Home » Sports » Archie to Unleash New Weapon

PHIL “Archie” Archenoul, the national Superbikes champion, will unleash his “new weapon of mass destruction” when he takes part in the opening round of the 2015 Sables Grand Prix main circuit racing at the home of local motorsport – Donnybrook – in Harare tomorrow.

Archenoul, who turns 59 in nine days time, was almost untouchable during last year’s national championship series in which he won both the Megelli 250 and the Superbikes titles in a memorable season for the former two-time Africa motor rally champion co-driver.

And the ageless motorcycling rider yesterday revealed that he is more than determined to retain both his 250 and Superbikes titles this year and he has acquired a new machine – a Kawasaki 600 – which he will “let loose” in tomorrow’s first round of main circuit racing at Donnybrook.

“I’ve got a new machine and it’s a nice one, a Kawasaki 600 and I’m working on it right now as we speak. In fact, my sponsors Ron Bell Tools, Snap-on Tools and I got together and we made a decision to buy a new machine for this season.

“It’s only a (Kawasaki) 600 but it’s not far off the speed of the 1000cc’s. It does 270 kmh and it’s lighter and the handles are better. I was lucky enough to win both the Megelli 250 and Superbikes championships last year and I just thought that I should give myself a new challenge by getting a 600.

“I just can’t wait for this Sunday! First national of 2015, new 600 to learn and great competition out there! I’m going to try and give the 1000cc’s a (good) run for their money,” Archenoul said.

A likeable character, Archenoul, who helped Jamie Whyte to win back-to-back African motor rally titles in 2009 and 2010 as his co-driver, said he was itching to get on his new bike in tomorrow’s event where he will come up against some top riders from Bulawayo and one contestant from South Africa – Greg Maloney.

“On Sunday, we’ve got the normal Bulawayo contingent of riders and we’ve a South African motorcyclist, Greg Maloney, and he’s riding a Triumph 675. So, it’s going to be a battle between Harare, Bulawayo and South Africa and I think people will witness some exciting racing on the track at Donnybrook… It will be fantastic.”

In fact, in the Megelli motorcycle class multiple champion Shaun Whyte will have to fight hard to beat last year’s champion, the determined veteran Archenoul.

But the talk at the track is upcoming female Tiffany Fisher who is improving every time she gets on the bike and is also expected to push Archenoul all the way.

Fisher will be riding for the first time under her new South African team – Monroe Racing Team – who invited her to join them towards the end of last season after having been impressed by her exploits on the track.

Fast riders Uli Meiners and Bulawayo’s Ian Gutherless may also be out to prove a point together with a large contingent from Harare and a number of Bulawayo riders expected to make the journey.

Meanwhile, a large field of over 35 cars and 20 motorcycles are expected to provide keen racing in the first event counting towards the national championships at Donnybrook tomorrow.

A large number of newcomers are expected with numerous others getting ready to compete this year but not quite ready yet.

In Class A Sports Cars last year’s champion Barney Rogers is once again expected to take the honours in his Guard-Alert sponsored rotary powered super 7.

Eric Heard will fight him all the way but will have to be wary of newcomer to the class, schoolboy Fanie Van Der Linde in a championship winning rotary 7 and ex-motorbike rider Gavin Randal in his Yamaha powered 7.

In class B sports cars the racing should be close in a field of 8 super 7’s battling it out.

Last year’s champion Brett Cameron will have his hands full in fighting off his father John Cameron who is always competitive and multiple champion Gary Kirk in his rebuilt super 7 and If Shaun Kerwin can keep his car running for the whole day he will be difficult to beat in his very fast 7.

Gary Bluett makes a welcome return while newcomers Conrad Van Reenan, Clive Naude and Walter De la Pria remain unknown qualities.

In Class A Saloons there should be some very close racing at the front between last year’s champion, Rowan Whyte in his TT Motor Cycles sponsored Subaru, Barney Rogers in his Guard-Alert sponsored Mitsubishi rotary and Richard Robinson in the Shield sponsored turbo charged Corolla.

Rogers and Robinson are new to the class and are expected to want to prove themselves from the first race while Rowan Whyte’s experience may give him the edge.

Kevin Almak in his turbo Ford and Darryl Archibald in his Skyline are both very fast and will be waiting to pick up the points should the three at the front encounter any problems.

Christie Laing and Lorraine Randall are improving with each outing and will definitely be in contention in the main race of the day, The Sable Grand Prix which is a handicap event.

This year there is a new class B for cars with engines between 1600cc and 2000cc and is being led by experienced driver Ian Howden in a newly acquired Ford Focus 2000. As a new class the other drivers are all unknown qualities and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Toyota Zimbabwe’s Hilton Harunavamwe in a Toyota Celica and come back rally driver George Chitepo in a fast VW Golf 2 litre should feature prominently in this new class together with young Kevin Steenkamp and Bulawayo’s Julian Van Vuuren.

A lot of interest has been shown in the class C saloons with new vehicles arriving, modifications being carried out on others and cars changing hands. Although there is not expected to be a large contingent from Bulawayo, racing among the Harare drivers will be fast and furious.

Modifications to Nick Berkau’s Corolla, Gary Flick’s MR2 and Steven Murton’s Corolla should ensure that they all lap a couple of seconds faster than last year and they will be keen to gather as many Championship points before the arrival of the much vaunted Mini powered by a powerful 1600 Hiyabusa motor belonging to Arthur Browell. If Denzil Bhana and Darren Pradji make the journey from Bulawayo then these three will be hard pressed to stay at the front.

Mike Exton and Craig Green should once again dominate the handicap races with their consistent form.

Temba Mazvimbakupa of the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation, said yesterday that they were expecting a full house at Donnybrook tomorrow as thousands of local motorsport enthusiasts are expected to throng this world-class track to watch the opening round of main circuit racing.

Donnybrook circuit is 2.75km-long and cars and bikes do an average of 10 laps per heat, with about 3 to 4 heats per day.

Drag racing is done on the main straight 14 mile but in main circuit racing, cars and superbikes complete an average of 10 laps per heat. The “S bends” of the circuit always provides lots of drifting action and spectators are encouraged to enjoy motorsport action from that section of the track.

Gates open at 8am tomorrow with racing starting at 11am.

There is full bar and catering as well as children’s entertainment in the form of jumping castles.

Entrance is $5 per person and there is a full day’s racing calendar up to the last race at 4pm.

Source : The Herald