SuperGP ready to blast off at PhakisaComment on this story
Welkom - South Africa's first all-bike national racing series blasts off this weekend - appropriately, at the country's only circuit designed specifically for motorcycle racing, Phakisa Freeway.
The first of eight SuperGP rounds will usher in a new era for national championship motorcycle racing, with new classes and racing on Sundays - except for Round 3 on the third weekend in May at Cape Town's Killarney circuit, where noise regulations do not permit racing on Sundays.
Two reigning SA motorcycle champions will lead the charge in the Free State this weekend, with SA Superbike title-holder Clinton Seller riding a Kawasaki ZX-10RR in the new SuperGP Evo headline class - a specifically South African formula that allows only very limited modifications.
Keeping him honest will Robert Portman and Cape teenager Nicholas van der Walt on the 'works' Yamaha R1's and Dylan White, fourth in the 2013 SA Superbike championship, on a Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Two former national champions will fly the Blue Propeller Flag - Greg Gildenhuys, the triple SA Superbike champion who campaigned a factory BMW in the 2013 World Superstock 1000 series, and veteran Lance Isaacs, who finished runner-up to Petersen in Supersport last year, will be on fast but unpredictable S1000RR fours - widely rumoured to be good for more than 150kW at sea level in Evo trim - as will Nicholas Grobler, who finished third in the 2013 Superbike standings.
SA Supersport champion Cameron Petersen will contest the analogous Super600 class on a Yamaha R6, alongside team mate Dean Vos.
They'll line up with Anthony Shelly, fifth in the 2013 Supersport series, and Stephen Odendaal, each on a Kawasaki ZX-6RR, as well as two of South Africa's top lady riders, Nicole van Aswegen on a Triumph Daytona 675 and Loumari Grobler on a Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Practice and qualifying for no less than six national motorcycle classes - including a new category for 1200cc twins which, if nothing else, will make all the right noises - will be run on Saturday 16, and racing on Sunday 17 March.