Despite dominating proceedings at the front of the litre-class field, David McFadden (RPM Center/Stunt SA/Lights by Linea Yamaha R1) could not prevent Clint Seller (King Price Xtreme Yamaha R1) from claiming his seventh South African championship title at the final round of the 2020 NGK Spark Plugs South African SuperBike Series held at Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante Racetrack on Saturday, 31 October. Newly crowned champion Ricardo Otto (RAW Projects Yamaha R6) shared the SuperSport 600 heat wins with Dino Iozzo (King Price Extreme Yamaha R6) while Sifiso Themba (King Price Extreme Kawasaki ZX10R) took the second Bridgestone SuperBike class win after first heat winner Lubabalo Ntisana (LB Auto Kawasaki ZX10R) crashed out of the lead.
After a disappointing outing at the previous round, where the recurrence of an old nerve injury spoilt his chances of a decent points haul, McFadden bounced back in Friday’s qualifying sessions, topping the timesheets in all three to claim pole position for both heats. He was just over half a second quicker than Seller, who just got the better of Garrick Vlok (DCCS Coring, Cutting and Sealing Yamaha R1). Otto led the way in the 600 class, taking pole position from Iozzo with Brett Roberts (Lights by Linea/RPM Center Yamaha R6) not far behind on his first visit to Aldo Scribante. The Bridgestone SuperBike grid was headed by Ntisana with Themba and Ian Thomas (SA Compressor Hire Kawasaki ZX10R) alongside him.
In the first heat, McFadden grabbed the lead from pole and opened up a substantial gap which he was then able to manage, taking the win by nearly eight seconds. After an early battle with Vlok, Seller, knowing that second place would give him the championship, rode a tactical race to make sure of the title. Vlok had to settle for third. A poor start hindered Iozzo’s 600 challenge in the opening heat. Although he was able to narrow the gap to Otto, he had to settle for second behind the rider from George. Roberts was another who didn’t have a great start but his race didn’t improve. A huge crash through the high-speed Hangar corner ended his race day. Luckily he wasn’t hurt, but his bike was a write-off. Ntisana and Themba had a great fight for the Bridgestone SuperBike win, with Ntisana just in front at the flag. Thomas was keeping a watching brief until he crashed out.
In the second race, McFadden again grabbed the lead when the lights went out, but he ran wide at the final corner of the opening lap allowing Seller into the lead. For the next couple of laps, Seller led the way with McFadden and Vlok just a couple of bike-lengths behind. Vlok had a spectacular dismount on the main straight after his bike burst into flames, leaving McFadden to challenge the newly crowned champion. This he did just a lap later and went on to take his second win of the day by almost 10 seconds. Otto looked like he was going to take his second SuperSport 600 win of the day when he opened up a substantial gap in the early stages of the race but Iozzo had other ideas and slowly closed the gap, taking the lead on the final lap to claim victory. Ntisana and Themba resumed their battle at the front of the Bridgestone SuperBike field, but Ntisana crashed out early on, leaving Themba to take his first win.
McFadden’s two heat wins gave him the overall SuperBike class win from Seller and Vlok. Iozzo’s second race win was enough to take the overall win in the SuperSport 600 class ahead of Otto while Themba the Bridgestone SuperBike win from Ntisana.
Published by: NGK SA Superbike Series
Picture Caption: Clint Seller, David McFadden and Garrick Vlok fight for the lead
Photography by: Paul Bedford