Mathew Scholtz got his 2016 championship chase off to the best possible start when he piloted his ETR Yamaha R1 to two convincing wins at the Mpumalanga SuperGP at Red Star Raceway on Saturday, 20 February.
Scholtz showed that he meant business when he beat Clint Seller (NeoLife Africa Yamaha R1) to pole position on Friday afternoon. While there was only 0.24 seconds between the two of them, they were over a second quicker than the next rider, Anthony Shelley (Fercor / Tarpave/ Supreme Yamaha R1). The first of the BMWs, in the hands of Daryn Upton, headed up the second row of the grid with Brandon Goode (Linex Yamaha R1) alongside him. Veteran Lance Isaacs (LIR BMW S1000RR) qualified on the outside of the second row.
Seller and Shelley both got past Scholtz when the lights went out but it only took a couple of laps for Scholtz to get past Shelley and set off after the defending champion. A couple of laps later it all went wrong for Seller. He crashed at the final turn and while he was unharmed, the same could not be said for his Yamaha R1. This left Scholtz with a comfortable lead, which he held to the flag.
Shelley led the chasing pack ahead of Upton with Michael White (Consortium Shipping Yamaha R1), who showed good form on is first outing in the premier class to finish fourth. The Kawasaki ZX10Rs of Brent Harran and Greg Gildenhuys completed the top six.
When the bikes came out for race two there was a gap on the front row of the grid. While Seller’s crew had got his bike back together after his first race crash, it would not start and he was left to watch from the side lines. Scholtz again had a comfortable win but the fight for the remaining podium positions wasn’t decided until the flag. White worked his way through the field to join Shelley and the pair ran nose-to-tail for lap after lap. In the end Shelley just managed to hold off White. Upton again led the BMW challenge finishing fourth ahead of Isaacs with Goode in sixth.
The SuperMasters Inter Provincial Challenge was run in conjunction with the SuperGP races; the bikes have to comply to the same rules. Isaacs, who finished just outside the top six in the overall classification, claimed the win in the first race ahead of Jacques van Wyngaardt (BMW S1000RR) and team mate Justin Gillesen (LIR BMW S1000RR).
In race two it was again Isaacs on the top step of the podium. This time Gillesen was second ahead of Damion Purificati (Honda).
Adolf Boshoff (NeoLife Africa Yamaha R6) celebrated his move to the Anassis Racing team by claiming the first Super600 pole of the season from Steven Odendaal (Yamaha R6). Dorren Loureiro (Moto Rentals Kawasaki ZX6) completed the front row of the grid. Dylan Barnard (Kawasaki ZX6) headed the second row of the grid ahead of the Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR 600 machines in the hands of Darien Kayser and Blaze Baker.
When the lights went out to signal the start of the first race it was all about the two Yamahas at the head of the field. Odendaal grabbed the lead from the start but has Boshoff in his wheel tracks. Boshoff eventually found a way past the defending champion but could not pull away and they crossed the line separated by just 0.02 seconds. Baker worked his way up to third, giving Suzuki a podium on their return to national championship racing. Lourerio experienced a few problems with is bike but managed to nurse it home into fourth place ahead of Nicole van Aswegen (Triumph 675) and Byron Bester (Kawasaki ZX6).
In race 2 Odendaal had a completely different strategy. He went flat out from the lights, opening up a substantial gap over the chasing pack led by Boshoff, and was then able to control things from the front. He crossed the line 11 seconds ahead of Boshoff with Baker again taking third. Van Aswegen went one better than the first race taking fourth ahead of Bester and Kewyn Snyman (Honda CBR600).
In the SuperJunior category, where riders compete on identical KTM RC390 machines, the national and regional competitors ran together and it was a regional competitor who emerged on top after qualifying. Aiden Liebenberg grabbed pole from Tyreece Robert and Camron Hackart. Brandon Staffen headed the second row of the grid from Dominik Doyle and Ricardo Otto.
In race 1 Liebenberg ran away at the head of the field to take a comfortable overall and regional win. In the national category Staffen, Hackart and Robert were involved in a three-way dice for the lead until an off-track excursion dropped Hackart down the field. He recovered to third but couldn’t catch the top two. Staffen took the win from Robert. Doyle, Luca Coccioni and Chase Hulscher competed the top six.
Staffen had things slightly easier in race two winning by over two seconds from Hackart and Robert. Doyle and Coccioni again took fourth and fifth respectively with Lance Marais in sixth.
Northern Regions Racing
In 2016 the SuperGP Champions Trophy competitor have been joined by the Northern Regions riders at the inland events.
Thomas Brown (Ducati) had two relatively comfortable wins in the BOTTS class. In race one he was followed to the line by Johan van der Merwe Junior (Ducati) and Jason Wessels (KTM). Wessels got the better of van der Merwe in race 2 to take second.
Brown also took the regional SuperMasters class A wins. On both occasions Kyle Robinson (Ducati) and Hendrick Fourie were second and third respectively.
In the Ladies Cup Cidney Farinha (Kawasaki) won both heats from Sandra Shelley (Kawasaki ZX6) and Savannah Woodward (Monroe Racing Honda).
Joe Herbig won the opening race of the Breakfast Run class. He was followed over the line by Tyron Walters and Pierre Vorster. In the second race Aiden Oosthuizen took the win from Herbig and Walters.
Dylan Gray and Nico van der Merwe traded wins and second places in the two Formula Extreme races. Gray took the first heat with van der Merwe coming out on top in race two. On both occasions they were followed home by Byron Rothquel.
Luke MacGreggor won both heats in the 250 Cup. Aiden Liebenberg and Luca Balona followed him home on both occasions.
Dave Griffin and Vaughn Swanepoel shared the wins in the KTM 390 Seniors class. Torrin Wainwright was third in both races
The SuperGP Champions Trophy next heads for Phakisa Freeway near Welkom where the second round will take place on Saturday, 12 March 2016.