That’s what happened at Round 4 of the Mike Hopkins Motorcycles regional series at Killarney on Saturday as the Haupt brothers, Bernard and Brandon, went head to head for line honours, so intent on carving each other up that it was almost impossible for anybody else to challenge them.
Younger brother Brandon, the defending regional title-holder, is leaving within days to take up a new career as a superyacht deckhand, while Bernard has recently moved to Superbike racing after a successful career in motocross.
Their father Peter has also recently added a second Yamaha R1 to the family stable – so the stage was set for an epic final showdown between the brothers, who have been intensely competitive their entire lives.
Brandon Haupt, on a machine he’d never raced before, muscled his way past pole-position qualifier Ronald Slamet (IS Freight R1) from the start to lead the first lap from Trevor Westman (Mad Mac’s ZX-10R), Slamet, Bernard and Gerrit Visser's Samurai R1.
Slamet grabbed back the lead on the next lap, as Westman, Bernard Haupt and Visser pushed Brandon Haupt briefly down to fifth. However, the top four were already beginning to stamp their authority on the race, pulling slowly away from Visser as Westman and the Haupt brothers jockeyed for position behind Slamet.
Then, two laps from the flag, Bernard pulled what has already become his signature move, backing the big Yamaha sideways down the outside into Turn 5, passing a number of machines in one move – in this case going from third to first.
Seconds later Slamet felt his bike cough as an air sensor failed; it picked up immediately but spluttered again briefly twice on the final lap as first Westman and then Brandon Haupt got by. And that was how they finished, all four crossing the line within less than two seconds.
Warren Guantario had been expected to dominate the 600 Challenge on the Mad Mac’s ZX-6R, but instead ran off the circuit in Turn 2 on lap two; he rejoined in 18th and worked his way up to 15th by the end – behind Shawn Payne (Superbike Solutions ZX-6R) and David Enticott (Motorwise Daytona 675).
The second race produced some of the closest Superbike racing yet seen at this circuit, with positions changing on almost every corner. By lap four, however, Bernard and Brandon Haupt were leading, oblivious to Westman and Slamet as they carved each other up in almost every corner – but it was always the elder Haupt who held the advantage out of Turn 5 and over the line.
Then, at the start of the final lap, Westman grabbed his chance, dived between the two Yamahas as they went into Turn 1 side by side and just held onto the line coming out. Then the Mad Mac’s rider put his head down and rode the lap of his life, holding off the Haupts by less than half a second to take the win, with even Slamet in fourth less than a second adrift.
Gauntario kept it on the black this time to finish 11th overall, and first in the 600 Challenge, well ahead of Payne and Enticott.
Gareth Kenward (Kawasaki ZX-10R), out of retirement after 13 years, walked away with Race 1 at about a second a lap, while Johan Maritz (Bakgat CBR1000RR), William Binedell (Dog Box GSX-R600) and Fran Engelbrecht (Motorcycles and Bits GSX-R750) put up the dice of the race for second, a three-way battle that went all the way to the line and saw them finish in that order within 1.4 seconds.
Kenward pulled into the pits after the sighting lap for Race 2, but when the lights went out Hein Kroese (Lize Signs S1000RR) came up to join Binedell, Maritz and Engelbrecht in a superb four-way tussle at the front.
Towards the end, however, Kroese dropped back slightly, leaving Binedell, Maritz and Engelbrecht to finish in that order in less than two seconds.