Ford Racing duo and former champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst kept their championship hopes alive when they finished ahead of the rest of the field at the 4×4 Mega World 400, round six of the Absa Off-Road Championship, on Saturday.
Visser and Badenhorst, who also won the Donaldson Prologue to determine position, led from the start to bring their Ford Racing Ranger home two minutes and 39 seconds ahead of the RFS BMW X3 of Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege, who battled with brake and power steering gremlins.
“This has come just at the right time. We have not had much luck in recent events and broke a rear anti-roll bar 10 kilometres into the race. It affected the handling but it was good to win and it was a great result for the team to also have Lance and Ward on the podium,” Visser admitted afterward.
The second Ford Racing Ranger of Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable scooped the final podium position, ahead of Team Castrol Toyota pair Duncan Vos and Rob Howie who rested their Hilux on its side after misjudging a turn while chasing Visser and Badenhorst. The Toyota duo recovered and later even suffered a puncture, but did well to finish fourth.
“The momentum caused the bakkie to fall on to its right-hand side alongside the road. Gary Bertholdt and Ralph Pitchford were the first on the scene and very sportingly stopped to help. They pulled the Hilux back on its wheels with their tow strap. Unfortunately all four wheels were off the ground and it took us quite a while before we could jack up the bakkie and get it back on to the road,” said Vos of the earlier incident."
Toyota team-mates Anthony Taylor and Chris Birkinweren’t so lucky after their own mishap, when after running in fourth they hit a ditch and retired their Hilux. Mike Whitehouse and Matthew Carlson capitalised on the difficulties experienced by the Toyota squad this weekend and brought their Regent Racing Navara home in a respectable fifth, despite some mechanical issues of their own.
The next round of the Absa Off-Road Championship is the Human Auto 400, the penultimate round of the season, which starts on October 19.