For the second national championship rally in succession, Evan Hutchison and Greg Gericke were robbed of a podium finish by problems with their class A7 Motorite Toyota RunX.
Competing in the Swartland Rally in the Western Cape at the weekend, the Motorite Racing pair was leading the class on Saturday’s marathon 47,83-km stage six after a good performance on Friday saw them complete the first day of the rally in second place in class, just 11 seconds behind the leaders.
They had successfully negotiated the same daunting stage on Friday (it was the first stage of the day), which saw several top crews stumble at a deep water hazard at 31 km. “We were very cautious through the water on Friday, and again on Saturday when it was much muddier after the field had gone through it,” explained Hutchison.
“We were too cautious and got bogged down. We had to be towed out of the water and wait for the entire field to pass before our service crew could come and help us get the car started again. By then we had lost too much time to continue. It was very frustrating – we were having a good run and had worked our way into the lead when we hit trouble.”
Only three class A7 cars completed the 200-plus km of special stage rallying at Killarney circuit on Saturday, with Adrian Karth and Menno Havelaar (Volkswagen Polo) taking the honours ahead of Gugu Zulu and Carl Peskin (VW Polo) and Chris de Wit and Dean Redelinghuys (Toyota RunX).
“We’ve now competed in six events in our first season of national championship rallying together. Although we’re pleased with the improvement in our pace since our debut together in the Toyota Dealer Rally in April, Greg and I are disappointed we haven’t achieved the results we believe we are capable of. We’ve had some technical problems and my inexperience has sometimes put me in positions I shouldn’t have been in. But we have one final round of the championship remaining and we will be aiming to end the season on a high. I now know I can run with the best in my class and a first win will set us up nicely for next season,” said Hutchison.
The final round of the championship is the Toyota Gauteng Rally on October 17 and 18.
Motorite Racing is the motor sport division of Motorite Insurance Administrators, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.