The Yamaha team started their 2003 South African Superbike championship campaign well at Kyalami on Saturday with victory for team leader and titleholder Russell Wood.

The Yamaha team started their 2003 South African Superbike championship campaign well at Kyalami on Saturday with victory for team leader and titleholder Russell Wood.

Woods won both of the day’s races on his Yamaha R6. The Yamaha team had its share of problems. Wood and teammate Greg Dreyer were circulating together in an effort to clinch the two quickest lap times during the morning’s official qualifying session when Dreyer crashed heavily through the 150 km/h Goodyear Sweep.

"I went in hard, drifting slightly, and opened the throttle a fraction too early. The front wheel washed away and I went down, with the motorcycle landing on my left leg," Dreyer said. Dreyer broke his left foot and tore muscles in his back.

"I had not done my best lap when Greg crashed, and could not get a clear run before the end of the session so I ended up second on the grid," said Wood. He was one tenth of a second slower than pole-sitter Noel Haarhoff (Cell C Suzuki) and four-hundreths of a second quicker than third man Shaun Whyte (First Technology Yamaha).

Dreyer’s time on the lap before his crash placed him 12th on the grid and despite his broken foot, he elected to ride the team’s spare Yamaha R6 in the first race. Wood was initially in third place behind Haarhoff’s Suzuki and the First Technology Yamaha of Arushen Moodley. He passed Moodley in the Goodyear Sweep on lap three and and Haarhoff on the following lap. He then dominated proceedings and finished ahead of Moodley and Stewart MacLeod (Cell C Suzuki). Dreyer eventually retired after battling with his broken foot.

In the second, 12-lap race, Wood started in seventh place. "They were going crazy at the front, banging fairings, running on kerbs and charging into corners three abreast. If one of them had fallen, most of them would have gone down, and I had no intention of joining in a crash," he said. Wood eventually took the lead on the seventh tour.

He finally won the race by half a second from Moodley. "We are on track for the title, the Yamaha R6 is certainly the motorcycle for the job, and Greg should be fit for the next race of the season at Killarney in March," Wood said.