Like the intermediate class, this weekend only saw a few riders put in qualifying laps. More had practice runs the day before. The big boys justified why they are the premier class. Every rider shed time off their previous times and the one rider that had not posted any, showed what he was bringing to the competition.
Friday had a number of teams on track, testing new bikes, modifications and generally just getting to grips with the track. It must be said that the surface is much better this time around. There was even an almost unanimous agreement among the riders on the state of the track.
Throttle Heads racing for the first time had a racer, Ime Peters on track during qualifying. He was aboard the winning GSXR from last year. Unfortunately, we did not get to see him on track during qualifying. Hopefully we can get more info from the team on what happened.
Tbanj was another to have an eventful free practice with him coming off the bike. Official word from the team was a brake malfunction that caused him to lock up while the bike was leaned over. Rider walked away unharmed but was unable to partake in qualifying.
BKG racing had both their riders present but only Gbenga went on to qualifying as B9’s bike had a mechanical issue that was unfortunately not rectified in time. JD of 24-7 racing, like his team mates in the intermediary class, also sat out the sessions this weekend.
Onto qualifying and it was Sama that everyone was talking about. This was his first qualifying this year as he was unable to compete in the first edition due to a crash he suffered during free practice earlier in the year.He went about throwing down the gauntlet early on as he knocked off five (5) seconds off the fastest time in Q1 set by Gbenga. A new lap record. It surely made everyone sit up.
Airbenda, also his first time since his dismount during Q1 debuting his shiny BMW S1000RR, performed heroically to knock off over fifteen (15) seconds of his Q1 time despite not being fully recovered from his fall and still clearly in quite a bit of pain.
Argo, who raced aboard the BMW S1000rr last year to finish first runner up, was getting more joy out of the ‘slower’ RSV4 and has done both qualifying on the Italian bike thus far, also knocked off just over five (5) seconds of his Q1 time. Will the S1000rr make a return before November or does ‘Emeka’ of Estonian heritage stick with the Ape.
Talk about pressure, Gbenga of BKG racing arrived on track to the news that Sama had set the fastest time ever on the track, beating his previous record in the process. People were waiting to see what sort of response he had to Sama. It was never in doubt who the likely person to match Sama was. Being the last to go in the 1000cc category, all eyes were on him. He pushed the BMW so much we thought the engine will just fall off on the start finish straight. About two and a half minutes later, the MRE had a new lap record. Talk about ice cold under pressure. What a sensational performance. He is surely the man to beat if qualifying is anything to go by.
It was a qualifying that had three (3) riders go faster than the lap record set in February 2018. Argo was just over a tenth of a second above it. What a qualifying session, absolutely breathtaking.
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When we thought it could not get worse for 24-7 racing, JD drops down 2 places to P5. B9, Tbanj, Show and Mustee all drop one place to P6, P7, P8 and P9 respectively. They all have one more qualifier to ensure they try to qualify as high up as possible.
Will there be a new lap record in August, surely it will happen if we do not have a wet race.
Qualifying positions after two sessions
Name Team Bike Time (2 laps combined)
Gbenga* BKG racing BMW S1000rr 2:26.21
Sama* Trinity Racing Kawasaki ZX10 2:27:52
AirBenda* AirBenda racing BMW S1000rr 2:28:66
Argo* Argiotios Aprilia RSV4 2:33.17
JayDee 24-7 racing 2:40.40
B9 BKG racing Honda Fireblade 2:48.14
TBanj CC racing BMW S1000rr 2:51.36
Show 4eva racing 2:59.04
Mustee Torque racing BMW S1000rr 3:04.02
* Times from the May qualifiers