With two rounds of the Absa Off Road Championship, the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 and the Nissan Dealer 400, under the belt some Production and Specials Vehicle competitors have already amassed a rich haul of points.
In the Production Vehicle category Proudly South African Nissan crew Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan’s case was helped by the fact that Nissan Sugarbelt 400 winners, Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer in the Team Ford Racing Ranger, did not enter the Western Cape event. The Nissan pair has amassed 44 points by way of finishing second and first overall respectively in the first two events of the championship.
Team Ford Racing pair Manfred Schroder and Alec Harris finished third and second overall respectively in the first two events and have 34-points in the bank and also lead Class D by 15-points from Gavin Cronje and Robin Houghton in the Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i.
Woolridge and Skjoldhammer are third overall on 25-points and are destined to slip further down the championship log as they have decided to focus their attention on completing the construction of the new Team Ford Racing Ranger challenger in the Super Production Class. It is likely that the vehicle will make its debut on the Sun City 400.
Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i) are fourth overall and first in Class E and only one point ahead of Gavin Cronje and Robin Houghton and three points ahead of Zane Pearce and Hennie Vosloo in the Class E Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i in the overall standings.
2004 Class D championship runners-up Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i) failed to finish the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 but went on to finish third overall and second in Class D in the Western Cape and are joint seventh with Henri Zermatten and Bodo Schwegler in the Mastercraft Ryobi Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi crew is third in Class D while the Toyota pair is sixth.
Bosal N1 4x4 teammates Cliff and Louis Weichelt and Mark and Stuart Moffat share ninth place. The Weichelt’s survived a high speed crash on the Nissan Dealer 400, fortunately with minor cuts and bruises, but the Toyota Hilux V6 was a write-off. The Moffat’s and the Weichelt’s are fourth and fifth respectively in Class D.
Overall Production Vehicle Championship points:
1. Hannes Grobler / Francois Jordaan (Nissan) 44
2. Manfred Schröder / Alec Harris (Ford) 34
3. Neil Woolridge / Kenny Skjöldhammer (Ford) 25
4. Hugo de Bruyn / Jaap de Bruyn (Toyota) 21
5. Gavin Cronje / Robin Houghton (Toyota) 20
6. Zane Pearce / Hennie Vosloo (Toyota) 18
7. Mark Cronje / Chris Birkin (Toyota) 15
7. Henri Zermatten / Bodo Schwegler (Mitsubishi) 15
9. Cliff Weichelt / Louis Weichelt (Toyota) 12
9. Mark Moffat / Stuart Moffat (Land Rover) 12
The Special Vehicle category sees Terence Marsh and Michael Whitehouse, who scored a maiden win in the Nissan Dealer 400 in the new Nashua Mobile BAT Spec-1, at the top of the championship log with 35-points. They are the only Class A crew to have finished both events run to date.
Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau are second overall and in Class A after winning the Nissan Dealer 400 in KwaZulu-Natal in March. However, they spoiled their chances when they crashed the iBurst Advansoft BAT in the Darling event and have to be satisfied with 25-points.
Lesotho businessman John Moore and Graham Maclachlan are third overall in the Connix Internet Chenowth. They finished second overall in KwaZulu-Natal but decided not to enter the Nissan Dealer 400 and trail the leaders by 16-points.
KwaZulu-Natal based Will Battershill and Reg Sutton made their Class A debut in the ex-Terence Marsh Jimco and promptly finished second after a superb drive in the Nissan Dealer 400. They share third place with Moore and Maclachlan and pose a threat to the rest of the Class A brigade as the championship progresses.
Class B leaders Evan Hutchison and Trevor Ormerod have amassed 17-points and are fifth overall in the Motorite Racing BAT with brothers Rudi and Pierre van Graan (Technochair Zarco Lite) trailing them by one point.
Reigning Special Vehicle champions Atang Makgekgenene and Buks Carolin (Total Jimco) led the Nissan Dealer 400 for much of the race but a puncture cost them time and they had to settle for third overall and 15-points. They share seventh place with Clint Gibson and Marcelle Trethewey in the Gibson Plant Hire BAT.
David White (Truggy) is one of three Special Vehicle crews that have managed to finish both events and is ninth in the overall championship and third in Class B while there is a tie for tenth place between Bevan Bertholdt and Nick Selamolela in the iBurst BAT Spec-1 and Class B winners on the Nissan Dealer 400, Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen in the Century Property Developments BAT.
Overall Special Vehicle Championship points:
1. Terence Marsh / Michael Whitehouse (BAT Spec-1) 35
2. Gary Bertholdt / Siegfried Rousseau (BAT) 25
3. John Moore / Graham Maclachlan (Chenowth) 19
3. Will Battershill / Reg Sutton (Jimco) 19
5. Evan Hutchison / Trevor Ormerod (BAT) 17
6. Rudi v Graan / Pierre v Graan (Zarco Lite) 16
7. Clint Gibson / Marcelle Trethewey (BAT) 15
7. Atang Makgekgenene / Buks Carolin (Jimco) 15
9. David White (Truggy) 13
10. Bevan Bertholdt / Nick Selamolela (BAT Spec-1) 12
10. Ernest Corbett / Warwick Goosen (BAT) 12
The next round of the Absa Off Road Championship, the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, takes place in Botswana from June 3-5.