Cape Town – With just two points in it, Round 8 of the Mike Hopkins Motorcycles regional superbike series at Killarney this Saturday is shaping up as a needle match of epic proportions between three-times title-holder Ronald Slamet on the Helderberg Yamaha R1 and former national supersport champion David McFadden’s RPM Centre S1000RR.
After seven rounds, McFadden leads with 160 points to Slamet’s 158; whoever finishes ahead in Saturday’s two superbike races will hold a huge psychological advantage going into the final showdown on 2 December. Slamet wasn’t kidding when he said the championship could be won or lost this weekend.
However, it’s not that simple; on the form of his life and with one race win to his credit already, Mad Mac’s ZX-10R rider Trevor Westman has only finished out of the top three twice this season and is third in the standings on 139 points. With 60 points still up for grabs he could conceivably pull off the biggest upset in the history of the series - and he knows it.
Look to see these three – riding three different makes of machine - on the front row of the grid, and fireworks erupting the moment the lights go out.
But the real unknown quantity is Andre Calvert, who has yet to fulfil the potential of the big, booming KC Transport Panigale 1299S, but has been moving quietly up the order since the bike’s debut at the beginning of this season. Saturday could just be his breakthrough moment – at which point Westman will come under huge pressure.
Expect another needle match at the top of the 600 Challenge, where hotshot Hayden Jonas will face off against quiet, consistent Warren Guantario. Jonas has won the class in every regional he’s entered this year – on a surprising variety of machines - but has had to miss two meeting due to national Super600 commitments, whereas Guantario has posted a win and 10 second places on the Mad Mac’s ZX-6R and is just five points adrift in the standings.
Jonas has entered this weekend’s races; he’ll be riding the Samurai Racing R6 to the limit, because that’s the only way he knows how, taking the fight to Guantario, as well as just about any of the litre-class machines other than the top four.
JP Friederich, unbeaten this year on the MSD SV650, has already wrapped up the Powersport title, but the fight is still on between Chris Williams on the DEA ER650 and Max Mandix’s ASAP World ER650, with veteran Paul Medell (Kawasaki ER650), who has been showing unexpected form during the second half of the season, as the dark horse.