04 Mar 27 FEBRUARY 2021 POWER SERIES young guns deliver a powersport thriller
Two teenage riders making the big step up from the Powersport 300cc Class to the 650cc Class took the fight to the established riders in the bigger category at the second leg of Power Series Round 1 presented by Wingfield Motors and Kfm 94.5 at Killarney on Saturday 27 February and produced some of the closest, most hard-fought racing yet seen in this highly competitive class.
Some hard work behind the scenes by the riders themselves had produced a near-record 19 starters, setting the stage for two epic races.
Slade van Niekerk, out for the first time on the Project Sixty60 ER650, and short-circuit rival Jason Linaker, making his 650cc Class debut on the RST ER650, got into a five-way battle for the lead in Race 1 with defending 650cc Class champion Trevor Westman (Roxstar Ninja 650), veteran Paul Medell (Kawasaki ER650) and Supermotard hero Franco Flach (Kawasaki ER 6N) that saw them swopping places on almost every corner until Medell’s Kawasaki broke its conrod at the end of the back straight on lap six and he ran off the circuit.
From there on Van Niekerk, Westman, Linaker and Flach went at it even harder, finishing two laps later in that order with less than a second covering all four. Chris ‘the Green Goblin’ Williams’ Trac Mac ER650 brought him home a lonely fifth after it lost power and dropped out of the front pack in the middle stages of the race.
Sixth overall and dominating the 300cc Class was Kewyn Snyman on the brand new Missile Motorcycles ZX400, well ahead of a race-long battle for seventh between David Lindemann (GM Contractors/Fueled Racing R3) and 650cc Class riders Edward Rolstone (Kawasaki ER 6N) and Rob de Vos (Hillbilly ER650) that ended with the talented youngster ahead of Rolstone and de Vos, all three within 0.270sec. Brett Roberts (Kawasaki Ninja 300) finished 10th overall and third in the 300cc Class.
Race 2, sadly without Medell and Williams, delivered another cracker as Van Niekerk, Linaker, Westman and Flach fought it out in every corner, drafted down the straights and carved each other up like a Sunday roast for eight nail-biting laps, finishing in that order with Flach in fourth less than half a second behind the leader.
Snyman brought the new Missile Motorcycles ZX400 home in fifth, ahead of De Vos, Lindemann (seventh overall and second in class), Rolstone and Roberts (ninth overall abnd third in class).
The South Motorcycle One Hour Superbike Endurance Race was virtually a Haupt family benefit, as Brandon Haupt led almost from lights to flag, riding solo on his 2018 Regional championship-winning Fueled Racing R1. He covered 45 laps in the hour and posted the fastest lap of the race at 1min13.503.
Older brother Bernard and father Peter, meanwhile, finished third on Peter’s brand new 2020 Fueled racing R1M, one lap behind the Mad Macs ZX-10R of Rob Cragg and Donovan Le Coq, the only team to finish on the same lap as the winner after a superb ride by the two SuperMasters riders.
Sadly, two top contenders failed to finish. Late entry David McFadden, riding solo on his father Norman’s StuntSA R1, suffered fuel pressure issues that forced him to withdraw while running second on lap 10, rather than risk destroying the engine.
Kewyn Snyman’s Mad Macs Motorcycles ZX10, meanwhile, picked up an electronic gremlin that took all its rider aids offline. Riding purely by the seat of his leathers, Snyman ran second for most of his stint and actually led four laps while Brandon Haupt made his compulsory pit-stop.
But when he handed the ailing bike over to team-mate Brett Roberts, it died altogether in Turn 2 on Roberts’ first lap and their race.
Fourth overall and second in the Solo Class, only 39 seconds behind Bernard and Peter Haupt, was David Enticott’s Sarum Engineering/Motorwise ZX-10R, three laps ahead of Gavin Louw and Jean-Baptiste Racoupeau on Gavin Louw and Jean-Baptiste Racoupeau on another Kawasaki ZX-10R, fifth overall and third in the Pro Sport Class.
Sixth overall and a remarkable third in the Solo Class went to 57-year-old Mitch Robinson on the Hillbilly EBR 1190 RX, which was one of only two V-twins in the race, the other being the Ducati 999 of Garth Livingstone and Wayne Arendse, which finished seventh overall and fourth in Pro Sport, 19 seconds behind the Buell.