Trevor Westman must start as favourite on the Mad Mac’s ZX-10R. Picture: Dave Abrahams
Cape Town: If nothing else, Ronald Slamet’s dramatic comeback at the previous round of the Mike Hopkins Motorcycles regionals at Killarney aboard the brand new Helderberg R1 has thrown the 2017 series wide open.

But neither he nor David ‘McFlash’ McFadden who battled throughout the weekend with mechanical gremlins on the Sandton Auto S1000RR and, despite setting the fastest lap of the day in Race 1, finished the day with a third and a DNF on his scoresheet, will be there for Round 4 of the series.

Both will be away at Zwartkops, competing in the SuperGP national championship, which will turn the Killarney spotlight on to a number of riders who will be keen to bag all the points they can while their rivals are otherwise engaged.

Trevor Westman made a welcome return to form at the previous meeting on the Mad Mac’s ZX-10R, posting two solid second places. He must start as favourite on Saturday, with the advantage of running a fully developed machine that now holds no surprises, and will be able to concentrate on racecraft, using his talent for sometimes unorthodox lines through familiar corners to advantage.

Then there’s Andre Calvert, a rider whose time may well have come, with his recent switch from conventional Japanese four-cylinder power to the muscular V-twin KC Transport 1299S. The booming Ducati requires a totally different riding style than Calvert is used to, but he has come to terms with it more quickly than local fans expected, taking third overall for the day last time out.

Also showing flashes of brilliance at the previous meeting were Gerrit Visser on the Samurai R1 (his gearbox woes on the new Yamaha now sorted) and Bernard Haupt, older bother of 2016 Regional champion Brandon and an accomplished motocrosser, who was seen putting his off-road experience to good use, backing his family-funded Yamaha R1 sideways into corners and pulling off some hair-raising outbraking moves.

They’ll be joined by the 2010 title-holder, veteran Malcolm Rapson, on a family-funded ZX-10R and the defending champion, riding a new Yamaha R1 in a one-off return to the track. With no clear pecking order here, anything could happen and probably will.

Notable absentees

Hot-shot 600 Challenge rider Hayden Jonas has been recruited to Brad Annasis’s MiWay national squad after his recent superb showing against South Africa’s best Supersport 600 riders at the intimidating East London Grand Prix Circuit, standing in for injured Super600 champion Adolph Boshoff, and will also racing be at Zwartkops, as will Kewyn Snyman, while father and son Karl and Jared Schultz will be at Imola in Italy where Schultz Junior will be riding in the World SuperSport 300 race.

That leaves defending 600 Challenge champion Warren Guantario on the Mad Mac’s ZX-6R with only Shawn Payne (Superbike Solutions ZX-6R), David Enticott on the Motorwise 675 Daytona and short-circuit star Wesley Jones’ Samurai Racing R6 to keep him honest. It’s a big ask but on his day any of these riders could just pull off a surprise.

Expect the unexpected; with pride at stake as much as championship points, none of the Regional competitors is going to back down this weekend.

IOL Motoring

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