Local motorsport’s bravest warriors will do battle at one of local motorsport’s toughest circuits next Saturday (April 3), with the outcome virtually impossible to predict. The Western Cape Killarney circuit will host Rounds 3 and 4 of this year’s LeopardRock.com South African Superbike Championship. -

- It will be the Superbike brigade’s first visit to a coastal circuit since changing their transportation mode from modified 600cc motorcycles to near standard 1 000cc Superbikes. The year’s opening race meeting on AA Kyalami at the end of February saw most teams taking to the circuit with brand new, virtually unchanged road machines. That left the Cell C Suzuki team’s Trevor Crookes and Hudson Kennaugh to win the day’s respective two races easily on their older, race-tuned GSXR 1000R models. That would have been their last easy victories of the year. Over the past month, all other teams in the business worked ceaselessly to fine-tune their new 1 000cc mounts for the tasks of circuit competition - and it will show at Killarney. -

- Topping the entry list will be defending South African Superbike Champion Russell Wood, joined in the Autopage Cellular Yamaha team by former multiple Champion Greg Dreyer on brand new Yamaha YZF-R1 models. Both Wood and Dreyer should challenge for victories at Killarney, with Capetonian Dreyer enjoying massive support from the partisan crowd. Also on 2004 Yamaha YZF-R1 models will be the Kreepy Krauly Biogard team’s Gavin Ramsay and Graeme van Breda, with both riders certainly able to mount the podium steps. The Yamaha equipes will face a stern challenge from Honda, with their new CBR 1000 RR Fireblade models ridden by the First Technology team’s Shaun Whyte, Arushen Moodley and youngster Sheridan Morias. The Hondas have exhibited huge top speed abilities during testing - a characteristic that could serve the First Technology riders well down the Killarney circuit’s long back straight. -

- Also in the fray - and hoping to overcome a slight horsepower disadvantage with their 999S models - will be the Ducati team’s Stewart MacLeod, Lance Isaacs and Robert Portman. The riders expect their Italian mounts to be extremely agile through the twisty Killarney infield - hopefully cancelling out their top velocity handicap down the straights. -

- Not to be left out of the equation will be top privateers Noel Haarhoff (IM Tech Telecoms Suzuki GSXR 1000R), Donovan Fourie (Bike SA USN Honda CBR 1000), Rob Cragg (Suzuki GSXR 1000R) and Alex Lenaerts on a Yamaha YZF-R1. -

- Making their South African competition debut will be Aprilia, with their Arleness RSV 1000R Mille models handled by Garth Norris and Clinton Pienaar. Though still unsorted, the two Italian motorcycles should attract a lot of attention, and their pace may surprise, first time out. -

- Running quick machines in the 600cc category will be the likes of Dino de Wet (Autopage Cellular Yamaha), Tertius de Lange (Kreepy Krauly Yamaha), James Moodie (Kawasaki ZX6-RR) and Justin Fernandes on a Yamaha R6. -

- “The new 1 000cc Superbikes will be frighteningly fast at Killarney, reaching speeds of over 250 km/h in the circuit’s pit straight, and touching the 290 km/h mark down the back straight,” said SA Champion Russell Wood. -

- “I expect the race winning recipe to centre around brain power, rather than horsepower, though,” he added. -

- “We have to use the same set of tyres for next Saturday’s Official Qualifying Session and both of the day’s races, which will make tyre preservation a top priority. That will call for smooth riding and careful control on machines that love to spin wheels, slide and lay rubber at the slightest provocation - especially at sea level, where most of the 1 000cc Superbikes will develop some 170 horsepower,” Wood added. -

- “In the end, the greatest winners will be the Western Cape spectators, who will get to witness Killarney’s fastest motorcycle racing ever,” he said.

Original article from Car