29 Sep RACE REVIEW: SHORT CIRCUIT RACING 25 SEPTEMBER 2021
TIGHT RACING ON KILLARNEY SHORT CIRCUIT
The penultimate round of the 2021 Short Circuit Racing season at Killarney on Saturday 25 September produced some of the closest racing seen so far this season, from some of the biggest fields in all five categories.
Series champion Slade van Niekerk won all three CBR150 races in fine style, chased all the way in the first two outings by in-form Connor Hagan, who came home 2.578 seconds adrift in Race 1, well ahead of cousins and HSC team-mates Nicholas and Brad Hutchings, less than a second apart in third and fourth respectively. The closest finish of the race, however, was the fight for sixth, where Willy van Niekerk (Slade’s father), Abigail Bosson and Justin Priday finished in that order, covered by little more than a second after a race-long dice.
The fight for line honours in Race 2 was a classic, as Van Niekerk held off a determined charge from Hagan to win by just 0.591sec. Third went to Ms Bosson, after a superb dice with Brad Hutchings and Billy de Beer that saw all three finish within 1.246 seconds.
Sadly, the excitement proved too much for Hagan’s NPH Honda and he did not come out for Race 3, which saw Van Niekerk romp away to win by 15 seconds from Nicholas and Braddon Hutchings, De Beer, Van Niekerk Sr and Ms Bosson, who got the best of an epic three-way battle for sixth with Priday and SuperMasters star Jacques Ackermann, as all three came home within less than a second.
The combined Super Singles and Super Motard races produced an unexpected confrontation between one of each category, as Trevor Westman on the Project Sixty 400 Ninja fought it out with Gareth Gehlig’s Honda 450 Motard for line honours in all three races.
Gehlig held the early lead in Race 1 until Westman passed him on lap six and pulled away to win by 4.325 seconds, with Matthew Vismer third, also on a motard. Race 2 was a lot tighter, as Westman held on to an early advantage to win by less than a second, while Motarders Vismer and Rohan Swanepoel followed at a respectful distance in third and fourth respectively.
Gehling got the hole shot in Race 3 and held onto a tenuous lead – with Westman hooting cheekily every time they passed the camera in Turn 2! – until three laps from the flag, at which point Westman dived through and fended off everything Gehlig could throw at him to win by three seconds, with Vismer third again 16 seconds further adrift.
Westman said later that while the motard could accelerate harder out of corners, the sports chassis of his Kawasaki enabled him to run higher mid-corner speeds, which gave him the slight advantage he needed.
Darren Liebenberg, driving the only Class X entry, dominated all three Formula M races but the real excitement was behind him as Class B rivals Fuaat Gamiet and Philip Jonas got into it in a big way in all three races. Race 1 ended badly for Gamiet, however, as he dropped right back in lap four and retired a lap later, leaving Ryan Kat, Shaakir Holliday and Jonas to chase Liebenberg home.
Gamiet was back in Race 2 for a ding-dong battle with Kat, until Kat went out on lap eight, while Jonas put in a late charge to finish third, less than a second behind Gamiet. Race 3 was even closer, with Jonas just 0.824sec behind Gamiet at the flag.
The Mini Moto pocket bike races for riders between four and fourteen years old attracted no less than nine entries but it was Caleb Boniface who showed them all a clean pair of heels to take three wins on the day, followed by Aaron Lindemann in the first two races and Mogammad Adams in the final outing.
Storm Williams was third in race 1, just ahead of Max Schwerin. In Race 2, however, the final podium position went to Adams by little more than half a second from Williams. Adams then put the cherry on the top of a good day’s racing with second in Race 3 just ahead of Lindemann and Williams.