Upton leads Cape Superbike thriller

Upton leads Cape Superbike thriller

Cape Town – Visiting SuperGP star Daryn Upton won both Superbike races at the weekend’s Extreme Festival national race meeting at Killarney on his BMW S1000RR but he was made to work hard for it on each occasion, despite the absence of several key competitors.

Gerrit Visser had blown the engine of his Kawasaki ZX-10R in practice during the during the week while Trevor Westman’s brand new 2016 Mad Mac’s ZX-10R was there, but far from race-ready, leaving defending champion Ronald ‘The Red Baron’ Slamet on the BMW Motorrad S1000RR and former regional titleholder Malcolm Rapson (Kawasaki ZX-10R) to defend local honour, along with the remaining member of the Young Guns, Brandon Haupt (MX Clean ZX-10R).

It got worse when Slamet crashed the works BMW in qualifying; rather than trying to rebuild the bike, his crew prepared the similar machine of team-mate Sandra Stammova, who wasn’t entered, with Slamet’s suspension settings and tyres – which meant that Slamet would start Race 1 at the back of the Class A grid, on a bike he’d never ridden before.

RACE 1

Pole man Rapson got a miserable start as Haupt and Upton began carving each other up from the very first corner, with Quintin Ebden (Milu R1) and 600 Challenge hotshot Hayden Jonas (out for the first time on the new Fifty8 ZX-6R) in hot pursuit.

Rapson and Slamet immediately began carving their way through the field but Slamet’s borrowed machine soon developed gearbox issues and after running off the circuit twice on consecutive laps due to “a box full of neutrals” he retired than crash again.

Rapson, by contrast, passed Jonas on lap three and Ebden a lap later, reserving the best seat in the house for the epic duel between Haupt and Upton, who were never more than a couple of bike lengths apart, swopping places repeatedly until Upton made the move that counted into Turn 5 on the final lap and held the advantage to win by 0.352s.

Four seconds behind Rapson in third, Jonas followed Ebden home, having passed the Milu R1 on corner speed more than once, only to be outgunned by the bigger machine on the straights. He was however, almost two seconds ahead of his closest 600 Challenge rival, Warren ‘The Starfish’ Guantario on the Mad Mac’s ZX-6R and was well satisfied with maximum Challenge points.

Alex van den Berg on the Wicked Tuning ZX-6R narrowly got the best of a fierce battle for Class B honours with John Oliver’s Glass It R6 and the Kawasaki r ZX-10R of Leroy Malan.

RACE 2

Rapson got his best start of the year when the lights went out for Race 2 but by the end of lap one Upton and Haupt were out in front again. Nevertheless, the fastest man on the circuit was Slamet, up to fourth on lap one and third by the end of lap two.

Then he hit another false neutral going into Turn 1 and slammed into the tyre wall hard enough to knock himself out briefly and bring out the red flags, forcing a restart for a six-lap sprint.

And what a sprint it was, with Upton and Haupt reprising their earlier showdown and a flying Jonas in third, ahead of Guantario and Rapson, who’d inflicted another dismal start on himself. With three laps gone, however, Rapson had powered past the two 600’s and eventually came home third behind Upton and Haupt, who were separated by less than a second at the flag.

Van der Berg, Malan and Oliver disputed Class B down to the line, finishing within four seconds after a cliffhanger dice.

POWERSPORTS/CLUBMANS

The junior-class races on the day belonged to 15-year-old Powersport rookie Brandon Staffen on the Keating & Jansen SV650, after two thrilling dices with JP Friederich on the Calberg Hydraulics SV650. The two swopped places several times in each race, but both times it was Staffen who was ahead when it counted.

Mike van Rensburg (MVR ER650) followed them home on each occasion while Harry Clifton (MSD Auto Services ZX-10R), Jayson Bulterman (Hondas CBR1000RR), Jannie Stander (Seeker ZX-10R), veteran Bronte Heinrich (Ducati 996 SPS) and Wessel Kruger (Honda VTR1000 SP2) debated top honours in the Clubmans Class, with Bulterman taking the big silverware for the day, ahead of Clifton and Heinrich, after two hard-fought contests.