The Vodacom Nashua Yamaha racing team won some, lost some and made South African motorsport history at the Western Cape Killarney circuit on Saturday (May 26). The occasions were Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2001 Dark Dog South African Superbike ...
The Vodacom Nashua Yamaha racing team won some, lost some and made South African motorsport history at the Western Cape Killarney circuit on Saturday (May 26).
The occasions were Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2001 Dark Dog South African Superbike Championship, from which the works Yamaha equip emerged with a win, two second places and a fourth.
The championship point-scoring places came from an unexpected quarter, though. Vodacom Nashua Yamaha team leader Russell Wood went to Killarney as the overall 2001 Dark Dog Superbike Championship leader and favourite to win the day's two races.
Wood duly came up to expectation during Saturday morning's official qualifying session, grabbing pole position on a wet track in the final minutes. He proceeded to take the lead at the start of the opening race, with his Vodacom Nashua Yamaha team mates Arushen Moodley and Lance Isaacs in the respective fourth and sixth places.
Things went awry on Lap two of the race when Wood's motorcycle spluttered and suddenly slowed just before the Engen Hairpin. Braking to avoid the resultant confusion, Moodley's Yamaha slid out from under him, while various other riders took to the Western Cape flora.
All of which left Greg Dreyer (Autopage Cellular Honda) in the lead, followed by Vodacom Nashua Yamaha's Lance Isaacs. Isaacs beat of a strong challenge from Ducati racer Trevor Crookes to finish second, a mere half a second behind Dreyer.
There was more to come.
The day's second race saw Wood, Moodley and Isaacs join in a nine-motorcycle dice at the front of the field, with positions swapped several times per lap. On the penultimate lap Isaacs took the lead following a series of slip-streaming passing manoeuvres down the long Killarney back straight.
Behind him a superb late-braking effort put Moodley in the second place, just ahead of Honda's Greg Dreyer. The Vodacom Nashua Yamaha twins hung on to take a sensational first and second place, just eight thousandths of a second apart at the flag.
Greg Dreyer finished third, with Russell Wood taking a fourth place, which made Dreyer the new 2001 Dark Dog Superbike Championship points leader.
It was Isaacs' first ever local Superbike race victory, with the second place Moodley's best career result.
"I am extremely proud of my team - they won - and beat me - on merit." "I knew that Lance and Arushen would show that a proper motorsport Development programme can produce new winners, but I did not expect them to do it so soon," a delighted Russell Wood said after the races.
"Now I shall have to work even harder - there is a title at stake, and suddenly beating my team mates will be part of a very tall order," he added.
"I am over the moon - winning in front of my home crowd was the best thing that could possibly happen," beamed Lance Isaacs. "Coming back to South Africa after two years in the World Superbike arena was not easy, but I have learned an enormous amount from Russell and the whole Vodacom Nashua Yamaha team over the past few months."
"Now I know that I can win here, and that will be the aim from now on," he added.
The next round of the 2001 Dark Dog South African Superbike Championship will take place at the East London Grand Prix circuit on Saturday, June 23.