OTTO CLAIMS 600 TITLE AT RED STAR

In a season shortened by the Covid-19 pandemic, Ricardo Otto (RAW Projects Yamaha R6) claimed the 2020 NGK Spark Plugs South African SuperSport 600 title at Red Star Raceway on Saturday, 26 September. Otto took two second places behind Dino Iozzo (King Price Extreme Yamaha R6) to take the crown with one round left to run. In the SuperBike category, Clint Seller (King Price Xtreme Yamaha R1) shared the victories with Garrick Vlok (DCCS Coring, Cutting and Sealing Yamaha R1) to extend his lead at the top of the championship standings.

In Friday’s qualifying sessions, it was Seller, riding with an injured hand, who set the early pace. He led the way from the first of the Bridgestone SuperBikes piloted by Damion Purificati (Andalaft Racing/Amalgum Welding BMW S1000RR). Seller’s closest rival in the championship race, David McFadden (RPM Center/Stunt SA/Lights by Linea Yamaha R1) ended the first session in third with Blaze Baker (JBR/Rapid Bike Kawasaki ZX10R) in fourth. Otto was the fastest of the 600s, just over half a second quicker than Iozzo. Conditions were slightly better in the second session, with all the riders improving their times. Again, Seller led the way, this time from Vlok with Purificati in third and leading the Bridgestone SuperBike brigade. Iozzo got the better of Otto to lead the way in the 600 class. The wind had picked up in the final session, making things difficult for the riders. Seller elected not to go out, trusting that the time he set in Qualifying 2 would be good enough to keep him at the top of the combined timesheets. Although Vlok went quicker in the final session, he couldn’t get the better of Seller and had to settle for second place on Saturday’s grid. Purificati ended in third with McFadden, Baker and Iozzo filling the second row. Otto was next up ahead of Luca Bertolini (Izinga Worx/Willcom Racing Yamaha R1) and Brett Roberts (Lights by Linea/RPM Center Yamaha R6). Nicole van Aswegen (Gem Auto/Andalaft Racing Ducat) headed the fourth row of the grid with Sifiso Themba (King Price Extreme Kawasaki ZX10R) and Ian Thomas (SA Compressor Hire Kawasaki ZX10R) alongside her.

In the opening race, Vlok and Seller opened a gap from the start, with the defending champion leading the way. The pair were never separated by more than a couple of bike lengths, but the defending champion was just able to hold off Vlok’s bright yellow Yamaha. Behind them, Baker, who got a great start, occupied third ahead of the early dice between McFadden, Iozzo and Purificati. A couple of laps into the race, Purificati had moved up to fourth but then lost the front of his BMW and crashed into retirement. Just as it looked like McFadden was starting to close the gap to the leaders, an old nerve injury returned to spoil his chances of a good result. The Capetonian was unable to exert much power with his right hand, making it difficult to brake. Because of this, Iozzo was able to get away and when McFadden ran off the track, Otto was able to get through. McFadden was able to get back past Otto but couldn’t do anything about the gap to Iozzo. Bertolini, Roberts and van Aswegen were having a battle a little bit further back before Roberts and van Aswegen clashed, sending both of them into retirement. Behind the leading duo, Baker had a lonely race to third with Iozzo the leading 600 in fourth. McFadden managed to hang on to take fifth ahead of Otto with Bertolini, the second of the Bridgestone SuperBike competitors, in seventh. Thomas just managed to get the better of Themba in their race-long duel to take eighth.

In Race 2, Vlok grabbed the lead from the start with Seller, Baker and McFadden tucking in behind him. As they did in the first race, Vlok and Seller soon opened a gap over the rest of the pack. Seller got through into the lead after a couple of laps in Vlok’s wheel tracks, but could not pull away with Vlok looking for a way through almost every lap. While they were running away at the front, Baker again settled into a lonely third place ahead of McFadden, Purificati and Iozzo. McFadden’s nerve problems returned and he pulled into the pits after running off the track again, leaving Purificati and Iozzo battling for fourth on the road. Behind them, Otto led Berlotini until the halfway mark, when the bigger bike was able to find a way through and pull away. Roberts, whose crew worked hard between races to get his bike back together after his crash, was just ahead of Themba and Thomas, who had resumed their first race battle. This, unfortunately, came to an end when the clutch on Themba’s Kawasaki cried enough. Just after the start of the final lap, Seller had opened up a gap that looked like he might be able to hold until the flag but then disaster struck for the King Price Extreme man when his bike stopped on the exit of Turn 6. Vlok just avoided running into the back of the slowing bike to take the lead and his first national SuperBike win half a lap later. Baker crossed the line in second ahead of Iozzo, who got past Purificati on the final lap. Bertolini took fifth ahead of Otto and Roberts with Thomas in eighth. Despite not finishing, Seller had done enough to be classified in ninth.

Vlok took the overall SuperBike class win from Baker and Seller. Iozzo ran away with the SuperSport 600 class ahead of Otto and Roberts while Bertolini took another Bridgestone SuperBike win from Thomas and Themba.

The final round of the NGK SA SuperBike series supported by Bridgestone will take place at Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante Racetrack on 30 & 31 October 2020.

Published by: NGK SA Superbike Series


Picture Caption: 2020 SA SuperSport 600 champion Ricardo Otto
Photography by: Paul Bedford

RED BULL KTM READY TO COME BACK SWINGING

The gates have officially dropped for the 2020 National Motocross season! This is what went down in sandy Port Elizabeth. Captured by Carli Smith for http://www.zcmc.co.za

Red Bull KTM return to the National Motocross Championship

This weekend marks the highly-anticipated return of the National Motocross Championship. The event takes place in Pietermaritzburg this Saturday under strict Covid-19 regulations.
 
All eyes will be on Red Bull KTM’s Tristan Purdon, who will be looking to pick up where he left off at the start of the season. The motocross star left onlookers in awe as he went 1-1 to snatch MX1 victory at the opening round in Port Elizabeth.


After the MX1 title evaded his grasp in 2019, Purdon will leave no table unturned in his pursuit of national glory this year:“I’ve been so excited for a fresh start and to put last season behind me, and winning the opening round was the perfect way to do it! I’ve got my sights set on taking the title this year and nothing is holding me back,” said Purdon.
 
Red Bull KTM teammate Kerim Fitz-Gerald will be looking to make up some championship points in MX1 after battling with some technical issues in the first round. He also lines up as the reigning MX2 champion, and after a solid start to the season will look to come back swinging in defence of his 2019 title.


Rounding out the orange squad this weekend is Jonathan Mlimi. The rider is paving a comeback path in the High School Class after sitting on the sideline for most of the 2019 season due to injury. Mlimi proved in the opening round that he still has the pace to keep up with the frontrunners in his class, and is ready to reinstate himself as a favourite in the race for the highly-sought after High School title.


“It gave me a lot of confidence to see that I’m capable of pushing the pace up front earlier this year, and I’m looking forward to coming back even stronger this weekend!” said Mlimi.
 
Published by:  KTM Motorcycles – Louwrens Mahoney

Photography by:  Carli Smith

HUSQVARNA GEARS UP FOR MOTOCROSS GLORY

HUSQVARNA SOUTH AFRICA IS GEARING UP FOR THE RETURN OF THE NATIONAL MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP


Husqvarna South Africa is gearing up for the return of the National Motocross Championship. After a challenging start to the season, the team is out for redemption as they make their way to Pietermaritzburg for the second round of the series.

Reigning MX1 champion Maddy Malan is about to pull out all the stops in defence of his 2019 title. The rider had an unfortunate crash in the first round that cost him valuable championship points. Undaunted by the setback, Malan will use the same determination this weekend that he did to fight his way back up to the top step last year.

Another rider ready to battle it out for the country’s premier motocross title is Neil van der Vyver. The rising star will line-up on Saturday as the reigning 65cc Champion, also looking to make up some points after a technical issue in the first round.

The young gun boasts an array of titles and is ready to get his hands on the fourth championship of what is undoubtedly a very promising career. Van der Vyver, who has represented Husqvarna South Africa since 2016, is a talent stacked with potential for not only his team, but the future of South African motorsport as a whole.

Rounding out the squad this weekend is 17-year old Dalton Venter. As a new-addition to the team, the rider will be looking to cement his place in South Africa’s official Husqvarna factory team. With a new level of both motivation and support, Venter has entered the season with a strong determination to shake of his ‘rookie’ status and make a name for himself in the MX2 Class.

Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: “PE was a really tough start to our season and the reality of this sport gave us a big wake up – with all that has happened to our world we have had time to rethink and focus. With three current SA Champions in our squad, we are set to show our class once again”

Published by: Husqvarna Motorcycles SA – Fred Fensham

Picture Caption: Dalton Venter at the 2020 National Motocross Championship.

SA SUPERBIKES HEAD EAST

After Zwartkops Raceway hosted the opening three rounds, the NGK Spark Plugs SA Superbike Series supported by Bridgestone heads east to Mpumalanga and the Red Star Raceway for the fourth round of the 2020 championship on 25 & 26 September.

After a slightly disappointing opening round, multiple champion Clint Seller (King Price Xtreme Yamaha R1) has taken victory in the next four heats to lead the litre-class championship by two points from David McFadden (RPM Center/Stunt SA/Lights by Linea Yamaha R1) who has yet to finish off the podium this season. Although Lance Isaacs occupies third place in the standings, he is plying his trade in the USA and is unlikely to be back in action here this year. This leaves Garrick Vlok (DCCS Coring, Cutting and Sealing Yamaha R1) as the most likely challenger to the top two. He had his best-ever outing at Zwartkops at the beginning of August, coming away with two second places.

A crash in the opening qualifying session at the last round brought Blaze Baker’s weekend to a premature end. He will be back on his Kawasaki ZX10R looking for points as will Sifiso Themba who will be out on the King Price Extreme Kawasaki ZX10R.

Lady racer Nicole van Aswegen (Gem Auto/Andalaft Ducati 1299) will be back in action in Bridgestone Superbike class, as will her partner, Damian Purificati (Andalaft Racing/Amalgam BMW S1000RR). Luca Bertolini (Izinga Worx/Willcom Racing Yamaha R1) and Ian Thomas (SA Compressor Hire Kawasaki ZX10R) should also be in the mix.

Ricardo Otto (RAW Projects Yamaha R6) had dominated the 600cc class this season. He has built up a 40-point lead over Jared Schultz (ASAP World Yamaha R6) and it is hard to see anyone taking the 2020 crown away from him if he keeps going as he has been. Dino Iozzo (King Price Extreme Yamaha R6) and Brett Roberts (Lights by Linea/PRM Center Yamaha R6) will be both be back in action at Red Star after they missed the last round due to injury.

After an early morning practice session, Friday will see the riders tackle three qualifying sessions to determine grid positions for Saturday’s races. They are scheduled for 10h45 and 13h45.
Unfortunately, due to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions, no spectators will be admitted to Red Star for the event, however, the event will be live streamed.

Published by: Paul Bedford

Picture Caption: Clint Seller has a slender lead at the top of the championship standings

RPM CENTER RIDERS HEAD TO RED STAR

After three rounds at Zwartkops Raceway, RPM Center riders David McFadden and Brett Roberts will head to Red Star Raceway on 25 & 26 September for the fourth round of the 2020 SA Superbike championship.

Team principal McFadden’s plans for the development of his Stunt SA supported Yamaha R1 were derailed by the Covid-19 lockdown but, even so, he is just two points behind the leader in the championship standings and has a very real chance of challenging for the title. His last outing at the Mpumalanga circuit was back in 2017 where he ended the season on the podium and he remains confident that he will deliver at a track he enjoys.

Brett Roberts had had a difficult start to his circuit racing career. Mechanical problems bedevilled the former motocrosser’s first couple of outings and a huge crash in practice meant he missed the last round. He has recovered from the crash and is looking forward to his first competitive outing at Red Star.

Speaking before the race weekend, McFadden said, “Coming in to the fourth round of the SA SBK championship looking forward to a good weekend. After starting the season with three rounds at Zwartkops, a change in track is welcome. I enjoy Red Star although I haven’t raced there since 2017 when I was on the BMW. I have a good feeling the RPM Center Stunt SA R1 will be the right weapon to go fast around Red Star.”

“Since the last round, we have been working on a few areas we felt the R1 needed improving to get the best out of for my riding style can’t wait to see the changes pay off.”

“Thanks again to all my personal sponsors and team sponsors for keeping the dream alive and motivating us to get the best out of the rest of 2020.”

“I also look forward to having my teammate back for round 4 after missing round 3 due to injury. It’s a new track for Brett, and having never been to Red Star it will be a lot for him to learn but we are confident he will learn quickly and find his pace.”

In addition to the sponsorship from Stunt SA and Lights by Linea, the team acknowledges the support received from RST, Nix Graphics, Arata by Racetec, Forma Boots, TBR Engineering and Schuberth Helmets.

Published by: RPM Center

Picture Caption: David McFadden is second in the championship standings
Photography by: Paul Bedford

DOUBLE VICTORY FOR PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING

Pepson Plastics Husqvarna racing returns to the National Enduro Championship captured by Sage Lee Voges for http://www.zcmc.co.za

BRETT SWANEPOEL AND MATTHEW GREEN STORM TO VICTORY


As riders returned to the National Enduro Championship under Covid-19 regulations, this weekend Pepson Plastics Husqvarna Racing completely stole the show. Both Brett Swanepoel and Matthew Green stormed to victory in the E2 and E1 Class respectively.

Swanepoel entered the event in third overall in the E2 Class and relished the opportunity to fight his way back up the leaderboard. Over the past year, Swanepoel has worked relentlessly to reinstate himself as a force to be reckoned with in the fight for national glory. With a line-up of riders that included names like Scott Bouverie and Blake Guzeit, and an extremely unforgiving route; Swanepoel’s impressive victory was hard-earned.

“I am so stoked to have taken the top step. It was such a demanding day on the bike and the track was so testing and tough on the body. Thank you to my team for all the support,” said Swanepoel.

Swanepoel now holds the red plate in both the National Enduro and Cross Country Championship. With a rider that is spearheading the hunt for national titles, a proud Husqvarna South Africa’s Brand Manager Fred Fensham commented: Brett once again showed that hard work, commitment and dedication pays off. After his win in the E2 class, he now holds the red plate in both National Enduro and National Cross Country – wow!”

Having accomplished his goal of winning the High School Championship, teammate Green stepped up to the E1 Class in 2018 to find his place amongst South Africa’s enduro elite. The victory this weekend was a massive milestone for the prestigious young rider, who not only proved that he has the pace to keep up with the frontrunners in this sport, but the talent to beat them.

“It feels so good to take my first win in the E1 Class! There were so many things that contributed to this victory – the track was amazing, my TE 150i was on point, and my team never skipped a beat. All the months of training for this during lockdown has finally paid off!” said Green.

“What an incredible weekend – the second in a row for the PEPSON PLASTICS HUSQVARNA RACING team. Not sure my nerves can take much more! To win both E1 and E2 for our team is simply amaizing. Matt Green was on the gas from the start and brings home his maiden victory in the class. Very happy and proud of him and the team! Again I must thank Anthony for his meticulous prep of the Husqvarna racing machines and giving the boys the equipment to win on. My best wishes go to Heindrich Aust, the young gun that we are helping out this season and wish him a speedy recovery after taking a nasty fall and injuring his lower back – I’m sure he will be back soon” said Fensham.

Published by: Husqvarna Motorcycles SA – Fred Fensham

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