Who will be master?

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Who will be master?

The highlight of the Limestone Coast two-wheel racing calendar arrives this weekend when the Mount Gambier Motor Cycle Club hosts the 2021 OGR and Northcott Contracting Master of Mac Park.

The prestigious race is one some of the country’s fastest riders strive for and the three-day event held over the October long weekend is now even bigger incorporating round 4 of the SA State Championships.

With the current border restrictions entries are limited to South Australian competitors, but with over 100 bikes entered there will be large grids and great racing action across all classes for fans to enjoy.

A strong 1000cc Superbike field will feature 44 riders striving to become the 2021 Master of Mac Park.

However, only around half will be fast to make it to the big race after two days of practice, while the others are left to scrap for the Master of Mac Park consolation prize.

Leading the charge for the chequered flag is former Moto 3 competitor, Australian Superbike (ASBK) regular and reigning Master of Mac Park champion Arthur Sissis.

Sissis was unstoppable in treacherous conditions 12 months ago, leaving his rivals in a spray to record a crushing win, while also setting the lap record of 1:09.371.

The 25-year-old scored a podium finish at the 2012 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in the world’s third highest category and will be keen to score his third victory at McNamara Park.

Sissis’ biggest challenge could arrive from international road racing superstar David Johnson.

Adelaide-born Johnson has been a regular at the one and only Isle of Man TT over the years and will be looking to show what he can do at the fast Mac Park circuit.

Multiple past winner Will Strugnell will look to regain his crown.

Before last year Strugnell had won three Master of Mac Park titles in four attempts, but could not keep up with Sissis in the wet after a tight battle in the early stages.

Local ASBK supersport regular Dallas Skeer will be doing his best to win his first ‘Master’ on his home circuit after a long stint away from the bike and a podium finish last year.

A host of other fast riders are also in the mix for the event, while other classes include the popular 600cc Supersports, Sidecars, Juniors and the fiercely competitive Limited class.

The Sidecars will be one to watch for the locals when David Jones looks to resume his reign.

But it will be the start of a new era for the five-time winner, who not race with longtime partner Stephen Jones after they lost their crown in 2020.

Instead David Jones will start a new journey alongside Tim Leighton, while defending winners Mark Schuppan and Rebecca Boggiano will not greet the starter.

Following on from the success of last year, historic bikes will also feature in the program, allowing bikes from 1963 – 1990 to compete. These bikes make a great spectacle and their riders will be pushing them to their maximum to try and win their respective categories.

McNamara Park has undergone a series of massive facility upgrades in recent years and the region is fortunate to have a nationally accredited racetrack of this standard. For a volunteer-based organisation to achieve this is nothing short of extraordinary and a testament to the dedication of club members.

Unfortunately, given COVID restrictions and border closures, the Australian Historic Road Race Championships that were scheduled for the end of October, have had to be postponed for a second time. The club is working with Motorcycling Australia to reschedule the event.

A packed program will be on offer over the long weekend from qualifying on Saturday morning before racing begins later that afternoon and all-day Sunday, culminating in the prestigious Master of Mac Park feature race.

Full catering and bar facilities will be available (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) and entry is $10 per day or $15 for the weekend with under 16’s free.

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