As the final stretch of the 2017 DEOD SuperGP Champions Trophy approaches, the riders made their way down to Dezzi Raceway on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast for the sixth round of the championship on Saturday, 15 July. Clint Seller (MiWay Yamaha Racing R1) continued his winning ways in the opening SuperGP race, but a mistake in the second allowed Greg Gildenhuys Gildenhuys (Autohaus Towing / Transport.co.za Kawasaki ZX10R) to take the second race win. Nonetheless, Seller still has a comfortable championship lead.
After sitting out the opening practice session, Seller topped the time sheets in all the other sessions before going on to grab pole position in Friday afternoon’s qualifying session although he was less than four one hundredths quicker than Gildenhuys. David McFadden (Sandton Auto / BMW Motorrad S1000RR) looked to have found some of his early season form with a fine third place. AJ Venter (Lekka Racing Team Hygenica Yamaha R1), Michael White (Consortium Shipping Yamaha R1) and Morne Geldenhuis (Hi-Tech Racing / NCA Plant Hire Yamaha R1) filled the second row, their times within 0.12” of each other.
As he has done so often in the past, when the lights went out at the start of the opening race, Seller grabbed the lead, put his head down and opened up a substantial gap over the chasing pack. As the performance of his tyres dropped off Gildenhuys was able to chase Seller down but ran out of laps before he could mount a serious challenge. Venter and McFadden spent most of the race in a battle for the final podium position before Venter was able to open a slight advantage in the closing stages. White and Lance Isaacs (Supabets / Sandton BMW Motorrad S1000RR) rounded out the top six.
In race two it was again Gildenhuys chasing Seller until an uncharacteristic mistake from the Yamaha rider saw him drop down the field. He did recover to finish fifth ahead of Issacs. With Seller no longer in his sights, Gildenhuys was able to control things from the front and went on to claim his second win of the season. Venter and White completed the podium with McFadden in fourth.
Despite his first non-podium finish of the season, Seller still has a comfortable 47-point lead at the top of the championship log over Gildenhuys. White remains in third but now has Venter just three points behind him. McFadden and Isaacs complete the top six.
Jade Gutzeit (Dunlop / Dezzi Ducati) used his local knowledge to full advantage, taking two relatively easy wins in the SuperMasters category. In both races, he was followed over the line by Johnny Krieger (Lekka Racing Team Hygenica Yamaha R1). Heinrich Rheeder (BMW Motorrad / Rheeder Racing S1000RR) completed the podium in the opening race with Beau Levey (Motos Blu Cru Yamaha R1) taking third in the second race.
Krieger’s two second places have moved him up to the top of the SuperMasters championship log, six points ahead of Rheeder. Levey is a further 14 points back in third.
Championship leader headed for Dezzi, Hayden Jonas (MiWay Yamaha R6) had a major crash during qualifying which stopped the session. While he was released from hospital on Friday evening, he was barred from any further participation on medical grounds. Steven Odendaal (Petra Yamaha R6) had done enough in the abbreviated session to claim pole position by only 0.021” from Blaze Baker (Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) with Malcolm Rudman (Montclair Motorcycles Kawasaki ZX6) joining them on the front row. William Friend (Uncle Andy Racing Suzuki GSXR600) headed the second row from Aiden Liebenberg (Fercor Construction / Shop #74 Kawasaki ZX6) and Jesse Boshoff (Phoenix Payroll Systems Kawasaki ZX6).
Race 1 was a thriller with Baker, Odendaal and Rudman in a three-way fight for the lead and Friend just a little further back keeping a watching brief in fourth. After 16 laps of hard racing, Baker took the flag a couple of bike lengths ahead of Odendaal with Rudman completing the podium. Friend took fourth ahead of Byron Bester (Hi-Tech Elements / Grange Workwear Kawasaki ZX6) with Liebenberg in sixth.
Baker didn’t get the start he wanted in the second race which allowed Odendaal to get away at the front while Rudman, Liebenberg, Friend and Baker fought over the remaining podium positions. Rudman crashed but remounted and worked his way back through the field to take sixth. Ahead of him, Baker got past his team mate to take second behind Odendaal. Friend claimed his first podium position of his Super600 career ahead of Bester and Liebenberg.
With Jonas not scoring any points at Dezzi, he has now dropped down to third on the championship log, 40 points behind new leader Odendaal and 17 behind Baker who is now in second. Liebenberg remains fourth ahead of Rudman and Boshoff, who crashed out in the early stages of the opening race but recovered to score valuable points in the second.
Tyreece Robert (Uncle Andy Racing KTM390) and Taric van der Merwe (Evolve Nutrition KTM390) traded fastest laps throughout Friday’s practice sessions but, when it came to qualifying it was Kewyn Snyman (Otto Racing / Inex Construction KTM390) who emerged on top, two tenths ahead of Robert. Ricardo Otto (Otto Racing / Inex Construction KTM390) claimed third ahead of sister Zante. Blake van der Merwe (Evolve Nutrition KTM390) while mechanical problems prevented Taric setting a time.
Robert, Ricardo Otto and Snyman were involved in a battle for the lead in the early stages of the opening race before Robert was able to open a gap which he slowly extended, taking the flag nearly five second ahead of Taric van der Merwe who fought is way up to second from the back of the grid. Ricardo Otto took the final podium position with Snyman, Zante Otto and Blake van der Merwe completing the top six.
Robert’s hope of a second win were dashed before the start of the second race when his bike cried enough on the warm-up lap. Taric van der Merwe again had to work his way through from the back of the grid and took the win from Ricardo Otto and Snyman.
Taric van der Merwe has extended his lead in the SuperJunior championship to 16 points, but with 100 points on offer at the final two rounds, both Ricardo Otto and Robert, who is in third place 20 points behind Otto, have a chance at the 2017 title.
The penultimate round of the 2017 DOED SuperGP Champions Trophy takes place at Phakisa Freeway outside Welkom on Saturday, 26 August.