Don't miss it..get to Killarney
PREVIEW: With acknowledgement to Dave Abrahams IOL .
One of the most intriguing aspects of motorsport is how
suddenly the balance of power can tip – and the Mike Hopkins Regional
motorcycle series is a case in point.
This year has seen international Superstock rider David
‘McFlash’ McFadden and defending Regional title-holder Ronald ‘The Red Baron’
Slamet face off on ostensibly identical Kawasaki ZX-10R superbikes at the top
of Class A. And whereas champion’s Mike Hopkins-backed machine is the current
model, and is tuned to perfection by Francois Breedt of RaceBase, McFadden’s
Stunt SA ZX-10R is actually several years old and a generation out of date.
Nevertheless, McFadden knows every nut and bolt on the
bike and can get the best out of it under almost any circumstances. On
practically every occasion the two have met, he has simply outridden the
talented young Namibian.
But now McFadden is riding the brand new Suzuki South
GSX-R1000 L5, for which there is no developmental whatsoever; other than a less
restrictive exhaust and adjustable footpegs; the Gixer is practically as it
came off the showroom floor.
McFadden says he enjoys the challenge of developing the
bike for the track, and of course everything he learns here can be put to good
use when he rides the almost identical Team Suzuki Europe machine in World
Superstock 1000 competition, but that doesn’t disguise the fact that it is now
McFlash who is playing catch-up.
The Western Province Motor Club has also thrown another
curve ball at competitors with the announcement that Round 8 of the series will
be run anti-clockwise – i.e the “wrong way round”. As exciting as this is for
fans, it means learning what is effectively a new circuit – and there
McFadden’s international experience, where learning new circuits in just a
handful of practice sessions is part of the deal, will be to his advantage.
Nobody in the Killarney paddock is willing to predict how
this grudge match will turn out except the protagonists, and each says he has
it in him to beat the other. Anything could happen and probably will.
Putting further pressure on McFadden and Slamet will be
the Young Guns - Gerrit Visser, Trevor Westman and Brandon Haupt, each on a
current ZX-10R, and each getting closer to the leaders’ pace with every outing.
They’ll be joined by Slovakian hotshot Sandra Stammova on the 511 Racing S1000
RR, who has already shown that she is capable of running with them. The
reversed circuit will negate home-track advantage so the battle for third could
well be the dice of the day.
Karl Schultz (ASAP World ZX-6R) will be back from his
mountain bike adventures to challenge for Class B honours, which will put the
two Jacques – Ackerman on the Jotim R1 and Brits, aboard the Lize Signs S1000
RR on their mettle, while Class C will be decinded between Wayne Arendse (Honda
CBR600RR) and the Kawasaki ZX-10Rs of Gavin Louw and Nick van Zyl.
\Calberg team-mates Warren Guantario and JP Friederich
will resume their ongoing battle for Powersport honours – and the pressure is
on Guantario now. With a Mad Mac’s ZX-6R already lined up for the Superbike
Class and 600 Challenge in 2016, he’ll be determined to leave the Powersport
arena as champion - but on current
Friederich’s current form that will be a big ask.
These two have provided some of the closest racing of the
year, and will do so again on Saturday.
In the absence of an entry from John Kosterman, expect
Tony Jones (Suzuki GSX-R750 Pre-Sling) to set the pace in the Classic Class.
With 14 entries the Clubman Class – which is where
aspiring Superbike Racers earn their chops – is as big as it’s ever been. It’s
also the most unpredictable, as both bikes and riders improve from one meeting
to the next. Abdul-Kader Dalwai (Field GXX-R600) Dale Field (Field GSX-R750)
and Willem Louw (Yamaha R1) made the running last time out – but write off
class stalwart Raiel le Roux at your peril.