Northern Regions Phakisa 8th June
Phakisa Freeway hosted the 4th round of the Full Throttle Northern Regions Moto 3 Series. After missing the previous event at Red Star Raceway, when he lost a portion of his little finger in a practice crash, Robbie Petersen Racing were unsure if Themba Khumalo would be fit to ride the Full Throttle Honda NSF250 Grand Prix machine.
The team travelled down to Welkom on Thursday to get in some early testing. After one practice session, the gritty youngster showed he was more than ready. During the next two days of practice, the team worked on improving bike set-up, while Themba stuck to the plan of building confidence, posting competitive lap times during the final practice sessions.
Qualifying: Themba responded to the teams’ request for restraint, by riding with reserve and posting the third fastest lap time, behind Darryn Binder and championship leader, Troy Bezuidenhout.
Race 1: After a reasonable start, Themba chased the leading duo of Bezuidenhout and Binder for two laps, before dropping off the pace a little, to finish a fairly distant third. The team had erred in judging the effect of a head wind, which had developed during the day. Robbie Petersen decided against a change of gearing to compensate for the wind, which proved a mistake, as the 250 single struggled to pull the gearing on the fast Phakisa back straight.
Race 2: The team had planned a conservative approach to testing and race one, where Themba had been instructed to ride with reserve. For race two, the reins were off. The team had made a few suspension changes and Themba was free to charge in his normal fashion. He made up for a bad start, and by lap three was up with the same pair of Binder and Bezuidenhout. The trio put on the race of the day, swopping the lead at every opportunity. It seemed like Themba had timed his charge perfectly as he pulled a small lead going into the final lap. The plan came unstuck as he had a huge tank-slapper coming out of turn one, allowing Darryn and Troy through. He chased hard for the remainder of the lap, but crossed the line in third place, just 0.2 second behind the winner, Darryn Binder.
Robbie Petersen is extremely proud of Themba’s performance after a nasty injury. He again showed his determination and desire. The team will work to improving the performance of the Full Throttle Honda NSF250 for the next event at Red Star, August 10th.
Themba Khumalo would like to thank Honda, Full Throttle, Motorsport South Africa and Fuchs Silkolene for their valued support.