Alfie Cox and Hennie Ter Stege took the overall and Class A honours ahead of team-mates Evan Hutchison – by less than a minute – after a intriguing battle at the front of the field. The Motorite rout was completed when Brandon Harcus and Alec Salley came in fourth behind the Wrapsa BAT of Nardus Alberts and Colin Hunter.
When Clint Gibson and Mike Brown, in the Absolute BAT, came in fifth it gave the locally designed and built BATs a clean sweep of the first five positions. The BAT domination, however, did not tell the fully story of a dramatic battle up front.
On a tough route that took its toll, there was never more than a minute between first and second throughout the three 100 kilometre laps that made up the race. At the end of the first two laps Hutchison/Bergmann led Cox/Ter Stege and Alberts/Hunter with pole position pair Harcus and Salley falling a minute or two adrift after picking up punctures.
Some sharp navigation work by ter Stege finally put him and Cox in the driving seat on the final lap. But Hutchison and Bergmann had other ideas and at one stage shortly before the finish were within nudging distance of Cox/Ter Stege.
“I wasn’t going to back off, but I was worried that we were pushing the cars too hard,” said Cox. “It is unbelievable how the cars stood up to the hammering we gave them.
“It was great racing.”
It was a first win of the season – after two second places – for Cox and Ter Steege and all three Motorite crews have now won this season. With Nick and Ryan Harper winning the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in June, it means that BAT entries have now won four of this season’s five races.
Alberts and Hunter came up with a workmanlike performance for third place. The same could be said of Gibson and Brown, with Will Battershill and Reg Sutton also performing solidly for sixth overall.
In what was a tremendous performance veterans Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen won Class B and finished seventh overall in the Century Property Development BAT. They had nearly an hour to spare over Bes Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruyn in the Adenco BAT, with Marius van Vuuren and Johan Coetzee third in the Bosal Zarco.
Nothing much went right for championship leaders Jan and Hendrik Kraaij in the Keymax BAT. The father and son pair, however, managed to salvage valuable championship points by trailing in fourth.
Sheer perseverance saw Nic Goslar and Gerhard Niemand, standing in for Richard Carolin who is overseas on a business trip, win Class S in the Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco. Championship leaders Richard Schilling and Chris Davies (Plastotech Aceco) and nearest rivals Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire (Nashua Mobile Raceco) both fell by the wayside, with Goslar/Niemand grinding out a great result.
Most notable of the Class A retirements was the demise of reigning SA champions Terence Marsh and Mike Whitehouse in the Nashua Mobile BAT. A gearbox malfunction saw them sidelined for the first time in 13 starts.