South African Superbike Championship
Round 4 Preview
Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria West, 4 May 2013
ALL-NEW BMW HP4 SEEKING FIRST WIN AT ZWARTKOPS RACEWAY
Following their second and fourth places overall at round three in Port Elizabeth four weeks ago, BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Chris Leeson and Ryan Ottens will be aiming to score the new-for-2013 BMW HP4 superbike’s first victory at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday.
After only three outings the new BMW has shown its potential to challenge for a fourth successive BMW championship in the premier class of two-wheel racing. The team has worked hard to get to grips with the bike’s sophisticated new electronic suspension system and, according to BMW Motorrad general manager Rob Holder, is closing in on realising the bike’s full potential.
Holder, a former manager of the BMW Motorsport’s touring car team in the late 1990s, has extensive experience with computerised management systems and data logging and has been able to make an invaluable contribution to setting up the HP4.
Both riders are very happy with the successor to last year’s BMW S 1000 RR and are confident that they will make a bigger impact on the races ahead as they become more familiar with the new bike.
Leeson, a former national Supersport champion, is in his first season with the team after taking over from 2010, 2011 and 2012 national Superbike champion Greg Gildenhuys, who is now riding for the BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet Superstock team in the World Superbike Championship.
He is currently third in the championship with 102 points after three second places and two thirds, behind the Kawasakis of Clint Seller (145 points) and Nicholas Grobler (110 points). “We still have six more rounds to go including this weekend and I’m confident we can catch the guys ahead of us,” said Leeson.
Ottens, who rode a privately-entered BMW S 1000 RR last year and finished fifth with two podium finishes to his credit, is also enjoying his first season as a factory-supported rider.
“It’s great to be part of such a professional team and I’m enjoying my racing. We’re improving with each outing as we learn the new bike and I’m ready to lift it to the next level.”
He is fourth in the point standings after consistent top-four placings in the first three rounds with 81 points.