Toyota have already wrapped up the Class D championship, via Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst in the Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux, and top of the priority list this time out will be to put the finishing touches to winning the prestige South African Manufacturers Championship. Toyota has a healthy lead over archrivals Nissan, and consistent performances throughout the classes will get the job done.
“Although it is the final race of the year we are approaching it with the same intensity as any other race,” said Toyota Motorsport manager Wammy Haddad. “We have one hand on the SA Manufacturers Championship, and it is important we shut out the opposition.
“All the crews will be looking for good results and it would be nice if we could end up with a couple of wins.”
Toyota have not managed an overall win this season in the Super Production Class, and Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin and Bevan Bertholdt/Robin Houghton, both out in factory Castrol Toyota Hilux V6 entries will be aiming to put an end to that statistic. It has been a frustrating season for both crews, but in recent events there has been plenty of evidence that the potential for winning is there.
“Clean runs with no problems are what we both need,” said Cronje. “If we can manage that we are in with a chance.
“The unpredictable weather at this time of the year could play a big role, but it would be foolish to write off our chances.”
After wrapping up the Class D title on the recent Toyota Dealer 400 the Visser/Badenhorst pairing will be looking for their fifth win of the season. Third place on the Toyota Dealer 400 was enough to secure the title but, with no pressure this time around, they can afford to enjoy themselves.
“It was a relief to get the job done last time out,” said Visser. “A fifth win would be a nice bonus.”
Toyota has dominated Class D this season winning every event. Visser/Badenhorst have won four times, Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux twice and Cliff and Louis Weichelt once in the Bosal Toyota Hilux.
The de Bruyn’s scored their second victory on the Toyota Dealer 400, and will be looking to cement second place in the championship. The last two events have not been kind to the father and son Weichelt combination with a myriad of problems making life difficult for them, and they will be looking for a change in fortunes on the final event.
The Toyota Dealer 400 produced a career first victory for George and Sharon Barkhuizen in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux in Class E. It was Toyota’s second Class E win of the season, and a strong line-up of factory and privateer cars will be looking to upstage champions Manfred Schroder and Ward Huxtable in the works Ford Racing Ranger.
Brian Martin and Ockie Fourie, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, won the opening event of the season and will be looking to end the year in the same fashion. This is Martin’s first full season in off road racing and it has been a learning curve.
“Our form has been a bit patchy,” said Martin, “but we are aiming at ending the season on a high note. We’ll have a full go and see how it turns out.”
It has also been a learning curve for track racers Fabio Tafani and Jaco Swanepoel who have also had their first taste of off road racing. Tafani/Mike Baron (Club Refrigeration Toyota Hilux) and Swanepoel/Grayham Bishop (IDM Cement Toyota Hilux) have at times found the going a little tough but have come up with gutsy performances.
Brothers Mark and Stuart Moffat, in the Bosal Toyota Hilux, have had their moments this season and have the ability to challenge for class honours. Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux, in a Toyota Hilux, are in the same boat and will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing Toyota Dealer 400 when they broke a gearbox.
After their win last time out the husband and wife Barkhuizen pairing won’t be short on confidence. They will be aiming for a repeat performance with Toyota also looking for a repeat where five of the first six positions on the Toyota Dealer 400 were filled by Toyota entries.