Dubbed the Battle of the Champions Part 2. The first installment had Gbenga AKA Oluace draw first blood in the final qualifying session back in August. The riders had 3 days of free practice starting from Wednesday, 21st of November.
Most of the top ten riders had a few days of practice except for the defending champion, Jack, who only came in on Friday.
Free Practice during the 3 day period were not without their problems. On Thursday, Sama of Throttle Heads had a mechanical problem with his Kawasaki ZX10r which put his participation in serious doubt as his second bike was unavailable. David Brown also ran into mechanical problems on his BMW. He tried out a couple of other S1000rr but was understandably not at the races as they were not set up for him. It was a race against time to ensure his engineers work through the nights to get the bike ready for Saturday. Jack had a few stints out on Friday yet no one, him included, knew if he would race on Saturday as he was struggling with the shoulder injury he sustained in a previous qualifier. Throttle Heads Racing had a decision to make, which of the riders; Jack or Sama should race. On the one side, Jack was in pain. On the other hand, Sama had not ridden the bike long enough to push as hard. This seemed like a decision that would be made a few minutes to the race. Tbanj of CC racing was struggling with a back ache all week as well. Word in the paddock was that he might not race but no one knew for sure.
Weather was bright and warm with no chance of rain. There was a slight change in the schedule of the races. The original schedule was for the Supercars to go first in the morning but after a rider meeting, it was agreed that the Supercar race take place after the bike race as they (Supercars) “destroy” the track. The race was set to be a 20 lap race but by Friday, the riders were convinced that a 15 lap race was much more reasonable. The heat and the fact that no rider had run 20 straight laps gave their argument that much more credence. And so it was. Riders in both categories had a morning warm up session which went without any incident.
Shortly after the enthralling intermediate race which threw up so much excitement, the crowd were hoping for more of the same. Like the 600cc race, there was a slight re-arrangement of riders on the grid. Of the ten riders that qualified to race, only eight lined up for the race. The two riders who were not on the grid were; Jack who qualified in P3, sitting this one out due to his shoulder which meant he was going to lose his crown as King of the BT and Show of 4eva racing who qualified in P10 who was not around. The new grid positions had the eight riders in the following order; Gbenga, Sama, Argo, JD, David B, B9, Teflon and Tbanj.
Argo was fastest off the line ahead of Pole setter, Gbenga. JD of 24-7 racing also got off well but it was Argo his team mate that took the lead into turn one with JD right on Gbenga’s tail. By turn 4, the three riders had pulled away from the rest of the field. Gbenga took the lead at turn 6 where he has been the strongest all week.
They crossed the line for the first time to start the second lap with Gbenga looking to extend the lead from Argo and JD who were closest to him. David and Sama were further behind. B9, Teflon and Tbanj were struggling to run the pace of the front runners. The third Lap saw Tbanj roll out at T1. We were later informed the pain from the back ache was quite unbearable. His team mate, David also retired from the race due to mechanical problems that was unfortunately not sorted out. Down the road, Gbenga was holding on to his lead. Argo was growing in confidence and closing the gap to the pole setter bringing his team mate into it as well.
The fourth lap was almost unchanged from the previous lap. The only riders involved in a position swap were B9 moving ahead of Teflon. Both riders’ bikes lack of power exposed on the straights.
The top three riders again remained as you were through the fifth lap. It was almost as if the top three riders were waiting for a mistake from the other two riders. Argo closed the gap to Gbenga as they they were completing lap 5 and on the Start-Finish straight, both riders were side by approaching turn one. Argo was late on the brakes and retook the lead. As the oscillated through the next three turns, Gbenga thought about attacking but was not close enough through turn 6. And so they crossed the line with Gbenga losing a few bike lengths to Argo. Sama was in P4 as he crossed the line for the start of the seventh lap but he pulled out as he lost his gear selector.
With 8 more laps, Gbenga had to find a way to attack and he started pushing. Approaching the second sector where he has been very impressive all week long, the unthinkable happens, Gbenga crashes (rider OK). We might never know if it was because he felt he had to catch Argo before he got away or because JD was closing in on him. What was not in doubt was that his race was over. JD went off track in trying to avoid running into him but his chances, however remote of catching up to Argo went up with the dust from Gbenga’s spill.
There was still time for Teflon to pass B9. This was a battle for P4 as there were only five riders out on track at this time. With no one to challenge Argo, the race turned into a procession.
With the spill of his team mate, B9 eventually rolled out of the race on the tenth lap. Since the crash, he was looking to the pits anytime he was on the Start-Finish straight. The only excitement afterwards was Argo riding on just the rear wheel anytime he was about to start a new lap.
The Battle of the Champions was won by one of the champions. His team mate, JD, was possibly the best rider of the day.
Argo 24-7 Racing BMW S1000rr P1
JD 24-7 Racing Kawasaki Ninja P2
Teflon Inferno Racing Yamaha R1 P3
Gbenga BKG Racing BMW S1000rr DNF
B9 BKG Racing Honda Fireblade DNF
Sama Throttle Heads Racing BMW S1000rr DNF
David B CC Racing BMW S1000rr DNF