With this in mind the prospect of a fifth different winner on the Lesotho Sun 400, round five of the Absa series in the Mountain Kingdom on September 1 and 2, is a real one. These days the Lesotho Sun 400 is a scaled down version of the infamous Roof of Africa Rally, but even in mini guise is going to provide competitors with headaches.
So far this season Brandon Harcus, in a singleseater Motorite BAT, team-mates Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, the father and son combination of Nick and Ryan Harper (Karetek SA BAT) and Gary Bertholdt and Henry Kirstein (Atlas Copco Porter) have all made trips to the winners enclosure. All four teams, with Harcus now joined by Marcelle Trethewey in a twinseater BAT, will again be contenders in Lesotho – along with half a dozen other teams.
Motorcycle legend Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Stege (Motorite BAT), are due a win after two near misses, while the Sullwald brothers Karl-Heinz and Hermann, Nardus Alberts and Colin Taylor in the Wrapsa BAT, Clint Gibson and Mike Brown (Absolute BAT), Naeem Moosajee and Rayhoon Bodhanya (Tyre Rack Jimco) and reigning champions Terence Marsh and Mike Whitehouse, in the Nashua Mobile BAT, are all capable of winning.
Once again, a fascinating contest is on the cards between the all out speed merchants and those crews inclined to take a more measured approach. On this event, however, the odds look to favour the latter.
This brings a crew like Marsh and Whitehouse right into the reckoning. The pair have a 100 percent finish record this season, but are without a win.
The Lesotho Sun 400 is, however, a race tailor-made for the likes of Marsh and Whitehouse. A lot of the smart money will be on the pair, but this is a race that can turn into a lottery and anyone who makes it to the finish will, in all probability, be in contention.
Much the same scenario exists in Class B where no crew has managed to win twice this season. Off Road newcomers, Jan and Hendrik Kraaij (Keymax BAT) currently lead the class ahead of Swaziland crew John Thompson and Clinton McNamara in a Zarco.
Both crews will again be in contention along with the Adenco BAT entries of Bez Bezuidenhout/Johan de Bruyn and Johan/Etienne Bezuidenhout, Marius van Vuuren and Johan Coetzee (Bosal Zarco) and veteran Giel Nel and Johan Smalberger in the Bosal LUK Truggy.
Former champions Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain (JRE) have had a disappointing season so far, and will be looking to make amends. Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen (Century Property Development BAT) are also due a return to form but, once again, anyone making it to the finish will be in with a chance of taking home good points. Class S includes a couple of competitors who have fond and not so fond memories of the Roof of Africa. Richard Schilling is a former Roof winner and Rob Wark a veteran of what was probably the toughest race of its kind in the world, and experience will give them an edge.
Reigning champions Schilling and Chris Davies (Plastotech Aceco) have won twice this year and will be the outright favourites, with Nashua Mobile Raceco pair Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire the biggest threat. After a maiden win on the Ford Motorite 400 Botswana crew Garry Gillingham and Peter van Vuuren (Shell BMW Raceco) will fancy their chances, and Nic Goslar and co driver still to be announced in the Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco will hopefully have experience going for them.
Championship issues throughout the Special Vehicle classes are evenly poised. For those with championship aspirations a rich points tally in Lesotho is must.