The 2004 LeopardRock.com Superbike Championship will reach its halfway point at the Pretoria Zwartkops Raceway next Saturday (June 26). –
– The occasions will be Rounds 9 and 10 of the country’s most prestigious two-wheeler title chase, and the new 1 000cc Superbike formula’s first visit to the venue. In the process, a Superbike rider could well become the first ever racer to lap the 2,4 km Zwartkops circuit in under 60 seconds – beating car competitors to the ever elusive Magical Minute mark. –
– In line for that achievement – and the logical victory favourites – will be Cell C Suzuki GSXR 1000 riders Hudson Kennaugh and Trevor Crookes. Kennaugh has won seven of the year’s eight races thus far, with Crookes scoring the other victory. The Cell C equipe will therefore approach Zwartkops in an optimistic frame of mind – but various other people will be out to disrupt their serenity severely. –
– Closest to the Suzuki steamroller in terms of title points and pace so far this year has been Autopage Cellular Yamaha R1 rider Greg Dreyer. Backed by defending SA champion Russell Wood on another Autopage Cellular Yamaha R1, Dreyer will dearly wish to break Kennaugh’s winning pattern at Zwartkops. So will brilliant youngster Sheridan Morias, currently fourth in the title standings on a First Technology Honda Fireblade. The 17-year old Morias will enjoy support from First Technology’s Arushen Moodley and Shaun Whyte, on similar Honda Fireblade entries. Having sorted out their new Hondas’ initially erratic handling characteristics, the team should be in the running to spray champagne at Zwartkops. –
– Carrying Kawasaki’s banner on ZX10 Ninja models will be privateers Robert Cragg and Stewart MacLeod. Joining the fray in only the fifth event of the year, the mean green machines have improved race by race, and either of the two riders could upset the Suzuki applecart at Zwartkops. –
– Other privateers with podium potential should be Kreepy Krauly Bioguard Yamaha R1 riders Gavin Ramsay and Greame van Breda. The mid-pack war should feature Robert Portman (Mecer Ducati 999S), Alex Lenearts (Big Boy Scooters Yamaha R1), plus Bike SA/USN riders Donovan Fourie and Charles Grassie. –
– Meanwhile, following disastrous luck thus far, Arlen Ness Aprilia RSV-R riders Garth Norris and Clinton Pienaar will be hoping for a change of pace. The 600cc Supersport category will be headed up by Daryn Upton (Kreepy Krauly Bioguard Yamaha R6), with his closest challengers Robbie Breakspear (Suzuki GSXR), Gareth Agnew (Honda 600F4) and Tertius de Lange on his Tony’s Logistics Yamaha R6. –
– As always, the Superbike brigade will be required to complete next Saturday’s Official Qualifying session plus both of the day’s races on the same set of tyres.