Cape Town - With no entry from either of the acknowledged ‘top guns’ – Ronald Slamet and Aran van Niekerk – or the vastly under-rated Gerrit Visser, it would seem that Saturday’s third round of the Mike Hopkins Regional motorcycle series at the Cape’s Killarney circuit will come down to a straight fight between former champion Malcolm Rapson (Kawasaki ZX-10R) and short-circuit graduate Trevor Westman on the seven-year-old Ocean Sizzler R1.
Westman rode the wheels off the old Yamaha at the last Regional meeting, proving that both he and the bike are still capable of punching above their weight, but there is no gainsaying that Rapson has a significant power advantage, which will translate to extra speed down the circuit’s two long straights and sizzling (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) outbraking manoeuvres into Turns 1 and 5.
Westman has said he has a point to prove, and his steel-nerved bravery on the brakes is well-established. Expect drama.
Also in the frame will be born-again racer Hilton Redlinghuys on the Thruxton ZX-10R and veteran racer David Bolding (PJ One ZX-10R), either of whom has the racecraft ro take advantage of any lapse in concentration from the front-runners - as well as top 600 Challenge riders Hayden Jonas (Kawasaki ZX-6R) and Brandon Haupt (MX Clean GSX-R600).
Expect to see Zane Simon (Kawasaki ZX-10R) and Mark van den Berg (Planet CBR1000RR) at the top of Class B, while Jannie Stander (Galvatech ZX-10R), Wayne Arendse (Honda CBR600RR) and David Enticott, back on the superbly prepared Motorwise Daytona 675 sort out Class C honours between them.
Warren ‘Starfish’ Guantario will again be the rider to watch in Powersport Class A on the Calberg ER6 – no matter how much uphill Danie Maritz gives him on the 1987 Suzuki GSX-R750, which competes in the Vintage Superbike category.
Hard on their tailpipes, however, will be Brandon Storey (Thruxton ER6n), short-circuit star Wesley Jones’ Jack Hammer SV650, and Andrew Liebenberg on the second Calberg machine.
An entirely unknown quantity however, is former Regional (1998, 2000) and F800S (2008) champion Paul Medell, out for the first time on a Suzuki SV650 with backing from Cape Bike Travel, whose workshop will also be preparing the bike.
Medell hasn’t ridden in anger since a shattered femur put him out of action in 2010 and, in his own words, is keen to find out ‘if there is still some red mist left in the tank’. We suspect there may well be; keep an eye on bike No.49
The only Vintage Superbike entry capable of keeping Maritz honest is the Suzuki GSX-R750 ridden by the talented Tim Clark, who is still coming to terms with the very physical riding style demanded by a bike that is significantly older than he is. He is, however, getting faster with every outing and is likely to be a factor in this class of racing sooner rather than later.