By: Dave Abrahams
Cape Town – For the handful of hardy spectators who braved the atrocious conditions, Round 4 of the Mike Hopkins Regional Motorcycle series, on Saturday at Killarney, delivered superb racing, a master class in riding on wets from international rider David ‘McFlash’ McFadden and a couple of surprises.
But the only real winners were the weather gods, as the Superbike went out for qualifying in drenching rain, only for Vossie Vosloo to slide off his Yamaha R1 in Turn 2 on the second lap.
Vosloo wound up lying in middle of the circuit with all the breath knocked out of him (it turned he’d cracked a couple of ribs) and the red flags came out to call off the session; the grid was drawn up by seeding the riders in classes.
Qualifying went marginally better for the Powersport classes – and delivered the first of the day’s surprises with Brandon Storey, standing in for Andrew Liebenberg on the second of the Calberg machines, on pole and class leader Warren ‘Starfish’ Guantario way down in ninth.
By the start of the first Superbike race the rain was a constant downpour – but McFadden, riding a borrowed ZX-10R took the lead from pole and simply walked away to win by more than 30 seconds, lapping everybody up to seventh without putting a wheel wrong. In his wake, however, Gerrit Visser, Malcolm Rapson and Hilton Redlinghuys (each on Kawasaki ZX-10R) put up a superb dice for second, with Visser and Rapson gradually pulling away from Redlinghuys in the closing stages.
Unknown to them, however, one of the midfield riders had fallen in Turn 2 early on, picked up his bike and carried on, not knowing that he’d cracked an engine cover and was laying a fine spray of oil on top of the water streaming across the circuit.
The inevitable happened on lap 6 as Visser hit the oil going into Turn 5 and the bike skated off on its side into the mud, closely followed by its rider. A lap later Shakir ‘Shrek’ Smith (Entity CBR1000RR) went down in exactly the same place, but by then it was all over bar the shouting as McFadden led home Rapson and Redlinghuys.
Trevor Westman was well aware that he’d jumped the start on the Ocean Sizzler R1 and didn’t try any heroics; he came home a steady fourth, 30 seconds behind Redlinghuys, and was promptly penalised 30 seconds, which dropped him only one place down the order behind Class B rider Jacques Brits, who put in an inspired ride on the Lize Signs S1000RR to come home fifth, well ahead of most of the Class A field.
Quintin Ebden, out for the first time on a brand new BMW 1000RR, was next, 14 seconds ahead of a four-way dice for seventh (and 600 Challenge honours) between Andre Calvert (KC Transport ZX-6R), Hayden Jonas (Kawasaki ZX-6R), David Bolding (PJ One ZX-10R) and Wessel Kruger (Motorcycles & Bits ZX-10R).
Bolding and Kruger dropped off the bus in the dire conditions of the final few laps but Calvert and Jonas took it all the way to the wire, with Calvert in front by just 0.040sec when it mattered.
And at the top of Class C, Jacques Ackermann on the Jotim R1 led home another battle royal as he, Alex van der Berg (Wicked CBR600), Ruan de Lange (Asap CBR600RR), David Enticott (Motorwise Daytona 675) and Elric Everson on the KC Transport CBR600 came home in that order in 5.4 seconds.
Poor qualifying or no, it took Guantario less than a lap to get to the front of the Powersport field, but there he encountered Brandon Storey, out for the first time on a competitive bike and ready to prove a point.
For the next three laps Storey and Guantario delivered the dice of the day, never more than a bike-length apart, until Storey slid off in Turn 2 on lap four - but that didn’t stop him. He was up within seconds and rejoined in sixth, only to fall off again a lap later, trying too hard in near-impossible conditions.
Even then Storey simply wouldn’t give up; he picked the Kawasaki up again, rejoined in 13th and made up three places in the final three laps to finish an heroic 10th.
Guantario came home an unchallenged winner, leading an all Calberg top three with Leroy Malan and JP Friederich backing him up. Thirty seconds later Chris Williams (DEA ER650) got the better of Mike van Rensburg’s Pragma ER650 by 0.161sec for fourth while Xander du Plessis (Hypower ZX-6R), Keagan Smith (Honda CBR600), Kevin Spratley (Aprilia RS250) and Derek Hendricks on the Bikers Delight SV650 took it down to the wire for sixth, finishing in that order in less than three seconds.
After that the rain got steadily worse and nobody was sorry when the stewards bowed to the inevitable and cancelled the rest of the day’s racing.