Niekerk’s younger brother), Brandon Haupt’s MX Clean GSX-R600 (now hopefully cured of the electrical gremlins that have kept it out of the points in recent outings) and the fast but erratic Sharl Wasserfall on the Berlux ZX-10R battle it out for 600Challenge honours.
On recent form Leroy Malan (Honda CBR1000RR) must start as favourite in Class B – but neither veteran Mike Wilhelmi, having the best season of his long career on the Fast Fence ZX-10R nor Honda CBR1000RR rider Shaun de Jager is any respecter of form books, while Shakir ‘Shrek’ Smith on the Entity CBR1000RR (affectionately known as Donkey) will be out there with every intention of putting a few noses out of joint.
Class C will however, be much more clear-cut with a straight fight between Vossie Vosloo on the Competition Bikes R1 and veteran Wayne Arendse’s privateer Honda CBR600RR.
Former SA Supersport racer Graeme Green (Suzuki SV650) served notice last time out that he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the intensely competitive Powersport 650 Twin division, as he and Warren Guantario delivered a superb race-long duel. But don’t write off Hayden Jonas – if he and dad Lance can find a can of reliability somewhere his Suzuki SV650RR could well be up there with the leaders.
Meanwhile, Alan Kessell (Hondas RVF400) is likely to be the form man in the more traditional Powersport division for 400cc fours - if he can see off similarly mounted Mark Cunnington, and Fran Engelbrecht and Tyron Koen on earlier VFR400 Hondas.