Kayalami Vodacom Racing takes series lead

The Vodacom Nashua Yamaha Racing Team emerged on top of this year's South African Dark Dog Superbike Championship points ladder at AA Kyalami on Saturday (May 5). Team leader Russell Wood won both Rounds 3 and 4 of the title chase on his Vodacom...

The Vodacom Nashua Yamaha Racing Team emerged on top of this year's South African Dark Dog Superbike Championship points ladder at AA Kyalami on Saturday (May 5).

Team leader Russell Wood won both Rounds 3 and 4 of the title chase on his Vodacom Nashua Yamaha, to take the overall championship lead. Wood's victories only came about after a tough weekend's racing, which claimed several front-running casualties.

In terms of the title chase, the worst affected competitor was current South African Superbike Champion Stewart MacLeod. A high-speed crash during one of Friday's unofficial practice sessions left MacLeod with a broken left leg.

Saturday's opening race saw Wood on his Yamaha, Autopage Cellular Honda twins Robbie Petersen and Greg Dreyer, Ducati's Trevor Crookes plus Lance Isaacs (Vodacom Nashua Yamaha) fighting for the leading places.

Petersen, Crookes and Wood all took turns at the front, with Wood leading when it mattered - over the finish line on the final lap. He finished just two-tenths of a second in front of Crookes, with Petersen, Dreyer and Isaacs covered by less than a second in the next three places.

Vodacom Nashua Yamaha's Arushen Moodley challenged the front group until a crash on Lap 3 sidelined him. In the second race Wood beat off a strong challenge from Petersen and Crookes until two laps from the end, but the multiple former South African Champion had problems.

"I was running on soft compound tyres, and they were absolutely destroyed by the eighth lap." "I knew that Crookes was on hard rubber and he passed Petersen on that lap, setting his sights on me."

"I did not know if I would be able to ride defensively and stay in front for two more laps, but then red flags came out to stop the race, and I knew that I had won," Wood said after the event.

The race stoppage came after young privateer Jamie Hilton fell off his Honda in the Dark Dog Bowl and ended up lying right next to the track with injuries to his shoulder, hip and ankle.

Wood's Vodacom Nashua Yamaha team mates had reversed fortunes this time – a recovered Arushen Moodley rode an excellent race to finish fourth, while Lance Isaacs retired with electrical problems.

"Both my team mates did excellent jobs - I fully expect them to challenge for podium positions within the next three or four races," Wood said.

The next round of the 2001 Dark Dog Superbike Championship will take place at the new Pretoria Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, June 9.

-VNYT-

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