Cape Town – In the absence of defending champion David McFadden, who will be at Motorland Aragon competing in the Spanish national Superbike series, Round 6 of the RST Suzuki South Regional series at Killarney on Saturday 14 July will be fought out between two brothers, Brandon and Bernard Haupt, on near-identical Fueled Racing R1s.
Younger brother Brandon was the 2016 Regional champion and leads this year’s points standings by a scant five points (111 to 106) from veteran and multiple former champion Rob Cragg (Mad Macs ZX-10R) with McFadden third on 100 points. But that situation is likely to change this weekend.
Older brother Bernard Haupt isn’t a regular main-circuit competitor, but he is a multiple off-road champion and brings a wealth of racecraft to his rare appearances at Killarney, especially on loose surfaces, which makes him an even bigger threat if it rains.
To put that in perspective, Bernard Haupt has entered just two Regional Superbike races this year – and won both of them. Add to that a deep-seated and long-standing sibling rivalry between two intensely competitive young men, and you have the makings of an epic contest.
Waiting to pounce
But in the event that the Haupts are too busy racing each other to keep an eye on the prize (or in this case the chequered flag!) there will be at least three contenders waiting to pounce, not least Andre Calvert, back on the Omega Property 1299S after a long layoff due to a big crash earlier this year and a subsequent engine blow-up.
If Calvert is back to anything like his pre-crash pace he will bear watching, as will Trevor Westman on a Mad Macs ZX-10R and Gerrit Visser on the Samurai R1, each of whom has already proved that on his day he can win.
Not far behind them will be another needle match, one that goes back almost two decades, as Cragg and Quintin Ebden battle it out for bragging rights in the SuperMasters category for riders over 35 years old. But here there’s another dark horse: former regional champion Malcolm Rapson and his family-funded Kawasaki ZX-10R are back after almost a year in recovery from a serious racing injury. Once he gets some saddle time and regains his former fitness, Cragg and Ebden will have a serious fight on their hands.
In the absence of an entry from defending title-holder Hayden Jonas (although he has a habit of surprising his rivals with unexpected late entries) the Super600 class is wide open; look for World Supersport 300 competitor Jared Schultz and his father Karl on the ASAP World GSX-R600 and ZX-6R machines respectively, who will face off against talented teen Brandon Staffen on the AJH Cooling/RPM ZX-6R.
JP Friederich, who dominated the Powersport class for two seasons, has also moved up to Super600s, so the twin-cylinder 650cc Powersport Class A races are likely to come down to a straight fight between Chris Williams on the Trac Mac ER650 and the Simple Maintenance Solutions ER650 of Mike van Rensburg.
Difficult to predict
Powersport Class B, however, will show a different complexion as everybody tries to catch the pink Otto Racing R3 of Zante Otto; the challenger to watch here is Kewyn Snyman on the Mag Workshop RC390.
Possibly the most difficult class to predict, however, is the Clubman Class for up-and-coming newbies; two riders to watch here are Chris Williams (yes, the same Chris Williams) on the Trac Mac Panigale and hot youngster Willem Binedell on the Dog Box GSX-R600 - less than half the capacity of the thundering Ducati, almost as fast in a straight line and even quicker in mid-corner.