Cape Town – The seventh round of the Mike Hopkins Regional Motorcycle Series, this Saturday at Killarney, has the potential to tilt the balance in at least two of the class titles, including the overall lead.
Defending title-holder Ronald Slamet (Mike Hopkins ZX-10R) still bears the marks of a huge tumble at the recent SuperGP meeting at the Old Durban Airport and faces an uphill battle to get back to full fitness by race day. At the same time he faces increasingly strong competition at Regional level, as his rivals come to terms with the strengths and weaknesses of the Evo-spec Kawasaki ZX-10R – the machine to beat in an increasingly closely-fought season.
Slamet will face determined challenges from former champion Malcolm Rapson, who battled through illness to score crucial points last time out, up-and-coming star Gerrit Visser and class rookie Brandon Haupt, each on a motorcycle that is, on paper at least, the equal of Slamet’s – to say nothing of veterans David Bolding and Jan-Lucas de Vos, each also on a ZX-10R, and perennial dark horse Trevor Westman who, on his day, is capable of running with the best on the seven-year-old Ocean Sizzler R1.
Here the stakes are higher, if simpler: Hard-riding teenager Hayden Jonas has been ruled out for this meeting after surgery to an injured finger, giving series leader Andre Calvert (Kawasaki ZX-6R) a golden opportunity to build up a commanding lead in the standings.
All he has to do is be the first Challenge rider home in each race which, given that his is now the only 600 in Class A, doesn’t sound like too big an ask. If Calvert stays true to form, however, he’ll be mixing it with the litre-class bikes all the way, making the outcome completely unpredictable.
Father and son Mark (Planet Electronics CBR600RR) and Alex (Wicked CBR600) van den Berg Mark will mount another family assault on Class B – but look out for hot rookie Jacques Brits (Lize Signs S1000RR) who found superb form in recent outings until he crashed big time in Turn 1. He’ll be back, hoping to prove he’s no flash in the pan.
A somewhat depleted Class C will be decided between Jacques Ackermann on the Jotim R1, David Enticott (Motorwise Daytona 675) and Jannie Stander’s Galvatech ZX-10R.
There will be high drama in the Powersport class, with Graeme Green back on the Thruxton ER6F to challenge class leader Warren ‘Starfish’ Guantario (Calberg ER6F).
But don’t write off the two Suzuki riders, Wesley Jones on the Jack Hammer SV650 and the vastly underrated Brandon Storey on a Factory Lane machine, who will be ready to pounce if either should make the slightest mistake – or ‘Danie van Killarney’ Maritz, keeping the current generation of riders honest aboard the same Suzuki GSX-R750 with which he won the 1986 Regional title.