Top motorcycle importers shun superbike racing as SA organisers dither over controls.
MSA’s latest crisis involves national championship superbike and supersport racing – usually crowd-drawers. The motorcycles are basically production machines – 1000cc in the superbike class and 600cc in the supersport. The bikes are pretty quick straight out of the box, with top speeds of around 300 km/h and 260 km/h respectively, but as new models are launched by manufacturers the balance of power shifts. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha have all had periods when they were leaders in the class, and BMW has been a significant player since their first true superbike arrived three or four years ago, winning, along with Kawasaki, most events in the bigger class. MSA, in an attempt to lure Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki back into investing in superbike racing, has for some years adopted a strategy of allowing increasingly more modifications to the machines. It’s now reached the point that a 1000cc motorcycle costing, say, R170,000, needs almost that amount again spent to carry out the modifications necessary for it to keep up with the pack.