Capetonian motorcycle racer David 'McFlash' McFadden, one of the brightest young stars to come out of South Africa in recent years, has gone from club novice to National champion in four short, action-packed years, demonstrating skill, focus and maturity way beyond his years - he's still only 22.
In his first full season at National level, riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R under the Pepper Racing banner with support from importers KMSA, he took on the might of the works Honda squad - all five of them! - to win the SA Supersport title at his first attempt.
Then, at the beginning of the 2012 season, he stepped up to the big time, and went head to head with South African motorcycling's most formidable combination - Greg Gildenhuys and the works BMW S1000RR.
Gildenhuys was at the peak of his riding form, having won back-to-back SA Superbike titles, and would be gunning for a hat trick on a bike that was fully developed, while McFadden's brand-new Pepper ZX-10R, although once again well-supported by the importers, was at best an unknown quantity.
All he could do was run it in a few Regional meetings before the start of the National season and set it up as best he could.
The rest, as they, is history.
In eight races so far in this, his debut SA Superbike season, McFadden has taken five wins, a second and a third, rocking the Blue Propeller establishment back on its heels. Only a technical problem in Round 4 at Zwartkop has dropped him out of the championship lead.
When Joan Lascorz was forced to drop out of the Kawasaki factory-supported World Supersport Team Pedercini due to serious injury, Paul Mouton, a McFadden family friend and racing enthusiast, contacted World Supersport team principal Lucio Pedercini, who was initially sceptical.
But when he saw McFadden's racing CV, he offered the young Capetonian a test and a wild-card ride in Round 5 of the World Supersport series at Misano in Italy. In fact, he wanted to sign McFlash for the rest of the season, an offer the level-headed Capetonian turned down in order to fulfil his commitment to KMSA and Pepper Racing at National level.
In any case, even the test and one race would come at a price that was way more than the McFadden family could afford - but Mouton and a dedicated band of Western Province Regional racers refused to let that stand in McFadden's way.
TOO GOOD TO MISS
The opportunity to showcase McFaddens's talent on the world stage, and hopefully open the door to a full-time ride in 2013, was too good to be missed, so the word went out, and on Tuesday, 29 May, local motorcycle racers, fans, family and friends gathered at the Killarney clubhouse for a send-off party with a difference.
KMSA provided at nominal cost a brand-new ZX-10R, the street-legal version of the one McFadden will be riding at Misano, to be raffled at R500 at ticket. Only 400 tickets were made available - and by the end of the evening more than 300 were gone.
McFlash himself put up an Arai crash helmet in his personal colours, four-times SA champion Greg Dreyer donated a set of racing leathers (unique in that he'd never crashed in them!), sponsors donated memorabilia and bike gear and some of the racers themselves donated collectables such as a bottle of KWV 1930 muscadel and a bottle of Royal Salute 100 cask selection Scotch whisky.
With regular Killarney commentator Nick van der Meulen at the microphone, the auction got underway. The atmosphere in the room was electric and in little more than an hour, with lots of backchat and rude comments, the local racers raised in excess of R50 000.
The final lot of the evening - an evening with McFadden himself - drew some of the most ribald comments as the wives and girlfriends of the riders chased the bidding up to R2200 in short order!
But World Supersport racing is an expensive business; even R50 000 won't cover McFadden's expenses for the two weekends at Misano.
Further donations can be made to:
FNB Business Cheque Account No: 62215280900 Table View.
Branch Code: 203809.