It is rare for archrivals to form an alliance to compete as a team in any form of motorsport but that is precisely what GBS Racing has done in the Absa Off Road Championship.
GBS Racing was launched in 2003 and comprises reigning Class D Champions Hein Grobler and Gerhard Prinsloo, Johan Gerber and Coetzee Labuschagne and JP Augustin who all compete in identically prepared Class D Nissan Hardbody pickups.
“Hein Grobler came up with the concept whereby we pooled our personal and sponsorship resources and competed as a team rather than as individuals to maximise exposure for our sponsors,” said GBS Racing spokesperson, Johan Gerber. “We have all raced since the 90’s and been archrivals from day one but ever since the establishment of GBS Racing strong friendships have developed between all team members.”
“During races we maintain radio contact with each other and if any one of us is in trouble the other teammates rally around to lend assistance and ensure that as many of the team vehicles finish as possible.”
Hein Grobler started racing in 1991 and won the Transvaal Off Road Championship in 1994 and the Stellaland Off Road Championship in 1996. Grobler backed these successes up with national class championships from 1997 to 2000 and again in 2003 when he and Gerhard Prinsloo won the coveted Class D championship for the second time.
Prinsloo comes from an oval track racing background where he won three successive regional championships (1991-1993) and then went on to be crowned the SA Oval Track Champion in 1994. He started his off road racing career as co-driver for Grobler in 2000 and won the Class D co-drivers championship in 2000 and 2003.
Gerber started off racing in 1992 and promptly won the Class 5 championship and finished second in the Production Vehicle championship. He backed this up with numerous regional class championships from 1993-1995 and the Class C national championship from 1996-1999. Gerber finished third in the 2003 Class D co-drivers championship with teammate Coetzee Labuschagne third in the Class D driver’s championship.
Labuschagne started his motorsport career way back in 1979 and won the Regional Formula Vee Championship in 1983 and the National Formula Vee Championship in 1984 before trying his hand at 4x4 Challenge events where he won the Class 3 championship in 1989. He moved on to off road racing in 1996 and achieved much success including winning the 1999 National Class C championship and finishing third in various class championships from 2000-2003.
Hartswater based JP Augustin started oval track racing in 1985 and went on to win the regional modified saloon car championship in 1990 and the National Oval Track Championship in 2001. He dabbled in off road racing during 2002 and then teamed up with GBS Racing in 2003 to contest the Northern Regions Off Road Championship and the Absa Off Road Championship. A successful season in the regional championship earned him the runner-up spot in the Northern Regions Off Road Championship.
The GBS Racing team will again be in action on the Toyota Dealer 400, which will take place in the Lydenburg area on October 22 and 23.