SuperGP Champions Trophy: GAS
For the best results: heat the grill till sizzling hot, then braai (BBQ) ... For the best results use—GAS.
Sunday: And before the first Church bell could ring out into the silent morning air, and our prayers hitching rides on eddies of thought Upstairs, we were already at Phakisa Freeway for the—SuperGP! There will be no Church this morning ... next Sunday maybe. (And by the looks of it, we will miss a lot this year: eight in total.)—May God be with us all.
We left early this morning. It is a long drive to the "Capital of South African Motorsport", as the faded signs reads on the doorstep of Phakisa Freeway. Before a tunnel swallows you whole, and guides you through to the entrance of Round One of the SuperGP Champions Trophy: SuperGP, Super600 and SuperM. Believing that we’ve all waited impatiently for this motorcycle race day to finally break ... for a long time. 'GOOOOOOD MORNING PHAKISA!' Just felt like saying that :-)
The vexed question still remains however: why Phakisa? Why not Zwartkops Raceway or Kyalami? (Pretoria is the beating heart of motorsport: approximately 2,9million inhabitants; Welkom, in stark contrast, 211-thousand.) Maybe there is method in their madness?
Our first stop (after a battery of E-toll dreck, eight in total): Wimpy Kroonvaal! As per usual, I order my regular Hashbrown Splashdown breakfast. Women don’t do that: they have to peruse the menu thoroughly (and it feels like forever). Up and down, as if they gonna discover something extraordinary ... With that came two mega coffees and a ton of free toast (our waitress must have liked my knackered Gauteng expression). In the backdrop Berlin (the famous 80s band) sang to whomever was listening: Take My Breath Away ... followed by A Good Heart, by Feargal Sharkey. Karma must have had something to do with this—but what?
From the R70 (towards Odendaalsrus) we took the first road leading into Phakisa Freeway (just across the Phakisa mine headgear). Two friendly security guards stopped us, with an almost Nazi-like salute. We are not supposed to enter here. Public parking is the next road. So quite a few publics made a U-turn for the next entrance (not used to this kind of treatment).
'This must be SOME "DO",' I uttered to Mart. Flashed the MSA Media Accreditations, and off we went. Little did we know that we will be stopped another three times. No wonder the public area attendance were so low. At security point four, we were asked to get additional tags to hang around our necks: 'Track, Media?' 'Media, thank you.' In the same breath I also asked for an official race programme and poster.
The front cover sports Chris Walker, rider no. 9 (British Superbike Championship), on a very fast Kawasaki ZX10R; and the same number 9 figure, is also on the official poster. Now why would this be? Where are our local boys' and girls' photos? Flip through the programme, and Tom Sykes (WSBK fame) occupies two slots: page fourteen and back-cover. "No. 1 Plate. Every racers dream" (reads the back-cover). It IS every racer’s dream to one day wear the No. 1 Plate—Clinton Seller has dreamed it, earned it ...
We don’t normally see these types of professionally designed programmes, neither posters at these events. But damn, I would’ve liked to see Clinton Seller #1 (last year’s Supebike 1000cc champion) and Cameron Petersen #1 (SuperSport 600) sporting these pages—something that we can relate to!
It was—definitely—not all doom and gloom (except for the leaden sky, that had a few worried):
Ryan Ottens #64 and Kyle Robinson #18 (in the SuperM class) put up a hell of a prize-fight in both races. I would even go as far as to say, that it was the best one for the day. (And from where I was standing: the start of the back-straight, I would like to see that same kind of tenacious-racing-style from Kyle in the ZX10 Cup.)
Ryan took both top podiums for the day in a best time of: 1:40.205, scooting a very fast BMW S1000RR HP4. Trivial information for the masses: Convert this to average velocity (m/s) (distance in meter, divided by time, in seconds), and you sit with 42.5 meters per second—impressive. I don’t even want to know how much he throttled out on the back-straight itself. Afterwards he (Ryan Ottens) gave us an elated burnout on his Beemer.
Both SuperGP top podium spots were taken by Clinton Seller #1 (on a Kawasaki ZX10R)—with ease ... I must say. And believe it or not: Nicolas Grobler #22 is back in his old skin. Last year the Witbank "boytjie" did not fare so well on his Kawasaki ZX10R. Well, my dear Readers, he is back in true form, on a BMW S1000RR (used to race a chrome Beemer in 2012 also, remember?). You will immediately recognise the difference. The GME BMW Team had suffered a few minor technical problems during the morning (before the first racing event), however, confident Grobler still managed to secure two second place wins, with best times of 1:39.485 and 1:38.392.
Overall: Third place belonged to Brent Harran #77 (Kawasaki ZX10R), forth: Lance Isaacs #38 (BMW S1000RR); and fifth: Greg Gildenhuys #34, also on a S1000RR. Afterwards I spoke to Greg, and he left me with this inspirational thought (and I paraphrase): 'I did the best with what I had.'
The back order was filled by Ivan van Niekerk #59, in 11th place, on a BMW S1000RR (Dad Kiwit was not a happy man at all, with reason). 12th belonged to Dylan White #23, straddling a Kawasaki ZX10R. Closing the gate in 13th place: Robert Portman #86, racing a Yamaha R1.
Overall (600): Places one to six of the Super600 churned out the following results: Steven Odendaal #44 (took two top podiums for the day—Congratulations!), Kawasaki ZX6R; Mathew Scholtz #120, Kawasaki ZX6R; Anthony Shelley #74, Kawasaki ZX6R; Cameron Petersen #1, Yamaha R6; Nicholas Kershaw #55, Kawasaki ZX6R, and Dean Vos #49, racing a Yamaha R6.
The back order was filled by: Themba Khumalo #18 (Honda CBR600), Allan-Jon Venter #39 (Triumph 675); Darryn Binder #40 (Suzuki GSXR600), Kevin Redman #76 (Yamaha YZFR6). To close the gate in 18th: Loumari Grobler #17 (get well soon girl).
As Robbie Petersen said to me: 'Let's support them (referring to GAS Sports).' I agree whole heartedly. Let's give our support and see where this new motorcycle-racing endeavour will take us. (Definitely not down the hole with Alice.)
For the best results: heat the grill till sizzling hot ...; for even better RESULTS, come and see our local heroes in action in the next SuperGP Champions Trophy, and truly see how to cook with—GAS. —Godspeed! •
SuperGP Champions Trophy: Nicolas Grobler #22
Nicholas van der Walt #42
Brandon Goode #71
Lance Isaacs #38
Brent Harran #77
Ryan Ottens: SuperM
—How to burn a Pirelli.
SuperGP Champions Trophy, SuperGP, Phakisa Freeway, South African Motorsport, 2014/02/01.  Wikipedia.