South African Superbike Championship
Round 3 Results
Aldo Scribante Circuit, Port Elizabeth, 6 April 2013
LEESON AND OTTENS SECOND AND FOURTH OVERALL IN PE
BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Chris Leeson and Ryan Ottens rode their new BMW HP4 superbikes to second and fourth places overall respectively in the third round of the South African Superbike Championship at Aldo Scribante circuit in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Former national Supersport champion Leeson qualified second behind current championship leader Clint Seller (Kawasaki), but was left on the front row of the grid at the start of the opening 12-lap race with the bike in neutral. By the end of the first lap he found himself down in 11th place with his work cut out to get himself back into a good points-scoring position.
He quickly found a rhythm and proceeded to reel in the riders ahead of him at a rate of two to three a lap before he was up to fourth at the end of four laps and closing in on team-mate Ottens, who had started fourth. He passed Ottens on lap 10 and took second place from Nicholas Grobler (Kawasaki) on the penultimate lap, finishing nine seconds behind race winner Seller after a remarkable ride. Ottens also managed to get past Grobler with one lap to go and went on to record his first podium finish of the year.
There were no mistakes at the start of race two with polesitter Seller and second-placed Leeson getting off the line smoothly and completing the first lap in close company in that order. Any chance Leeson had of challenging for a first race win of the year was literally blown away when a gust of wind pulled him off line as he crested the rising Smiths Wheels Bend on lap two, taking the pressure off Seller and allowing Grobler to steal second place.
Despite his best efforts he was unable to make an impression on the two riders in front of him and had to settle for third place. Ottens finished fourth.
“I blew it in race one, but to be honest Clint and Nicholas were too fast for us today,” admitted Leeson. “We’re making good progress with the new bike with each race, but we still have some way to go. Third overall and strengthening our third place in the championship – we’re now just eight points off Nicholas in second place – gives us a good foundation to build on in the races ahead.”
Ottens was also far from discouraged. “The BMW HP4 has a lot of potential. This was a difficult circuit for us in only our third outing on the new bike. Aldo Scribante is always particularly tough on tyres and the track surface was very slippery today. I’m confident we’ll be a lot more competitive in the races to come.”
The next round of the championship is at Zwartkops Raceway in Gauteng on May 4.