The World Superbike Championship has been shortened after Dorna announced that the South African round of the series was cancelled, leaving just three meetings remaining in 2014.
The Phakisa Freeway Circuit in Welkom was due to host the penultimate round of the championship on October 19th but delays to track reparations were not at an advanced enough stage to host the event. Track promoter GAS Sport was unable to bring the track up to the required FIM homologation level after the championship calendar was announced at the end of 2013.
South Africa hasn’t hosted a World Superbike meeting since the paddock visited Kyalami in 2010 and the Welkom circuit last had a two-wheel world championship event in 2004. The World Superbike and Supersport classes were both expected to race in October.
A statement released on the World Superbike website stated, “Regarding the Round in South Africa originally scheduled to take place on October 19, FIM and Dorna WSBK regret to announce that, despite the efforts of the local promoter (GAS Sport), the works carried out on the race track are not advanced enough to meet the conditions required to achieve FIM homologation.”
The Dorna World Superbike Organization is now looking at the possibility of finding a replacement round with awards for the FIM Superstock 1000, European Superstock 600 and European Junior Cup classes now being presented at the French round or possible new venue.
In the same statement Dorna confirmed the Losail International Circuit in Qatar will host the final round of the championship on the 2nd November. The World Superbike event will run at night under floodlights as the MotoGP series has done since 2008.
The World Superbike Championship has not run less than 13 rounds since 2005 making the current 2014 calendar the shortest in nine years.