ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP Brandon Harcus, with victory making him the first two time winner this season, and Marcelle Trethewey eventually won a tight battle against team-mates Alfie Cox and Hennie Ter Stege. Off road motorcycle legend Cox and Ter Stege were looking for their second win in a row but finally ended up around three and a half minutes behind Harcus and Trethewey.
Victory, however, kept Cox and ter Stege at the top of the overall and Class A championships. Harcus, who won the opening event of the year in a singleseater Motorite BAT, did his drivers championship hopes no harm with a win in what developed into a cat and mouse game between the two frontrunners.
Third, in their best showing of the season, were Clint Gibson and Mike Brown in the Absolute BAT. The KwaZulu-Natal pair were 20 minutes behind Cox and Ter Stege, but ran strongly all weekend in a race tinged with controversy.
Toyota 1000 Desert Race pair Nic and Ryan Harper, in the Kartek BAT, refused to start after they were one of several crews given an hour penalty after the Friday prologue to determine start positions. The Ryan’s, along with a number of other crews, were penalized for missing marshal points along the 63 kilometre prologue route.
Hopes of a Motorite BAT clean sweep were ended early on the first of two 200 kilometre loops when Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann retired. They started the day with “a gearbox that did not feel happy” and soon called it a day.
Cox/Ter Stege and Harcus/Trethewey arrived at the designated service point within seconds of each other after the first lap. A brake problem and a puncture then slowed Cox and Ter Stege with Harcus and Trethewey taking full advantage of the situation.
Reigning champions Terence Marsh and Mike Whitehouse (Nashua Mobile BAT) kept alive slim championship hopes by coming home fourth in Class A. They came in behind Naeem Moosajee and Rayhaan Bodhanya in the Jimco, who were then excluded from the results after a brush with Botswana crew Gary Gillingham and Peter van Vuuren in the Shell Racing Raceco.
High profile Class A runners who fell by the wayside included Ford Motorite 400 winners Gary Bertholdt and Henry Kirstein (Atlas Copco Porter) who went out with gearbox problems on the prologue, Rashid Variawa and VZ van Zyl (Total Porter) who broke a wheel hub and John Weir-Smith/Geoff Minnitt (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jimco), after contact with a pole. Prologue winners Gerhard du Plessis and wife Kobie, in a Jimco, were early race casualties with mechanical problems forcing them into retirement.
Fourth overall and victory in Class B went to veterans Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen in the Century Property Developments BAT. It was their second win on the trot and was another tremendous performance.
Corbett and Goosen had more than 40 minutes in hand over another veteran, Giel Nel, and Johan Smalberger in the LUK Bosal Truggy. Third were Bes Bezuidenhout and Johann de Bruyn in the Adenco BAT, with Alistair and Hamish Stubbs (Viper) and Marius van Vuuren /Johan Coetzee (Bosal Zarco) completing the top five.
Nic Goslar and Richard Carolin, in the Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco, ground out the win in Class S. It was Goslar’s second win in a row after his victory, partnered by Gerhard Niemand, in the Lesotho Sun 400.
Reigning Class S champions Richard Schilling and Chris Davies (Plastotech Aceco) were excluded for deviating from the route to put an end to a troubled weekend end for the pair. Also excluded were Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire (Nashua Mobile BAT) who were involved in a prologue accident with Annamaria Correia in a Sandmaster.