A dominant performance by Clint Seller (MiWay Yamaha Racing R1) on a cold winter day at Red Star Raceway on Saturday, 10 June saw the former champion extend his lead at the top of the 2017 SuperGP championship log.
Garrick Vlok (Diamond Core Drilling / Shop #74 Yamaha R1) got the better of Seller in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. The pair were joined on the front row of the grid by Greg Gildenhuys (Autohaus Towing / Transport.co.za Kawasaki ZX10R) with AJ Venter (Lekka Racing Team Hygenica Yamaha R1), Daryn Upton (Paramount Tracks / Fourway Kawasaki ZX10R) and Michael White (Consortium Shipping Yamaha R1) filling the second row.
In the opening race Seller got a shocker of a start, dropping down to seventh in the opening stages. Venter led the way from Vlok for most of the first lap until Vlok made his way to the head of the field. Just when it looked like he might be able to pull away, he lost the front end of the bike and crashed out of contention. This allowed Venter back into the lead, closely followed by White. Seller was slowly making his way through the field and was in fourth behind Upton.
Seller continued making steady progress towards the front and took a hard-fought win from White and Gildenhuys, the trio separated by just of half a second at the flag. Venter ended in a somewhat lonely fourth place with Upton and Brandon Goode (Linex Yamaha R1) rounding out the top six.
In race two Seller made no mistake at the start, leading into the first turn and going on to take a comfortable win. Behind Seller the battle for the minor placings had up to five riders in contention at various stages, but Vlok kept his bike upright to take second from White. Gildenhuys, who had gearbox problems, managed to hang on to fourth ahead of Venter with Morne Geldenhuis (Hi-Tech Racing / NCA Plant Hire Yamaha R1) having his best finish of the season in sixth.
Johnny Krieger (Lekka Racing Team Hygenica Yamaha R1) had two relatively compfortable SuperMasters wins. In the opening race he was joined on the podium by Beau Levey (Motos Blu Cru Yamaha R1) and Neil van Loggerenberg (Motos Blu Cru Yamaha R1) while in the second race Justin Gillesen (Supabets / Sandton BMW Motorrad S1000RR), who crashed in the early stages of the opening race, and Levey took second and third respectively.
Steven Odendaal (Petra Yamaha R6) gave an indication of what was to come on race day when he out-qualified the rest of the Super600 pack, setting a lap time almost 2.5 seconds quicker than his closest rival. That was championship leader Hayden Jonas (MiWay Yamaha R6) with Byron Bester (Hi-Tech Elements / Grange Workwear Kawasaki ZX6) completing the front row of the grid. Behind Bester things were very tight, with the next four riders separated by less than half a second. Jesse Boshoff (Phoenix Payroll Systems Kawasaki ZX6) headed the second row from Blaze Baker (Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) and Malcolm Rudman (Montclair Motorcycles Kawasaki ZX6).
Odendaal grabbed the lead as the lights went out to signal the start of race 1 and raced away from the chasing pack, going on to win by almost 20 seconds. Baker got a great start from the middle of the second row to lead the rest of the field through the first corner. In the early stages of the race it was an eight-way battle for second with Jonas in Baker’s wheel tracks. Jonas had made a change to his bike before the start of the race which resulted in him having handling problems and eventually leading to a high-side crash. While he was able to remount and finish the race, it was way down the field.
With Jonas dropping back before he crashed it was left to the Kawasaki trio of Rudman, Boshoff and Aiden Liebenberg (Fercor Construction / Shop #74) to chase Baker until contact between Rudman and Boshoff forced the former onto the grass, effectively ending his podium challenge. Rudman recovered to finish sixth.
In the end Baker was able to hang on to finish second behind Odendaal with Boshoff joining them on the podium. Liebenberg came home in fourth with the second Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600, piloted by William Friend, in fifth.
In race two it was more of the same with Odendaal checking out at the head of the field. This time Rudman and Boshoff managed to avoid making contact with each other and finished less than quarter of a second apart to take the minor podium places. The Suzukis of Friend and Baker finished fourth and fifth with Liebenberg rounding out the top six.
In the opening SuperJunior race it seemed like Ricardo Otto (Otto Racing / Inex Construction KTM390) had put his pole position to good use but Tyreece Robert (KTM390) wasn’t going to let him have it all his own way. Robert worked his way past Taric van der Merwe (Evolve Nutrition KTM390) into second and the set about closing the gap to Otto. This he did, and with a couple of laps to go Robert moved into the lead, taking the flag just 0.175” ahead of Otto. Van der Merwe was third.
In the second race Robert and Otto fought for the lead in the first couple of laps but Otto, riding with a new front tyre, finally made a pass and was able to pull away. He took a comfortable win with Robert a distant second and van der Merwe again in third.
Luca Balona (Hi-Tech Racing / Grange Workwear Kawasaki) used his pole position to good advantage in the opening 250 Cup race to take a comfortable win from Taric van der Merwe (Evolve Nutrition Kawasaki) and Ricardo Otto (Otto Racing / Inex Construction Kawasaki). Balona made it two out of two in the second race, this time with Otto in second and van der Merwe in third.
Keagan Wessels (Moto Rentals KTM) and Brian Bontekoning (Jaguar Power Products Ducati) had a huge scrap at the front of both BOTTS races. Wessels took the win in the first race but Bontekoning managed to be in front when it mattered in the second race. On both occasions, they were joined on the podium by Thomas Brown (REHAB Racing Ducati).
Lourens Badenhorst (Yamaha) claimed victory in both races in the SuperMasters Regional category.
Barry Meyer (BCP Projects KTM390) won both of the KTM390 Seniors races from James Beattie (KTM390) and Ralph Stoker (RS Trailers / Motos KTM Klerksdorp KTM390).
The next outing for the SuperGP Champions Trophy riders is at Dezzi Raceway on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Saturday, 15 July.
header image: Blaze Baker leads the fight for second in the opening Super600 race