Bevan Bertholdt and Nick Selamolela in the class A Advansoft iBurst BAT will start tomorrow’s Lesotho Sun 400, round five of the Absa Off Road Championship, from pole position after posting the fastest time in today’s combined 8-km short circuit and 48-km prologue in the Matsieng area near Maseru.
Bevan’s younger brother Gary and co-driver Siegfied Rosseau will start second among the special vehicles and second overall in the sister Advansoft iBurst BAT, just 16,8 sec behind the leaders.
Leading the production vehicle category off the start line at the Matsieng Pitso Ground outside Maseru will be Alfie Cox and Ralph Pitchford, winners of the last two rounds of the championship, the Toyota 1 000 Desert Race in Botswana and the Sun City 400, in the class F Proudly South Africa Nissan Hardbody, who were third fastest overall in the combined short circuit and prologue. They were over 6 min ahead of the second-placed class D Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i of Gavin Cronje and Robin Houghton, who in turn were 1 min 2 sec ahead of Gavin’s brother Mark and Chris Birkin in the sister Castrol Toyota.
Fourth overall and third special vehicle was the father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper in their class A BAT, giving the South African-designed and built BAT an impressive 1-2-3 in the special vehicle category.
First in class S of the special vehicles were Archie Rutherford and Vincent Horn in the Ruthcon Raceco, who will start tomorrow’s 376-km race, to be run over three laps, sixth overall.
Fastest in class B and 13th overall was the Motorite Bat-Nissan of Evan Hutchison and Trevor Ormerod, who were just 18 sec ahead of class B rivals John Thomson and Clinton McNamara in the Zarco Lite.
Leading class E contenders were Thomas Rundle and Stavros Yiannakis in the Barden Tyre Services Nissan Hardbody, who recorded the fourth fastest time in the production vehicle category.
Class A contenders, Brandon Harcus (the originator of the BAT) and Alec Salley in a 3,5-litre Nissan-engined Motorite BAT suffered a punctured tyre and only managed to finish in 18th overall and 14th among the specials.
Reigning production vehicle champion Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan, who lead the championship at the halfway stage, failed to complete the prologue after electrical problems caused the engine to cut out and it refused to start again. They will have their work cut out tomorrow to win since they will be starting 20 min 41 sec behind team-mates Cox and Pitchford.
Tomorrow’s race starts at 08h00 and the first vehicle is expected to reach the finish at Matsieng at around 13h45.