Provisional scoring saw the Sullwald’s, in the Sullwald Racing BAT, clinch their second win of the season when they came home two and a half minutes ahead of Colin Matthews and Alan Smith in the Century Racing BAT. Third were former champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, in the Total Porter, who were one of three crews who went into the race with a chance of winning the championship.
The other crew in with a chance of winning the title at the start of the day, Terence Marsh and Pieter Groenewald (Regent Racing BAT), dropped out of contention on the first of two 160 kilometre loops that made up the route. A fan belt problem put paid to their chances and they finally limped home in 15th place overall.
Fourth place went to Michael Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson, in a second Regent Racing BAT, with the pair around three minutes behind Variawa and Rousseau. Lesotho crew John Moore and Leander Pienaar, in the Free Spirit Chev, completed the top five.
For Sullwald senior winning the championship was an emotional moment. Sullwald first won the SA championship 12 years ago navigating for his brother Herman who was a casualty on this event.
“It is difficult to describe how I feel,” said Sullwald. “This is the perfect end to a perfect season, and the fact that Quintin was sitting alongside me makes it all the more special.”
The early running in the race was made by outgoing champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the Motorite BAT, and Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen in the Atlas Copco BAT. An unhappy season for the Motorite crew ended with another did not finish with gearbox problems, while Bertholdt and Vermeulen picked up three punctures in 30 kilometres on the second loop to fall back to eighth overall.
On a dramatic day championships were also settled in Classes B and P. Jan Kraaij and Tiddo Voogt, in the Keymax BAT, won Class B to give Voogt the co-driver championship.
Second in Class B was enough to give Bloemfontein driver Louw de Bruin (Ruwacon BAT) the driver’s title. Rudi Britz, who sat alongside de Bruin, missed an event earlier in the season and that did his championship hopes no good at all.
A praiseworthy sixth overall gave brothers Etienne and Johan Bezuidenhout, in the Adenco BAT, the win in Class P and with it the driver and co-driver titles. Mechanical problems put paid to KwaZulu-Natal crew Don Thompson and Gary Campbell (Zarco) and brothers David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) who were also in the frame where the Class P title was concerned.