Double Apex rider and Reddam House scholar, Lee Singh (11) went back to school as he was thrown into the deep end at the first race of the Superbike SA Short Circuit Series at Zwartkops Raceway on 3rd February 2019.
He arrived at Zwartkops on Sunday morning, having missed free practice due to school commitments, having never seen the track before and without the opportunity to walk the track. To make matters worse the young athlete’s last ride on a track-bike had been some two months prior, in the first week of December 2018 when he crashed his CBR150R at Redstar Raceway. His “shakedown” ride on the rebuilt Honda would take place in quali… no pressure then.
A double-dose of deep-end difficulty was enthusiastically accepted by the young rider who grabbed an opportunity to race in a second class on an NSF100…that he had never sat on before. There was no practice or warm up; session one was to be qualifying.
Zwartkops short circuit is a twisty, somewhat undulating track with a unique joker-feature: a cross over with associated bridge and tunnel. The local fundis know that the tunnel never sees daylight and is always slippery relative to the rest of the track.
On his first flying lap on the NSF100, the young pilot tucked the front end into the tunnel. The session was red-flagged as the rider had to be pulled out from under his bike, which in turn was trapped under the airbags. He got back to the pits, without serious injury which is evidence of the superb safety features of the raceway, and in time for his quali session on the 150.
A day of learning
The NSF100 race saw him qualify in 9th, finish race one in 9th, race two in 5th and race three in 6th . Lap times tumbled from 1 min 14 sec in quali to 1 min 07 sec in race 1, 1 min 06 sec in race 2 and finally down to a 1 min 05 sec in race 3. The young gun’s progress was sure to please Double Apex head honcho, Banzai Matai who was following closely online all day.
The 150 Cup field was 16 strong and bristling with young South African talent. Lee qualified in 12th. All three heats featured tight racing and hard-fought battles throughout the pack, with overtakes and drama in almost every corner. What little race-craft the 11-year-old had learned to date had been properly interrogated. He finished 10th, 11th and 9th in the heats, improving lap-times, technique and tactics with each session.
The series also boasts a scintillating Super-Motard class. The quality of the entertainment is matched by the quality of the field. Brandon Goode cleaned up with his smooth, flat-track style. Hot on his heels was Dorren “Dozzie” Loureio who proved he could box with the best by ending 5th in last year’s WSSP 300 series. Another notable performance came from Themba “The Chief” Khumalo, who dusted of a Husky 450 from somewhere and debuted in this format. He showed, once again, that class is permanent and worked his way up into third by the end of the day.
Make sure you follow Double Apex Motorcycles to catch up on the next round of the Superbike SA Short Circuit Series and the upcoming adventures of Double Apex’s young cadet.
All images courtesy of Eugene’s Digital Images.