The first South Superbikes/Superbike Challenge/Masters/600s race at Round 5 of the 2022 Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors on Saturday 9 July was shaping up for a four-way showdown between Malcolm Rapson (Racebase GSX-R1000), JP Friederich (GR Tax/Johnny Fox’s Pub R1), Hilton Redelinghuys (out for the first time on the 888 Motorcycles ZX-10R) and Jacques Ackermann (Project Sixty/Barker/Stepp Durbanville ZX-10R) when Superbike Challenger Jonathan Schwerin hit the pit wall on lap four.

Schwerin walked away but his Kawasaki ZX-10R was in pieces all over the Porsche Club Straight and the race was stopped.

Redelinghuys grabbed the lead at the restart but was mugged by Friederich three laps from the end, while Rapson sized them up and went to the front a lap later. Then, on the very last lap, Redelinghuys’ chain broke, leaving Friederich and Ackermann to follow the defending champion home.

Twenty seconds later, Matthew van Niekerk on the De Brasserie/Motorwise ZX-10R just beat Michael du Toit’s Danie Maritz Racing/Quickpos R1 for fourth overall and Superbike Challenge honours on aggregate times, while Paul Medell (Ducati Panigale) beat Jamie Hall (Master Glass Garden Route R6) for the 600 class win in sixth overall.

Race 2 started in light rain, with Rapson leading from Friederich, Redelinghuys and Ackermann. At the start of lap two Ackermann passed Redelinghuys for third under braking, but conditions were becoming treacherous, particularly at Malmesbury Sweep, the northernmost point of the circuit.

As the field swept through the fast, double-apex corner for the second time, two riders went down, followed by a third, and three more went farming to avoid the carnage. It was too dangerous to continue, so the red flags came out.

Earlier, the three Young Guns of the Bridgestone STC 650/SSP300 category – reigning champion Slade van Niekerk (Project Sixty60 ER650), Jason Linaker (RST Ninja 650) and KTM Paarl 650 rider Tristin Pienaar – fought it out for the lead in Race 1, to finish in that order within less than two seconds.

Nicholas Hutchings (HSC KTM RC390) was the first SSP300 Class rider home in seventh overall, with rookie Adrian Solomon (Pool King Ninja 300) and class doyen Mitch Robinson (Mag Workshop Ninja 390) right behind him.

Race 2 delivered by far the closest finish of the day in any category as Linaker took the early lead, only to be relegated to second on lap two by Pienaar, and pushed down to third by the reigning champion a lap later. Van Niekerk went to the front on lap four but was unable to make any kind of a break, as Pienaar and Linaker swopped places on almost every lap in their efforts to get on terms with him.

Nine nail-biting laps later they took the flag in that order, all three covered by little more than a tenth of second!  Hutchings improved his position at the top of the SSP300 class, finishing sixth overall, with Solomon and Jarryd Butler (Project Sixty60/Ray’s Towing/Garan Brokers/Lize Hondas CBR500) second and third respectively in class after a race-long battle with Robinson and Braddon Hutchings (HSC RC390) that saw the four riders cross the line within 0.373sec.

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