Former airline pilot Peter de la Rey capitalized on the straight line speed of the S1000RR to win a second successive Superbike Elimination class championship in the South African drag racing championships. Competing in the final round at Tarlton International Raceway on Sunday, October 27, the 57-year-old from Germiston defeated his closest rivals, Jerry Lombard and Bertus Breedt – both on Suzukis – to claim the title.
“This was my second year with BMW and I have to thank Bavarian Motorcycles in Centurion, who are the number one BMW motorcycle dealer in South Africa, for their support,” said De la Rey, a former Boeing 727 and 747 crew member, who now works for SAA Technical. One of the stalwarts of motorcycle drag racing, this was his 31st national class title since he started in the sport in 1975.
Drag racing has grown immensely in South Africa and a ‘National’ event draws between 160 and 220 car and motorcycle entries. The RR Peter raced is in ‘superstock’ trim with no engine modifications whatsoever, although class rules do permit modifications. With almost 200bhp available in stock trim, the limiting factor on how fast you can go depends 85% on chassis set-up and ride height. Peter runs a 75mm ride height and no ballast weights to keep the RR’s nose down so riding skill is at an absolute premium with a bike that likes to wheelie under hard acceleration!
Brocks Performance suspension parts are used to set the correct ride height and by keeping in contact with them, Peter has been able to stay in touch with all the latest developments in the USA, where drag racing is extremely popular. For his stock RR, the typical performance figures achieved at 6,000 feet (1,850 m) above sea level are 0 to 160km/h in 4.9sec, a quarter mile in 9.65 seconds at 248km/h, and a standing kilometer in 17.2sec at 305 km/h.
“I love my sport and the older I get, the more fun I have,” said Peter. “I was inspired by George Foreman winning the world heavyweight boxing championship at the age of 50 and I’ll keep on racing as long as I’m competitive.”