In 2019 David McFadden didn’t have much success at Zwartkops Raceway with a sixth-place the best he could muster. That didn’t worry him at the opening round of the 2020 SA Superbike Championship held at Zwartkops Raceway on Sunday, 2 February. The Cape Town-based rider piloted his 2020 RPM Center/Stunt SA Yamaha R1 to two wins on its debut. In the SuperSport 600 class, Dino Iozzo (King Price Xtreme Yamaha R6) wasn’t threatened on his way to two comfortable victories.
It was defending champion Clint Seller (King Price Xtreme Yamaha R1) who was quickest in the morning qualifying session, albeit just 0.012” ahead of Lance Isaacs who was out for the first time on his new Superbets BMW Motorrad S1000RR. McFadden, who was just over a tenth further back, completed the front row. Garrick Vlok (Yamaha R1) headed the second row of the grid with the Hi-Tech Racing Kawasakis of Sheridan Morias and Byron Bester alongside him.
Jared Schultz, who will also be competing in Spain this year, put his ASAP/FFC Yamaha R6 on pole, also just 0.012” ahead of his closest rival, Iozzo. Ricardo Otto (Otto Racing Yamaha R6) and newcomer Brett Roberts (Lights by Linea/RPM Center Yamaha R6) filled third and fourth places.
A slow start to the first race by Isaacs, which dropped him down to fifth place, allowed Seller and McFadden to pull away at the front of the pack with Seller pushing hard to try to open up a gap. Unfortunately for him, he pushed a bit too hard and the Bridgestone tyre on the front of his Yamaha cried enough, leaving the defending champion in the gravel on the outside of turn 5. This left McFadden with a lead of just more than a second over Vlok, but it was Isaacs who was the man on the move. By the end of the third lap, he was up to second, and just a couple of laps later was on McFadden’s back wheel. The pair then diced to the finish, with Isaacs trying everything he could to get to the front, but McFadden was able to hang on to take a hard-fought win. Isaacs had to settle for second, comfortable ahead of Vlok with Morias and Bester in fourth and fifth.
Iozzo grabbed the SuperSport 600 lead from the start leaving Schultz and Otto to fight over the remaining podium positions after Roberts suffered front brake failure. While Iozzo slowly extended his lead at the front, Otto led Schultz with the pair never more than a couple of bike lengths apart until about two-thirds race distance. A small error by Schultz allowed Otto to open the gap and Schultz decided to settle for third on his ill-handling Yamaha.
In the early stages, Race 2 was a repeat of the first at the front of the 1000cc class, with Seller leading the way from McFadden, although a better start by Isaacs saw him just behind the leading duo. Seller’s bike was doing its best to throw him off as the tyres battled for grip on the extremely hot track surface which allowed McFadden to move into the lead a third of the way through the heat. He went on to another win while Seller, despite the handling problems with his bike, was able to keep Isaacs behind him until the flag. Vlok had a huge crash while running in fourth, which allowed Morias and Bester to end in fourth and fifth as they did in the first race.
While Iozzo’s winning margin wasn’t quite as big in the second heat, he was still comfortably ahead of the second-place man after leading from the start. Schultz was much happier with the handling of his Yamaha after some hard work by his pit crew between races and, while he couldn’t hang on to Iozzo, was comfortably ahead of the battle for the final podium position. Roberts led that battle at the start of the final lap, but experience told as Otto made his move in the final corner to take the final podium position by less than a quarter of a second.
The next round of the Bridgestone supported SA Superbike series takes place on Saturday, 14 March 2020, again at Zwartkops Raceway.