The opening round of Short Circuit racing at Killarney on Saturday 18 February more than lived up to expectations with a number of new faces, including a few familiar ones from main circuit racing, and tight racing throughout the fields in all three classes.

Justin Priday, Jason Linaker and Nicholas Hutchings set the early pace in the first combined 125/150 Juniors and Seniors race, until Linaker and Hutchings got it all wrong on lap nine, gifting the lead to Priday for just one lap before Max Munton charged through to grab a lead he was to hold until the flag, finishing half a second ahead of Priday with a late-charging Zante Otto in third.

Hutchings led Race 2 from lights to flag, while Linaker worked his way up from fourth at the start to pass first Munton and then Priday for second on the road. After the race, however, Hutchings was hit with a 10-second penalty for skipping the chicane, which dropped him down to third behind Linaker and Priday, with Ms Otto a fighting fourth, half a bike length ahead of Munton.

Priday got the hole shot at the start of Race 3 but had to give best to Linaker on lap three and to Munton on lap six; the three came home in that order, covered by less than 3.5 seconds, with Ms Otto close behind in fourth, having set the fastest lap of the race (a superb 52.489sec) on the final tour.

Of note is the fact that for the first time there were three ladies in this category: Zante Otto and Abigail Bosson were joined by talented rookie Codie, daughter of Superbike racer Hilton ‘Wild Man’ Redelinghuys. In this category, to say ‘You ride like a girl!’ is no longer an insult!

Tristin Pienaar simply romped away with all three Clubsport races, leading every lap bar the first two laps of the final outing, thanks to a superb start by Stavro Michel. Nevertheless, the youngster from Paarl soon reclaimed the lead and went on to a clean sweep for the day, ahead of Michel and Bradley Fenner.

Kyle Hallick grabbed the early lead in the first Super Motards race, only to get it wrong on the first lap – and again two laps from the end! – while Jurgen van Onselen walked away with the race, finishing well clear of Johan Valentyn Jr and Louis Joubert.

The veteran off-roader converted that effort into a clean sweep for the day; Joubert produced a superb charge in Race 2, passing Nenad Veljanovic for third on lap two, but could not catch second placed Valentyn. The battle in Race 3 was all about second place as Van Onselen cruised to a third win; Valentyn, Joubert and  Veljanovic swopped places six times in the first six laps, to finish in that order after a superb battle.