2 December 2013
South African motorcycle racing fans are in for a special treat next year with the World Superbike Championship set to return to the country after a break of three years.
South Africa was included when the the official calendar for the 2014 FIM World Superbike Championship was released on Friday. The sole African round of the Championship will take place at the Phakisa Freeway in Welkom, Free State province on 19 October.
“We have signed a terms of contract short-form agreement with Dorna, the WSBK Promoters, and will enter into a long-form agreement subject to certain conditions being met,” Anthony Lauter of GAS Sports, who are organising the South African event, said in a statement.
“We already have the blessing of the Free State Tourism Authority to use the circuit they own just outside Welkom. We still need to secure the necessary financial guarantees required by Dorna, and the Phakisa Freeway must first pass an FIM circuit inspection,” he added.
“We’re confident we will meet these conditions in good time and are excited to be bringing this immensely popular motorcycle racing series back to South Africa,” Lauter said.
“The race weekend programme will also include a round of the World Supersport Championship and several top South African riders can be expected to be seen in action.”
Adrian Scholtz, the CEO of operations for Motorsport South Africa (MSA), said: “MSA warmly welcomes the news that the FIM World Superbike Championship will be returning to South African shores in 2014 and extends its congratulations and appreciation to the promoter, GAS Sports, for securing the event.
“It has been a few years since world championship motorsport was last seen on a South African race circuit and the event will be a welcome shot in the arm for local motorsport.”
World Superbike Championship (SBK) executive director Javier Alonso said he was excited that the championship was returning to South Africa: “We are delighted to come back to South Africa at Phakisa Freeway, where we had very good experiences in the past. We are therefore confident about the success of the event, bearing in mind the existing culture and passion for motorcycling in South Africa.
“We are planning to visit the circuit in the following days together with the FIM representatives in order to move forward with the homologation, contractual and event preparation procedures.”
Big name stars
Since its introduction in 1988, the World Superbike Championship has produced some big name stars, including former champions Max Biaggi, Carlos Checa, Troy Bayliss, Troy Corser, Carl Fogarty and John Kocinsky.
The 2013 championship was won by Englishman Tom Sykes on a Kawasaki, ahead of Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty of Northern Ireland and France’s Sylvain Guintoli.