Cape Town – The spotlight at Round 2 of the Mike Hopkins Regional motorcycle series, this Saturday at Killarney, shifts away from the big guns of the Superbike classes, who are taking a bye this time around, to the Powersport, Clubmans and Classic classes, with the added spice of two Breakfast Run Grands Prix for riders who have never held a competition licence before.
These are genuine rookies, and from among their ranks will come tomorrow’s champions – as well as the midfield riders who are there, knowing that they will never win a race but, thanks to healthy entry lists, knowing also that they will always have somebody just a little faster than they are to race against.
They make this hugely successful series the spectacle it is, and Killarney’s knowledgeable racing fans acknowledge that by saluting them as loudly as they do the winners after each race.
Last time out Jannie Stander, back on his Kawasaki ZX-10R after a 10 month lay-off, found his rhythm after just three laps of Race 1 and carved his way through the field from ninth to third in four laps. He followed that up with an emphatic win in Race 2, beating Michael du Toit’s similar machine by half a second to take line honours.
Du Toit will be out for revenge on Saturday, as will Nick van Zyl on the Inter-Sped ZX-10R, Johan Maritz on a Honda CBR1000 and Fran Engelbrecht on the Motorcycles and Bits GSX-R750.
But the dark horse to watch out for is born-again racer Gareth Kenward, out on the circuit for the first time in more than a decade in Round 1 aboard a Kawasaki ZX-10R (a model that hadn’t even been designed when he retired from racing) and who rattled a number of cages with a sixth and a third in the day’s two races.
The battle lines are a lot more clearly drawn in the Powersport classes; here JP Friederich on the Calberg SV650 remains the man to beat, with Chris ‘the Green Goblin’ Williams (Trac Mac ER650) and Gareth Gehlig (Formula Autos SV650) keeping him honest, and veteran Hilton Redlinghuys (he actually remembers racing against Kenward!) as the possible dark horse.
The only one of the local KTM RC390 riders who wasn’t lapped at the previous Regional meeting was Samurai rider Sam Lockoff. This young man more recently put in two magnificent rides at the Killarney National meeting; it’s unlikely he’ll be challenged for Class B honours – but some of the Class A riders may find themselves having to fend off unwanted attentions from a member of the buzz-bike brigade.