Reigning Absa Off Road Special Vehicle Drivers Champion, Atang Makgekgenene, and former SA Off Road Special Vehicle Drivers Champion, Shameer Variawa, have teamed up under the Total banner for the 2005 Absa Off Road Championship.
Makgekgenene had planned on sitting out the season but the attraction of competing in this adrenaline charged, high-speed category of motorsport proved to be too difficult to resist and he and co-driver Buks Carolin will compete in four events this season.
“We have selected the Nissan Dealer 400, which I won twice with the late Mike Stangl, the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, which Buks and I won in 2004, the Sun City 400 and the Toyota Dealer 400 in which we were also victorious,” said Makgekgenene. “Last year we won four events to clinch the championship and I am confident that we can again challenge for the championship title.”
“Total’s ongoing commitment is much appreciated and the addition of Shameer Variawa and VZ van Zyl makes for a formidable team.”
Variawa won the 2000 SA Off Road Special Vehicle Drivers Championship at the age of 22 and it is interesting to note that his and Makgekgenene’s mentor in their championship-winning years was Buks Carolin who also won the Special Vehicle Drivers Championship in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and the SA Cross Country Co-drivers Championship in 1994. VZ van Zyl won the 1991 SA Off Road Production Vehicle Championship and navigated for Greg Daus when they won the 2002 Toyota 1000 Desert Race in a Raceco.
“Atang and I are good friends but when it comes to racing we are arch-rivals,” said Variawa. “His Chevrolet LS-1 V8 powered Total Jimco is fast and reliable but I know my BMW 540 V8 powered Total Porter has the edge when it comes to all out speed and handling.”
“We were plagued by minor technical problems last year but, with input from Porter Cars in the USA, these will hopefully be a thing of the past, which will allow VZ and me to do outrun our teammates.”
Buks Carolin had the last word.
“There isn’t another Special Vehicle team in the Absa Off Road Championship that can boast as many past and reigning champions as the Total team can and I am privileged to have performed the role of mentor to both Atang and Shameer, who are extremely talented drivers.”