Cape Town – When the 2018 Gas Sports SuperGP National Superbike series comes to Killarney for the first time this year on Saturday, they’ll be facing off against some of South Africa’s most talented riders, on their home circuit.
Expect some explosive confrontations - and the most explosive of all is likely to be at the sharp end of the premier class, where David McFadden and his new RPM Centre / Stunt SA ZX-10R will take on five-times SA Superbike champion and defending title-holder Clint Seller (King Price Extreme / Bikefin R1).
Seller is something of a dark horse at this stage; he posted his fastest ever lap of Zwartkops in qualifying for the season-opening round just four weeks ago (which was disallowed because he was riding his spare bike!) and then crashed out of the race. He will be coming to Killarney with a point to prove.
In his absence Michael White (Consortium Shipping / Mano Coal R1) and McFadden put up the dice of the day, with White (just) in front when it counted, and Morne Geldenhuis (Hi-Tech Racing R1) third.
With Seller back in the mix at Killarney, anything could happen and probably will – but there’s another rider adding spice to the Killarney confrontation: 2016 Regional champion Brandon Haupt and the Fueled Racing R1 were all over McFadden like a rash at the previous Regional meeting just two weeks ago, until Haupt crashed out in Race 2.
To boost SuperGP’s somewhat thin fields, the Regional riders will be running alongside the SuperGP competitors, so Haupt will be right there - intent on proving that he can ride at lap record pace and stay aboard, even though his results won’t score him any SuperGP points. He’ll be backed up by Gerrit Visser (Samurai R1) and Trevor Westman (Madmacs ZX-10R) each of whom has already proved that he can run with the best on his day.
Much the same applies in the Super600 class, headed by multiple Regional champion Hayden Jonas (Samurai R6), who stood in for the injured Adolf Boshoff from midway through the 2017 season and came within a few points of winning the National title. Boshoff is back now, fully fit, riding a new Suzuki under the Uncle Andy banner and itching to show the ‘understudy’ that he’s still the star.
So much so that he came down to Killarney as a wild card entry for the March Regionals - where he finished second in class to Jonas in both races, by five seconds in Race 1 and 2.3 seconds in Race 2. See the pattern? Boshoff is yet another rider who will line up on the grid with a point to prove, in what is likely to be an epic showdown.
Nevertheless, Boshoff and fellow National Super600 contenders Blaze Baker (King Price Extreme / Bikefin R6) and Aiden Liebenberg (Shop #74 / Fercor Construction ZX-6R) may find that their challenge is not ahead of, but behind them.
There’s an impressive depth of talent in this class at Killarney, most of it with at least some National experience, including skinny teenager Brandon Staffen on the AJH Cooling ZX-6R, father and son Karl (ASAP World ZX-6R) and Jared Schultz (ASAP World GSX-R600), Gareth Gehlig (Formula Autos ZX-6R) and David Enticott (Motorwise 675 Daytona).
The situation is completely different in the new Super300 class, however. Capetonian Kewyn Snyman (Mag Workshop RC390) gave the locals a lesson at Zwartkops, winning his debut race in this class by almost eight seconds. He’ll start as favourite at Killarney, with the visitors trying to prove they can ‘ride like a girl’, challenging petite Zante Otto (Otto Racing R3) for second. Good luck with that, fellas.