13 Apr RACE REVIEW – POWER SERIES RND 2- BIKES RACE REPORT 9 APRIL 2022
All three motorcycle categories at Round 2 of the 2022 Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors at Killarney on Saturday 9 April produced world-class racing, with winning margins measured in scant thousandths of a second.
Alex van den Berg on the first of the Team GFP GSX-R1000’s got the hole shot to lead the opening lap of Race 1 in the premier South Superbikes category, ahead of Trevor Westman (Team Wayward Project Sixty60 ZX-10R) and defending Regional champion Malcom Rapson (Racebase GSX-R1000).
Westman was determined not to be upstaged, however, and moved into the lead on lap two; a lap later Rapson relegated Van den Berg to third and set about reeling in the leader, setting the quickest two-wheeled lap of the day in the process. By half distance he was less than a bike length behind Westman and showed him a wheel a couple of times – but very few riders have ever succeeded in outbraking the former short-circuit star and Rapson crossed the line a heart-breaking 0.032sec adrift after a magnificent chase.
Five seconds further down, Van den Berg held off a late charge from former Powersport star JP Friederich (GR Tax/Johnny Fox/Table Bay Roadworthy R1) to clinch third.
Rapson was, however, the first Master home ahead of Van den Berg’s father Mark on the second Team GFP GSX-R1000, while Michael du Toit (DM Racing/Quick Pos R1) aced the second-tier Superbike Challenge in seventh overall ahead of Lubabalo Ntisana (LB Auto ZX-10R).
Race 2 was even tighter as Rapson pulled a rocket start to lead off the line with Van den Berg Jr, Friederich and Westman all over him like a rash. By lap three Westman was up to second and on lap six he posted the fastest lap of the race to take the lead – only to be blitzed on the final lap and come home 0.038sec behind Rapson. Van den Berg claimed another hard-earned third, just 0.052 ahead of Friederich, while Lubabalo turned the tables on Challenge rival Du Toit to take the class win by 0.291sec in seventh overall.
When the times for the two races were tallied up, however, Rapson took the South Superbike honours for the day by just six thousandths of a second!
Jamie Hall, newly promoted from the Clubmans’ ranks, had made a creditable Superbike Challenge debut on Master Glass Garden Route R1 – but he also entered the Strato Technology Clubmans/Classic & Breakfast Run Motorcycles category on his Honda CBR600RR – and won Race 1! Second was Breakfast Runner Matthew van Niekerk on his Kawasaki ZX-10R, while Brandon Bramdaw (Quickpos R1) got the best of a cliff-hanger battle for third with Donovan Stevens (Suzuki GSX-R1000), Breakfast Runner Brad Bodsworth (Honda CBR1000RR), Nick Benn (Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Nicho Venter (Yamaha R1), who finished in that order covered by little more than five seconds.
Van Niekerk put in superb Race 2 to become, so far as is known, the first Breakfast Runner to win a Clubmans race outright, with early leader Hall a valiant second, 3.616 seconds in arrears. Third was another Breakfast Runner, Jan Fourie, on the Motoflex GSX-R1000, just 0.313sec ahead of Stevens after a dice that went down to the line.
A surprise feature of this category was the entry of Mario and Hano Ferreira, and William Morries, on three identical yellow BMW R1100S twins – now old enough to run as Classics. They rumbled round at the back of the field, enjoying themselves immensely and finishing in that order in both races.
The first Bridgestone STC 650/SSP 300 race produced arguably the tightest finish ever at Killarney, as David Lindemann (GM Painting Contractors SV650), reigning champion Slade van Niekerk (Project Sixty60 ER650), Jason Linaker (RST Ninja 650), and rising star Tristin Pienaar on the KTM Paarl Kawasaki 650 all finished within 0.078sec – that’s less than a tenth of a second – after an epic race-long four-way battle dice.
Nicholas Hutchings on the HSC Racing RC390 was the first SSP 300 rider home in eighth overall, well clear of Willy van Niekerk’s Midlife Crisis R3 and Mitch Robinson (Mag Workshop Ninja 389) in 11th and 12th overall respectively.
Pienaar got a superb start in Race 2, grabbing the early lead and staying out of trouble while Linaker and Lindemann disputed second. Van Niekerk, by contrast, was sixth at the end of lap one; he put in a flyer on lap three to take second, after which and Lindemann fought it out all the way to the line. Lindemann passed the champion on the penultimate lap to take second by just 0.040sec, while Linaker faded in the closing stages to finish a distant fourth.
Hutchings put in another superb ride to lead the SSP 300 pack, again in eighth overall, ahead of Van Niekerk (10th overall) and Adrian Solomon on the Pool King Ninja 300 (13th overall). Mention must be made, however, of Jarryd Butler, son of commentator Francois Butler, who finished fourth in the SSP 300 class in both races on the Project Sixty60/Rays Towing/Garan Brokers/Ljze Signs/Paige/TSR CBR500 to take third for the day in only his second outing on the Main Circuit. (Stunning shot of Van Niekerk, Linaker, Lindemann and Pienaar in the first Bridgestone STC 650/SSP 300 race by Patrick Vermaak)