Reigning Class A driver’s champion in the Absa Off Road Championship, Gary Bertholdt, has swapped his Class D Advansoft Nissan Hardbody for a Nissan V6 powered Class A BAT with effect from the Mafikeng 500 on September 24 and 25.
Bertholdt and co-driver Brandon Harcus shared driving duties in a similar BAT in 2003 when they won three of the eight events to clinch the Class A championship with Harcus also winning the Special Vehicle Co-drivers Championship.
Bertholdt decided to try his hand at racing a Production Vehicle this season and campaigned the Advansoft Nissan Hardbody from round two onwards but he and navigator Siegfried Rosseau from Advansoft found the going rather tough and expensive.
“I realised that racing in the Production Vehicle category was the only way I was going to be recognised by the factory teams,” said Bertholdt. “However, I did not prepare myself for the high cost of participation in a near standard Production Vehicle versus that of a purpose built Special Vehicle such as a BAT.”
“I am grateful to Nissan Motorsport for the assistance they gave me this season but have to admit that my heart skipped a beat when Brandon Harcus made me an offer I couldn’t refuse to drive a BAT again,” added Bertholdt. “There’s not much we can do to win the Special Vehicle championship with only three races left in the Absa Off Road Championship but Siegfried, who is enjoying his first year in off road racing, and I intend being the fly in the ointment in the Class A battle.”
The Advansoft BAT is being prepared by Achim Bergmann and will be more than ready for the Mafikeng 500, which gets underway with a 35-kilometre Prologue at 13h00 on Friday, September 24 with the main event starting at 08h00 on Saturday, September 25. The first car is expected at the finish at 14h00.