Hutchison and Ormerod re-established themselves as the leading class B contenders in the Absa Off Road Championship after a drive-of-the-day performance in the Sun City 400 last month saw them take an unlikely win in class B and finish a remarkable sixth overall in the special vehicle category.
Problems with the power steering on the South African-built BAT-Nissan in the 45-km prologue saw them start 30th overall and seventh in their class. They hauled their way up to second in class after the first of three laps in the Pilanesberg event only to have the power steering pump fail a second time.
Undaunted, they struggled on without power steering (“not the ideal way to contest one of the toughest off-road races on the calendar,” said an exhausted Hutchison at the finish) and brought the Motorite BAT home over 11 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.
It was a great drive and was warmly applauded by the other special vehicle competitors, who knew how much grit and determination it took to overcome the odds. “Yes, we came to Sun City, took a gamble on a second-hand pump after our problems in the prologue, and we beat the odds. It was very tiring but also very rewarding,” adds Hutchison.
“Now we’re back in business after our disappointment in the Toyota 1 000 Desert Race (a freak engine failure caused by a small screw finding its way into the cylinder head prevented them from starting the race) and we’ll be going all out in Lesotho to win our class convincingly and open up a lead on our rivals.”
Hutchison and Ormerod, who won the season-opening Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu Natal in March in their debut event together, are currently second in their class with 51 points, just one behind reigning class B champions Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain in their JRE. Third, on 39 points are Rudi and Pierre van Graan in their Zarco Lite.
The Gauteng-based team is sponsored by Motorite, the largest independent mechanical breakdown insurance and full maintenance plan service provider and administrator in South Africa.