Cape Town - Round seven of the Mike Hopkins Motorcycles regional series at Killarney on Women’s Day, Wednesday 9 August, is going to be a nailbiter.
The top three riders in the championship – Ronald Slamet on the Helderberg R1, David McFadden’s Sandton Autos S1000 RR and Trevor Westman, riding the Mad Mac’s ZX-10R – are within five points. Slamet has accumulated 134 points from 12 races so far this season by scoring points in every race; his lowest finish was in fifth and he has two wins.
McFadden, by contrast, has eight race wins and a third on his card, but has failed to finish one race and missed two races due to SuperGP commitments, giving him 130 points. Meanwhile Westman, a short-circuit graduate who has sometimes been his own worst enemy, with flashes of genius all too often let down by uncooperative machinery, has quietly put together the season of his life, with a race win (his first in Class A), seven seconds and three thirds, for a tally of 129.
Some of this is due to the different bikes they ride: Westman’s Kawasaki is no longer the pre-eminent machine in its class, but it is well-sorted and delivers consistent results. Slamet’s Yamaha, by contrast, is brand new, and has put both him and his team on a steep learning curve. It is, however, remarkably forgiving, allowing Slamet so score valuable points even when not ideally set up.
McFadden’s S1000 RR has lived up to this model’s reputation for being fast but wickedly temperamental. McFadden’s eight race wins so far this season have on occasion been achieved at the expense of some heart-stopping moments. Nevertheless, he says, the team has made a big step in the electronics; the recent SuperGP nationals at Dezzi Raceway in KwaZulu-Natal seemed to be the turning point in getting the most power out of the bike and setting it up to suit McFadden’s riding style.
In the absence of an entry from Bernard Haupt, the only other rider to have won a Class A race this season, the rider most likely to challenge the top three is Gerrit Visser, who made a slow start to the season on the Samurai R1 but has been improving to the point where he notched up two solid fourth-place finishes last time out.
The situation in the 600 Challenge is even tighter; there’s just one point in it.
Hayden Jonas has won the class in every regional race he has entered this season and has 120 points from eight wins on the Samurai ZX-6R. Since being drafted into the MiWay team to replace the injured Adolf Boshoff in the Super600 national series, however, he has been forced to miss two regional meetings, and was a surprise late entry at the July meeting.
Warren Guantario, however, with just one race win to his credit, has 121 points, thanks to eight seconds and a third on the Mad Mac’s ZX-6R. The only other winners this season have been World Supersport 300 competitor Jared Schultz (ASAP World ZX-6R) with two, and Shawn Payne on the Slamet Racing ZX-6R, with a maiden victory at the May meeting.
Payne, on 103 points is third in the standings; he and Schultz (who has also entered the Powersport races on a Kawasaki 300 Ninja) are the riders most likely to shuffle the pack, should Jonas fail to put in a late entry.
The Powersport races are likely to dominated as usual by JP Friederich on the Calberg SV650, who has won all 10 races so far this season; the focus here will be on the fight for second between on-form Chris Williams on the Trac Mac ER650 and veteran Paul Medell on a similar Kawasaki with Max Mandix (Kawasaki ER650), second in the standings with 95 points to Friederich’s 150, as the dark horse.
Wednesday being Women’s Day, at least one lucky lady will win a lap of the circuit at racing speed aboard a V8 Masters race car, and early risers will be treated to a hot chocolate, coffee or tea in the main clubhouse.