Killarney’s Short Circuit racers celebrated their return to the faster, more flowing Half Main circuit on Saturday 16 with close racing and plenty of unexpected results to keep the spectators guessing.

Defending title-holder Slade van Niekerk (Project Sixty60 SA) got the day off to a fine start with a superb win in the first combined CBR 150 Juniors and Seniors Race, chased all the way by determined HSC rider Nicholas Hutchings, while Justin Priday and Red Beard Racing’s Billy de Beer debated third, finishing in that order just 0.567sec apart.

Then it all went pear-shaped for the reigning champion as he inadvertently jumped the start in Race 2, overcooked it in the race, briefly went off the circuit and finished fifth on the road and ninth after penalties, while Hutchings took a clear win from De Beer and Priday.

As soon as he went out for Race 3, Van Niekerk was aware that he wasn’t going to get his revenge – the Honda’s rear tyre had inexplicably gone flat between races. He battled the evil-handling little machine to a valuable points-scoring fifth place behind Nicholas Hutchings, De Beer, Priday and Braddon Hutchings.

Matthew Vismer, by contrast, after battling for the lead with veteran Malcolm Cochrane all the way in the first combined Motard/Clubsport race and winning by less than half a second, romped away to two dominant wins in the next two outings, well ahead of Cochrane in Race 2. So much so, in fact, that Cochrane pulled a ringer and put Project Sixty60 SA team leader Trevor Westman on the bike for Race 3!

Westman surprised everybody (including himself!) with a hard-fought second in his first ever ride on a motard, narrowly beating talented Junior Johan Valentyn, who had to settle for three third places on the day.

Max Schwerin took three solid wins in the Minimoto races, leading home Hudson Friederich and Mateja de Oliviera in Race 1. De Oliviera only managed five laps in Race 2, while Riley Coleman chased Schwerin and Friederich all the way home for a well-deserved third.

Coleman, now all fired up, put in a superb charge in Race 3 and was leading when his Yamaha high-sided him coming out of the very last corner, flipped in the air and come down on top of him, leaving him with a huge bruise on his leg and a bigger one on his ego!

That left Schwerin, De Oliviera and Bertus Taljaard to take the flag, with Friederich a close fourth; Coleman, having completed seven laps, was actually classified fifth!

The headline event of the day, the Livingstone Baths one-hour lightweight endurance race, was always going to be a battle royal between the two top teams, Project Sixty60 SA (Slade van Niekerk and Trevor Westman) and HSC Racing (Nicholas Hutchings and JP Friederich).

Hutchings grabbed the lead at the start and led for the first 15 minutes, while Van Niekerk slotted in behind him, with Red Beard Racing’s Billy de Beer and Jurg Steyn third. When Westman took over at the first rider change, however, he promptly moved up and passed Friederich, to take over the lead.

At the halfway mark Project Sixty60 SA were holding a tenuous lead on 31 laps, with HSC Racing just half a minute behind and the father-and-son team of Klint and Max Munton a close third, nine seconds further adrift while Red Beard Racing were a lap down in fourth.

The second half of the race saw the two leading teams put lap on the rest of the field, while Red Beard Racing’s Belly de Beer put in his fastest lap of the race to grab third with 16 minutes to go. Red Beard Racing were third, two laps down, with the Muntons less than 20 seconds further back in fourth.