Midrand. Chris Leeson and Ryan Ottens will tackle the seventh round of the South African Superbike Championship at Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria on August 31 on their BMW Motorrad Motorsport HP4 superbikes with confidence after good recent results and successful pre-race testing.
With three rounds remaining the former national Supersport champion is second in the championship in his first season with the BMW Motorrad Motorsport team and has a bit of work to do to close down the 37-point gap to championship leader Clint Seller. He also has to be wary of Nicholas Grobler in third place, 14 points behind.
Two wins to date, in round four at Zwartkops in May and in round five in East London in June, have demonstrated that Leeson and the BMW HP4 have what it takes to top the podium. Six second places and three thirds have helped him establish his current second place overall.
Team-mate Ryan Ottens is fourth in the point standings, 72 behind Leeson and a comfortable 48 ahead of fifth-placed Dylan White. As he’s got to grips with the new-for-2013 HP4 with its electronic suspension he’s quickened his pace and added two third place finishes to the eight fourth places he’s accumulated in the 12 races to date.
Leeson: “We had a good shakedown test at Red Star last week and I’m feeling good about our prospects this weekend. Bad starts have cost me in recent races – I’ve had to chase down Clint from too far back – but our results in East London were very encouraging. We need to close the gap to Clint.”
Ottens: “I’m excited about this race weekend. Zwartkops is a track I like and that’s been good for me. I’ve got the bike working well and I’ve had some valuable help from Greg (Gildenhuys, 2012 SA Superbike champion), who I’ve been riding with in between his World Superstock 1000 racing commitments.
“Although there are three really good riders ahead of me in the championship, I’ll be looking for a podium this weekend and won’t be happy unless I leave with a trophy!”