It’s been seven months since the new-look stand-alone national motorcycle championship tour, the Monster Energy SuperGP Champions Trophy, blasted into being at Phakisa Freeway in March and now, six rounds and 12 races later, Phakisa hosts the penultimate round this weekend (October 18 and 19).
The first Free State SuperGP, promoted and managed by Johannesburg-based GAS Sports, ushered in a new era for national championship motorcycle racing, with a brand new sponsor, new race categories and Sunday racing. The eight-round tour returns to Phakisa with two national championships and one national challenge finely balanced and promising close and exciting racing as riders jostle for the best end-of-season result.
The premier class and headline act is the Monster Energy SuperGP, a unique South African national championship category for 1 000 cc base-level evo rules machines with limited modifications.
Clint Seller (Portable Shade Race! Kawasaki ZX10R), the 2013 national Superbike champion, heads the SuperGP title chase with 228 points and eight wins from 12 races. His closest rivals are Lance Isaacs (two wins and 218 points) and Brent Harran (one win and 192 points), who are both on Black Swan Energy BMW S1000RR machines. With a maximum of 100 points on offer, one of these three will be the champion in November. Brandon Goode (CJ Auto/Network Blue Kawasaki ZX10R) has 135 points and trails Seller by 93 points, so has only a slim mathematical chance of taking the title.
Dylan White (PS Race! Kawasaki ZX10R) and Garrick Vlok (Pre-Empt Fire and Security Kawasaki ZX10R) are all podium contenders, with White already a winner.
The support categories include Super600, like SuperGP a national championship for base-level 600 cc evo rules bikes with less modifications than the previous Supersport category. Rounding out the menu is the new SuperM, which carries challenge status and covers entries from Super600M, which is equivalent to the Supersport category for modified machines; Superbikes, the existing category for modified 1 000 cc machines; SuperMasters, for SuperGP riders aged over 35 on 1 000 cc bikes complying with the Superbikes technical regulations.
All rounds follow the format of the FIM Superbike World Championship, with practice and qualifying on Saturday and racing on Sunday.
Steven Odendaal (PS Race! Kawasaki ZX6R) with 256 points is the man to beat in the Super600 championship after claiming seven wins and four runner-up finishes. His main rivals are Matthew Scholtz (Portable Shade Race! Kawasaki ZX6R), who won both races in round five in KwaZulu-Natal and is second in the championship with 196 points, and Dean Vos (Emtek/Brother Yamaha R6), who has six podiums and three runner-up finishes to his credit.
The championship will go to one of these three with fourth-placed Blaze Baker (Russell Wood/Muscle and Fitness Gym Kawasaki ZX6R), who is 136 points in arrears with a maximum of 100 on offer, out of contention. Riders to watch this weekend also include Anthony Shelley (Fercor Construction Kawasaki ZX6), Nicholas Kershaw (Tsunami Beach Bar Kawasaki ZX6R) and Cameron Petersen (Emtek/Brother Yamaha R6).
Kyle Robinson (Fantech Kawasaki ZX10) already has one hand on the SuperM Challenge trophy with 217 points and a comfortable 86-point lead over nearest rival Justin Gillesen (Portable Shade Kawasaki ZX10). Third-placed Janine Davies (More Money, Enbridge Torque-Sure BMW S1000RR), the only female rider in the category, has 118 points and a 99-point deficit that virtually rules her out of championship contention.
Promising young rider Darien Kayser is one to watch aboard his Uncle Andy Racing/DNA Motorcycles Kawasaki ZX600R, the highest-placed 600 cc machine in a category dominated by 1 000 cc machines. Two- runner-up finishes in the previous round in Gauteng put him firmly on the map. Teddy Brooke (Kawasaki ZX10) and Beau Levey (Motos KTM Klerksdorp KTM RC8) both have a couple of podium finishes to their credit and will be looking to add to these in the remaining rounds.