The opening round of the 2019 SuperBike championship at Dezzi Raceway sees the Pirelli supported bikes re-joining the premier national 4-wheeled championships after five years running as a stand-alone series.
The last time the SuperBikes raced at the circuit on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast in a national championship event was back in July 2017 and on that occasion Clint Seller (King Price Yamaha Racing R1) was well on his way to wrapping up another title.
Now running his own team, the multiple champion is out to claim yet another crown in 2019 but will face some stiff opposition despite 2018 champion Michael White’s absence; he has elected to compete on the international stage this year.
Capetonian David McFadden is sure to be up with the leaders. He is very happy with the way the pre-season work he has put in on his RPM Centre Yamaha R1 has turned out. Another Capetonian, Lance Isaacs, will be back in the national championship on his LIR/Superbets Gaming Group BMW S1000RR. The veteran rider brings a wealth of experience to the track and is always competitive.
Image: David McFadden
The Yamaha R1 mounted duo of Dylan Barnard and Garrick Vlok have both shown serious pace in the past while Morne Geldenhuis (Race Craft Motorcycles Yamaha R1) is a proven podium finisher.
Byron Bester (Hi-Tech Racing Yamaha R1) has made the step up to the litre class after spending the past few years paying his dues in the 600 category. The youngster has turned in some impressive times in pre-season testing and is aiming for the podium.
Andre Calvert is another Cape Town-based rider that is making the trip up the coast. He is out on the only Ducati in the field, the Leslie’s Gifts/Omega Real Estate supported Panigale.
Isaacs isn’t the only BMW mounted rider in the field, Heinrich Rheeder will be joining him on the Rheeder Racing BMW S1000RR while Jade Gutzeit, who needs no introduction to Dezzi Raceway, will be making his debut on the Honda Wing Umhlanga CBR1000RR.
In 2018 Blaze Baker (JBR Yamaha/The Rossi Bar Yamaha R6) had to fight until the final round to clinch the SuperSport 600 title and it is hard to see this season being any different.
He has a number of his rivals from last year out to prevent him from claiming a second successive crown. Jared Schultz has made the switch to Yamaha and has had some good results in the regional races on the ASAP R6.
Ricardo Otto (Otto Racing Team Yamaha R6), Dian Nelson (TRD Motorcycles Yamaha R6) Luca Balona (Armadillo Construction/Fibre Technologies Kawasaki ZX6R) and Brandon Staffen (AJH Cooling/RPM Centre Kawasaki ZX6R) all impressed at various stages last year while Aiden Liebenberg (Fercor Construction Yamaha R6), who spent last season competing in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, makes a welcome return to the South African stage.
Image: David McFadden
In addition to these regulars, the top three in the 2018 Super300 championship, Kewyn Snyman (Hillbilly Racing Team Yamaha), Dino Iozzo (King Price Yamaha Racing R6) and Taric van der Merwe (Hi-Tech Racing Yamaha R6), have made the step up to the SuperSport 600 class. All three of them are more than capable of challenging the established riders.
Brad Anassis, the new South Africa SuperBikes series organizer said, “Race fans have been saying that they wanted to see the best of South African circuit racing in a single series. We have now been able to put a series together that gives them what they want.”