Graeme van Breda scored Kawasaki’s first SA Superbike win of the year at Kyalami on Saturday, while Russell Wood survived two crashes to retain a narrow lead in the championship standings.

Graeme van Breda scored Kawasaki’s first SA Superbike win of the year at Kyalami on Saturday, while Russell Wood survived two crashes to retain a narrow lead in the championship standings.


The drama started during the final minutes of the morning's qualifying as Wood blasted his factory Yamaha over the finish line to snatch pole position with the day’s quickest lap time – and crashed on a 170km/h curve a few seconds later.


Wood escaped with a sprained knee and damaged back muscles but his bike was a write-off, forcing the current champion on to the team's spare bike, reported on Monday.


Suzuki’s Hudson Kennaugh grabbed the lead at the start of the first race with Yamaha riders Shaun Whyte and Arushen Moodley, Wood, privateer Gavin Ramsay (Yamaha) and Van Breda on a works Kawasaki hard on his heels.


Wood carved his way through to the front, passing a rider a lap, finally relieving Kennaugh of the lead on the fifth tour. He hung on to win, chased past the flag by Moodley, Kennaugh, Whyte, Ramsay and Van Breda.


Race two saw another close battle between Kennaugh, Wood, Moodley and Whyte at the front, with Van Breda in close attendance. Then it all went wrong on lap five when Moodley missed a brake marker and rammed into the back of Wood’s Yamaha.


Moodley fell and Wood ploughed through the sand trap with his Yamaha dragging a broken exhaust, while Whyte and Kennaugh slowed to avoid the debris. Van Breda dived past them all to grab the race lead on his Kawasaki and set off on the final five laps.


Determined not to throw away his first win of the season, he made no mistakes to come home ahead of Kennaugh’s Suzuki and Whyte’s Yamaha.


Behind them, Gavin Ramsay crashed his Yamaha heavily in the Esses, allowing Garth Norris on a second official Kawasaki and Sheridan Morias on a semi-private Kawasaki through to take fourth and fifth, ahead of Suzuki’s Stewart Macleod and Trevor Crookes, followed by Wood's team mate Greg Dreyer.


Meanwhile Wood, having pitted to have his Yamaha’s broken exhaust kicked straight, struggled round to take 14th, and one championship point. That leaves him narrowly in the lead in the title chase, ahead of Kennaugh and Whyte, with six of the year’s 20 races still left.


The next round of the 2003 SA Superbike championship will be at Phakisa Raceway on Saturday, October 4.


Results – Race one:

1 Russell Wood (Yamaha)

2 Arushen Moodley (Yamaha)

3 Hudson Kennaugh (Suzuki)

4 Shaun Whyte (Yamaha)

5 Gavin Ramsay (Yamaha)

6 Graeme van Breda (Kawasaki)

7 Sheridan Morias (Kawasaki)

8 Trevor Crookes (Suzuki)

9 Noel Haarhoff (Suzuki)

10 Stewart MacLeod (Suzuki)


Race two:

1 Graeme van Breda (Kawasaki)

2 Hudson Kennaugh (Suzuki)

3 Shaun Whyte (Yamaha)

4 Garth Norris (Kawasaki)

5 Sheridan Morias (Kawasaki)

6 Stewart MacLeod (Suzuki)

7 Trevor Crookes (Suzuki)

8 Greg Dreyer (Yamaha)

9 Alex Lenaerts (Yamaha)

10 Charles Grassie (Yamaha)