Castrol Day of the Champions lives up to its name
It was the third staging of this event which is dedicated to the two-wheel fraternity, and it continues to grow in both stature and numbers. This year it was sponsored jointly by Castrol and Honda who have had a 50-year relationship in motorcycle racing.
Besides a host of world and national champions of the past in action, the large and appreciative crowd of spectators were also able to see one of the bravest motorcycle racers in the world in action: Steve Plater, who became the fastest-ever winner of an Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race when he averaged over 207km/h for four 60 km laps of the twisty road circuit, riding a 1 000 cc production-based Honda. He also won the British 600 cc Supersport title last year.
Plater, a modest and quietly-spoken 42-year-old former builder from England was here to launch Honda SA’s limited edition “Steve Plater” Honda Fireblade as well as lapping the Zwartkops circuit on a number of older machines.
Yoshiaki Nakamura, managing director of Honda SA and a former works Honda rider, also donned his racing leathers again as he took a number of Honda race bikes around the track.
Another well known motorcycling personality to attend the Day of the Champions was Alan Cathcart, the leading motorcycle racing journalist in the world and a regular columnist in Simon Fourie’s Bike SA. He rode Groat’s Bob McIntyre replica 1959 AJS 7R.
Six-times world champion and six-times winner of an Isle of Man TT, Jim Redman (78), who lived much of his life in South Africa and Zimbabwe, is a regular at this classic event and this year he again rode Groat’s Honda four-cylinder 250 and also lapped the track on Honda’s new “Steve Plater” Fireblade.
Joining the many South African champions participating in a varied programme of races was Ian Scheckter who won titles on two wheels before carving a career for himself as a car racer, where he continued his winning way.
Although the “oldies” stuck mainly to demonstration rides, the younger riders contested three categories of racing during the day: SA TT Revival, Thunderbikes and SV 650, with the overall victories in the various categories going to Leon van der Berg (1985 Suzuki GSXR 750), Stephen Steenkamp (2008 Honda Fireblade) and Anthony Shelley (2006 SV Suzuki) respectively.