National championship motorcycle racing returns to the track when the first round of the 2017 DEOD SuperGP Champions Trophy takes place at Killarney Raceway in Cape Town on Saturday, 25 March.
Clint Seller (MiWay Yamaha Racing R1) will be looking to get back to championship winning ways. The four-time South African champion had a disappointing 2016 season by his normal high standards, ending the season in third place in the SuperGP title race. Michael White (Consortium Shipping Yamaha R1) just managed to grab the runners-up spot in 2016, a great result after making the step up from the Super600 class at the beginning of the year.
The pair are likely to be at the head of the 2017 SuperGP title race considering that 2016 champion, Mathew Scholtz is plying his trade in the AMA Superstock 1000 Series in the USA this year. They won’t have it all their own way though.
Greg Gildenhuys (Autohaus Towing / Murdoch Autobody Kawasaki ZX10) had a number of podium finished last year and will be looking to build on that form in 2017. He could be a serious contender, as could David “McFlash” McFadden, who will be out on a BMW S1000RR. Others who will be out to gain as many points as possible in Cape Town include Lance Isaacs (LIR BMW S1000RR), AJ Venter (Team Hygenica Yamaha Racing R1), and the Paramount Tracks Kawasaki Race Team duo of Daryn Upton and Ivan van Niekerk.
Isaacs will also be looking to repeat last year’s form in the SuperMasters class where he won every race but one on the way to the title. His rivals will include teammate Justin Gillesen, John Krieger who will be mounted on a Team Hygenica Yamaha Racing R1, and Heinrich Rheeder on the Bavarian Motorcycles BMW S1000 RR.
In the Super600 category Adolf Boshoff (MiWay Yamaha Racing R6) will be out to claim another crown after wrapping up the 2016 title with an event to spare. His stiffest competition is likely to come from previous champion Steven Odendaal (Petra Yamaha Racing R6) and Blaze Baker (Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) although, in this category, there are no certainties.
Malcolm Rudman (Montclair Motorcycles Kawasaki ZX6), Hayden Jonas, Byron Bester (Hi-Tech Elements Kawasaki ZX6) and Cameron Aitken have all shown serious pace in the past. They will be joined by a number of youngsters who have made the step up from the SuperJunior category. The likes of Brandon Staffen, Jared Schultz and Gareth Gehlig will all be keen to show they have the speed to run at the front on the bigger bikes.
CJ Hackart is likely to be the man to beat in the SuperJunior category, where the riders are all on identical KTM RC390 machines. His strongest competition is likely to come from Ricardo Otto, Taric van der Merwe and Cape Town local Conor Hagan.
Over the past three years the DEOD SuperGP Champions Trophy has run as stand-alone motorcycle race days. This event is going to be slightly different as the bikes will be joined by some of South Africa’s top national championship four-wheeled categories, making for a great spectacle for Western Cape Motorsport fans. The Cape Town based Mike Hopkins Superbikes will also be joining the SuperGP and Super600 categories.
The basic event format will, however, remain the same with the bikes having a number of practice sessions on Friday followed by qualifying in the late afternoon before each category undertakes two races on Saturday.