Pretoria – Former champion Clint Seller and the MiWay R1 dominated Saturday’s SuperGP national racing at a chilly Red Star Raceway in Delmas, taking a hard-earned double win and extending his lead in the points standings.
But the first Superbike race wasn’t that clear-cut; Seller got a dreadful start, dropping back to seventh as AJ Venter (Hygenica R1) and pole-sitter Garrick Vlok (Diamond Core R1) made the early running.
Vlok took the lead at the end of lap one and looked as if he might be able to pull away – until he lost the front end of his Yamaha and crashed out of contention.That put Venter back in front, closely followed by Michael White (Consortium Shipping R1), with Seller, who’d been working his way up through the field, fourth behind Darryn Upton (Paramount Tracks ZX-10R).
Seller showed his class with a steady ride to the front, despite a late charge from multiple former champion Greg Gildenhuys (Autohaus ZX-10R) and White, who closed to within half a second of Seller in the closing stages, relegating White to a lonely fourth, with Upton and Brandon Goode (Linex R1) rounding out the top six.
As if to make up for his earlier blunder, Seller got a cracker of a start to the second outing, leading into Turn 1 and controlling the race from the front all the way to the flag. Behind him, however, there was a race-long battle for second with as many as five riders in contention at some stages.
But in the end it was Vlok who kept his bike ‘shiny side up’ to take second from White. Gildenhuys, battling with gearbox problems throughout the race, managed to hold off a determined Venter for fourth, while Morne Geldenhuis (Hi-Tech R1) rode to his best finish of the season in sixth.
Reigning European Moto2 champion Steven Odendaal (Petra R6) set the bar for the Supers600 contest with a qualifying lap almost 2.5 seconds quicker than anybody else – and walked away from the field in Race 1 to win by close to 20 seconds.
Blaze Baker on the Uncle Andy GSX-R600 pulled a perfect start off the second row of the grid to lead the chasing pack into Turn 1, with championship leader Hayden Jonas (MiWay R6) all over him like a rash and another six riders battling for fourth.
However, Jonas had made a change to the Yamaha before the race – and went the wrong way, resulting in handling problem and, eventually, a nasty little highside. He remounted and got back in the race, but finished way down the field.
With Jonas having taken himself out of contention, it was left to Kawasaki trio Malcolm Rudman, Jesse Boshoff and Aiden Liebenberg to keep Baker honest while disputing third between themselves – until the debate became a little too physical between Rudman and Boshoff, forcing the former onto the grass and effectively ending his podium challenge.
Baker managed to stay clear of the mayhem and came home a clear second, with Boshoff joining him and Odendaal on the podium. Liebenberg came home fourth ahead of William Friend on the second Uncle Andy GSXR600, while Rudman recovered from his agricultural excursion to finish sixth.
Race 2 delivered more of the same as Odendaal up and ducked at the head of the field – but his time Rudman and Boshoff managed to avoid contact, and finished less than a quarter of a second apart to take second and third respectively. The Suzukis of Friend and Baker finished fourth and fifth with Liebenberg rounding out the top six.
It looked as if Ricardo Otto was putting his pole position to good use in Race 1, but Tyreece Robert wasn’t about to let him have it all his own way, battling past Taric van der Merwe into second and closing the gap to Otto.
Robert moved into the lead with just a couple of laps to go and held on to take the win by just 0.175s from Otto and Van der Merwe was third.
Robert and Otto took up where they’d left off for the first few laps of Race 2 but Otto, making the most of a new front tyre, finally got past and pulled away to take a comfortable win from Roberts and Van der Merwe.