On the Track
Formula Extreme Schlowy Customs Results – Gareth Davidson- 2011 Season
Gareth Davidson Story
Born: 3 December 1986
Age: 24 years of motorcycling addition.
Gareth has been brought up in a motorcycling family with his father, Roger having a keen interest in motorcycles all his life. Gareth’s first experience with motorcycling was on a Yamaha PW 50cc when he was 5 years old. His first crash was the same day after he did not close the throttle and ended up in the garden wall! That did not bother him and within an hour was riding like he was born to do it.
He rode the PW 50 when he could which was not much due to his parents involvement in boating. After a few years he became friends with a youngster whose family was also involved in motorcycling and made all efforts to spend the weekends there riding bikes. His 2nd bike was a 125cc when he was 16 years old which he bought himself and used it to commute all over.
In 2003 he was lucky enough to be selected to participate in the Derbi Cup season. This is an excellent entry into the racing world and young pilots like Greg Geldenhuis and Chris Leeson have progressed from this series.
Gareth took to the Derbi with ease immediately and the results proved his potential. At the end of the season Gareth was the only rider in the top ten riders not to have a practice bike and would arrive at the events unprepared and show skill by getting up to pace within a few laps. Gareth’s biggest advantage is his quick learning ability.
Results for 2003:
Race victories: Phakisa (1st race)
Double race win at Kyalami (won by over 10 seconds)
1st at Lichtenberg
Podium finishes: 2 third places at Zwartkops
2nd place at Pietersburg
Overall results: 3rd place for year.
Due to his 3rd place Gareth could not compete in the series for a second year.
Gareth then focused on his schooling and did not compete in order to achieve his Matric, which he completed in 2005. His best friend however carried on racing and he would take the opportunities to go and practice with his friend. He would immediately be on pace with the current riders in the same class when he borrowed his friends bike. He also worked at Linex Yamaha as an Accessory Salesman during the weekends gaining plenty motorcycling knowledge.
In 2006 he and his best friend went over to the UK for a working holiday where they worked in a Warehouse environment for a South African company. There they took the opportunity to enter in the “Honda Ron Haslam School of racing” where they rented a 600cc and participated in a track school. Gareth impressed the instructors and ended up fastest entrant for the day with a highest score of 97%. From there the decision was made to come home and race in 2007.
During his stay Gareth purchased his own 400cc in order to participate in the Powersprt class for 2007 as budget could allow.
During December 2006 Gareth was given a 2005 Honda CBR600 previously raced by Chris Leeson, to compete in the 2007 regional and National series. The gesture came from Chris Leeson who during the Derbi series recognized Gareth’s potential as a rider.
Gareth’s first practice on the bike was at Midvaal completing 75 laps and ending 3 seconds off the leading pace.
Gareth’s 2nd practice was at Zwartkops and ended with a lap time of 1.06secs. This was only 1.9 odd seconds of the lap record time on a 600cc.
First Race results:
Gareth’s first race at Zwartkops found him qualifying in 6th position after falling during qualifying and only resulting 4 laps to qualify. He was coached a little by Ricky Morias and Anton Legrancie on his riding technique to overcome the low side slide he had.
Gareth ended 5th place overall and around 5 seconds behind the Leader at the end of the race, and Gareth was the top finishing Honda and the only regional competitor to finish inside the top 5 due to the national riders being allowed to participate in the regional events. This was achieved with improper suspension settings due to tyre profile changes and a slower bike.
We have now had three race meetings so far this year and Gareth has shown his ability to keep with the top guys in the 600cc class. The second round was held at Phakisa Freeway in Welkom and was a cracker of a race for Gareth was battling it out with 4th place man Craig Watson (an experienced national rider). Gareth managed to get a fifth place for the day.
The next round was held at Midvaal Raceway in Meyerton and unfortunately Gareth two weeks prior to the race had a massive accident in practice and was taken to hospital suffering a cracked vertebrae and a compressed disk, which caused him much discomfort. None the less Gareth took a week of rest and was very eager and determined to race. The day was tough but Gareth managed to finish 9th for the day from a 12th in qualifying, A great achievement (considering the circumstances).
The 2008 season
Gareth was approached by Linex Yamaha who he had a good relationship with on becoming part of their 2008 Racing team. He was to be the team mate of Jannie Stander who ended up Regional Unlimited Superbike champion in that season.
Gareth rode a 2006 Yamaha YZF-R6 and his love for Yamaha showed in his lap times as he was the fastest he had ever been on all circuits ridden. The championship was close throughout the year and was lying in 4th place the whole season till the last race where he unfortunately had a coming together with a back marker who did not move out of the way and cut across his front wheel cutting his best race of the year short. With the championship being so close he dropped 3 positions in the championship in one day due to him not finishing the first race and sitting out the second due to a broken hand obtained in the crash that day.
The 2009 season saw Gareth have to sit out due to budget constraints and this had a massive impact on his life for he is a true competitor and rode with all his heart, effort and soul. Gareth has not given up yet on a ride, and, by joining the ‘Superbike Magazine’ crew in 2010 will hopefully open a few opportunities for him in the future and get him back on track to do what he loves most.
The 2011 season
Gareth joins the Schlowy Customs race team. To date (Aug 2011) he is currently at the top of the log with 4 first places, 1 second and 5 third places.
Schlowy Customs also have a passion for the track and were one of Clinton Pienaar’s sponsors at the 2010 Isle of Man TT Races
Click here to read more about Clinton’s Isle of Man experience.
Here is Schlowy himself, going very fast, at Kyalami, Midvaal and Zwartkops on the works Schlowy Customs Suzuki RGSX