A puncture 20km from the finish of the Mafikeng 500, round six of the Absa Off Road Championship, robbed Lesotho Sun 400 winner John Weir-Smith and stand-in co-driver Joe Lima of almost certain victory.
The Kopanong Hotel Superteam crew led from soon after the start of the event in the BMW 540 V8 powered Jimco and had to look on helplessly as Gary Bertholdt and Siegfried Rousseau stormed past to win in the Advansoft BAT. The same metal spike that proved to be Weir-Smith’s undoing robbed Bertholdt of victory on last year’s event.
“We had had a faultless run up until 20km from the finish and then disaster struck,” said Weir-Smith. “Naturally we’re disappointment but at the same very happy because it would appear that all the mechanical gremlins that have plagued us for most of the season are a thing of the past.”
“The Toyota Dealer 400 on 22 and 23 October promises to be dogfight in Class A and we are more than ready for a scrap of epic proportions.”
Chris Fick and Rob Knight had their best run of the season in the Class D Kopanong Hotel Superteam Land Rover and were in the hunt for a top five placing before a front hub broke while Andre Botha and Bean Heydenrych in the Class F Superteam Chevy were again forced to retire when the power steering failed.
“The power steering problem is puzzling,” said Botha. “We raced all of last season and for the first half of this year without any problems and all of a sudden we’ve had a spate of power steering failures.”
“The preparation of the three Superteam vehicles is superb these days and no one can be blamed for these frustrating problems, which we hope to resolve in time for the Toyota Dealer 400.”
Weir-Smith is third in the Special Vehicle driver’s championship and stands an outside chance of winning the championship if he wins the next two events and Atang Makgekgenene and Mark Corbett fail to finish on both occasions.
Botha and Heydenrych have led the Class F championship all season and need only finish the Toyota Dealer 400 to clinch the championship.