Cape Town - Round 2 of the Mike Hopkins Regional motorcycle series, this weekend at Killarney, boils down to a straight fight between three top contenders, each on a Kawasaki ZX-10R - current champion Ronald Slamet, 2013 runner-up Aran van Niekerk and former regional title-holder Malcom Rapson. While Slamet is the form man at the moment, any one of the three can win on his day.
Then there are not one but two dark horses ready to take instant advantage of any mistake by the leaders: Gerrit Visser’s ZX-10R is in Evo trim rather than the Superbike specification of the top three, which puts him at a distinct power disadvantage, but he is closing the gap with every outing as he learns to handle the more brutal power delivery of the Kawasaki compared to his previous Honda CB1000RR and looks likely to be on terms with the font-runners sooner rather than later.
Trevor Westman will be out again on the Ocean Sizzler R1 - and what the seven-year-old Yamaha lacks in straight-line speed, Westman more than makes up for around the corners; the former short-circuit star is never more dangerous than when he’s the underdog.
This is likely to be a duel between Hayden Jonas - rapidly finding form on his new Kawasaki ZX-6R - and Brandon Haupt, who has returned from a long layoff due to injury a little less aggressive, more analytical, but with flashes of the old fire still evident.
Best of the rest? Keep an eye on Mike van Rensburg (Pragma R6), who is also likely to be running at the top of Class B, keeping veteran Jan Lucas de Vos (Kawasaski ZX-10R) and Wessel Kruger (Motorcycles & Bits ZX12R) honest
Jannie Stander starts as favourite in Class C on the Galvatech ZX-10R, but the man to watch is David Enticott on the Motorwise 675 Daytona, punching way above the little three-cylinder bike’s weight.
With no entry from the astonishing Graeme Green and the Fibreprod SV650, Warren Guantario is likely to have it all his own way in Powersport A aboard the Calberg ER6-N - although a fast-maturing Brandon Storey (Thruxton ER6-N) and JP Friedrich (Calberg SV650) would like nothing better than to make me eat my words.
‘Danie van Killarney’ Maritz - who just can’t seem to stay retired - will be out there on the bike that won him the 1987 Regional title, showing Tony Jones - who usually rides a Ducati - how to get the most out of a Suzuki GSX-R750, while Raiel le Roux (BMW S1000 RR) will be the man to watch in the Clubman’s Class.