There was never any doubt that the historic return of national championship motorcycle racing to KwaZulu-Natal wouldn’t be an exciting and dramatic occasion after an absence of more than 25 years, and so it was.
In an incident-filled day’s racing watched by an enthusiastic crowd of more than 12 000 paying spectators on the newly constructed 2,4-kilometre circuit on the south runway of the old Durban International Airport, round five of the Monster Energy SuperGP Champions Trophy was one to remember.
Current championship leader Clint Seller (Portable Shade Race! Kawasaki ZX10R) bounced back from eighth place in race one of the Monster Energy SuperGP feature category after contact with Garrick Vlok 10R) to score his seventh win of the season ahead of Brandon Goode (CJ Auto Kawasaki ZX10R) and Lance Isaacs (Black Swan Energy BMW S1000RR).
Isaacs was second in race one ahead of Goode, the latter’s best results of the season so far. Although Isaacs scored well on the day, he had hoped for better after his debut win and a second place in the previous round in East London in June.
Dylan White made it a memorable 1-2 for the Portable Shade Kawasaki team by taking the honours in race one – his first win of the season – after starting from second on the grid alongside Seller.
Brent Harran, second in the championship at the start of the weekend, had an inauspicious debut on the Black Swan Energy BMW S1000RR alongside new team-mate Isaacs. He was fourth in Saturday’s SuperPole behind Seller, White, and Goode and could only manage fourth in race one. He didn’t make it to the grid for the start of race two and now sees Isaacs take over his second place in the championship.
It was also all-Portable Shade Kawasaki in the Super600 main support category where local rider Matthew Scholtz from Umhlanga Rocks rode his ZX6R to back-to-back victories ahead of Blaze Baker (Russell Wood, Muscle and Fitness Gym Kawasaki ZX6R) and championship leader Steven Odendaal (Portable Shade Kawasaki ZX6R) on both occasions. Dean Vos (Brother/EmTek Racing Yamaha R6) was fourth in both races.
It was Scholtz’s first time on the top step of the podium after claiming pole position in Saturday’s qualifying and finishing second five times in the previous eight races.
Cameron Petersen’s bad luck continues. After crashing out of the first race in the previous round in East London and not starting the second race, he was again involved in a big crash on his EmTek/Brother Yamaha R6) on the opening lap of race one and took no further part in proceedings. The race had to be stopped to clear Petersen’s bike from the middle of the track
Odendaal still leads the championship after five rounds with 211 points with Scholtz moving up to third on 166 points and Vos dropping back to third with third with 140 points.
Chris Leeson, SA Supersport champion in 2007 and runner-up to Clint Seller in last year’s Superbike championship, made a welcome first appearance at the Monster Energy SuperGP Champions Trophy on a Pride Bulk Logistics/Cazzmania/Emtek Racing Kawasaki ZX10R in the SuperM Challenge. He dominated proceedings, taking pole position in qualifying and comfortably winning both races.
Darien Kayser underlined his promise with second place in both races on the Uncle Andy Racing/DNA Motorcycles Kawasaki ZX600R, the highest-placed 600 cc machine in a category dominated by 1 000 cc machines. Third in race one was Beau Levey (Motos KTM Klerksdorp KTM RC8) with the third step on the podium in race two going to Kyle Robinson (Fantech Kawasaki ZX10R).
Robinson, fifth in race one, retains his challenge lead and now has 166 points. Justin Gillensen (Portable Shade Kawasaki ZX10), fourth and fifth in today’s races, is second with 115 points. Levey, who didn’t score in race two, is third with 97 points.
Lone female rider in this category Janine Davies (More Money/Enbridge Torque-Sure Consultants BMW S1000RR) did well to come from the back of the grid after failing to post a qualifying time on Saturday to finish ninth and eighth in the two races.
“We are delighted to have hosted such an excellent crowd this weekend for the first National Motorcycle Championship Race in 25 years. The fact that we were able to screen the main race live on SABC 3 made all the hard work by the GA Sports team worthwhile,” said Stephen Watson.
“KwaZulu-Natal is starved of premium motorsport events and we must thank the province, The City, Transnet and KDG Logistics for supporting us in our efforts to bring this event to reality. The racing was electric, the large crowd was unbelievable and we are proud to be the promoters of the National Series as it goes from strength to strength. We will continue to work closely with Motorsport South Africa and the sponsors of our Monster Energy SuperGP Champions Trophy to take the National Series to new levels.”
The next round of the championship is at Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria in Gauteng on September 14.