Motor racing is a team sport. All the talent in the world won’t get you anywhere without active support from pit crew, family and, of course, sponsors.
Mike ‘the Bike’ Hailwood always freely acknowledged the support of his father, a successful motorcycle dealer, and Giacomo Agostini (whose wealthy parents forbade him to race motorcycles) would have remained a boy from Bergamo with big dreams had Count Domenico Agusta not recognised his talent.
In four short years Capetonian David ‘McFlash’ McFadden has gone from club racing at Killarney to a works ride in World Superstock 1000 with the Honda-backed Ten Kate team, with lots of backing from his family and, for 2011, when he won the SA Supersport title on a ZX-6R in his first full season, from Kawasaki importer Chris Speight.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
It was that against-all-odds victory (he was up against a five-man works Honda team, who openly didn’t care who won each race as long as it wasn’t the green bike) that prompted Nibs Cragg, dealer Principal at Kawasaki South in Cape Town, to help put McFadden on a Kawasaki ZX-10R for the 2012 SA Superbike season.
Cragg knows what it takes to run a successful racing team; his son Rob was Regional champion several times before retiring to take up mountain-bike racing.
The results were spectacular: McFlash won every Regional race he entered, taking the WP title with ease, and dominated the first half of the SA Superbike series, until he was offered a ride with a Kawasaki team in the World Superstock series - and when that was done he came back home to win the final SA Superbike race of the season from the cream of South Africa’s national and international stars.
Five impressive rides in the world arena led to an offer from Ronald Ten Kate and a move away from Kawasaki, but before donning his new team’s red and white livery, McFlash took time out to visit Kawasaki South, so he could thank Cragg in person for his support at a crucial point in his racing career.