Adenco 400: Series event review

EARLY PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD FOR VISSER/BADENHORST A popular victory on the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape has given Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst a flying start to the Production Vehicle championship in the Absa Off Road ...

EARLY PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD FOR VISSER/BADENHORST

A popular victory on the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape has given Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst a flying start to the Production Vehicle championship in the Absa Off Road Championship.

Visser and Badenhorst, in the RFS/Visser Transport Toyota Hilux, romped to a comfortable win ahead of Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen (Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux) and veterans Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege in the RFS Toyota Hilux. It was a first overall win for the racing Visser family since Chris's father won the Roof of Africa in 1975.

It is going to take a while to sink in, but we had a great race," said Visser, hugging his small daughter, after the race. "It was tough going in the sand but the vehicle was great, Japie was in form and it worked out well."

Bertholdt and Vermeulen unobtrusively worked their way through the field to collect second place overall. It was a good start for the Atlas Copco pair as well as for Grobler and ter Stege who, despite being two of the most experienced campaigners around, were competing together for the first time.

The surprise package came in the form of Ramon and Maret Bezuidenhout who were fourth in their first outing in the Red Star Raceway Toyota Hilux. There was also a noteworthy Class SP debut for Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing Nissan Navara) who prevented a Toyota clean sweep of the top five places.

Although there are anomalies in off road championship scoring with different points allocated for overall and class positions, the top five in the overall title stakes remain the same in the class championship.

Reigning champions Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux D4D) took the early lead in Class D. Competition is likely to hot up in the next few races, with three new Super D vehicles in the pipeline.

Rookies Gerald le Roux and Willem Pretorius also took an early lead in Class E. The pair scored a creditable win in their first ever national event in the Ruwacon Racing Ford Ranger which was last year campaigned by Louw de Bruin and Riaan Greyling.

The next race on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar is the Toyota Dealer 400 in Lydenburg on April 16 and 17. Race headquarters, the Donaldson Prologue start/finish and designated service point will all be at that the Rooikat Club. The start of the race will be as in the past at Lydenburg Toyota in Voortrekker Street. Entrance to the start/finish and designated service point as well as all spectator points on the route is free of charge.

FLYING START FOR VARIAWA/ROUSSEAU IN SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP

Victory in the Special Vehicle category on the Adenco 400 in the Western Cape was an early bonus for Team Total pair Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau.

Former South African champion Variawa and Rousseau took the Team Total Porter to what, in the end, was a comfortable enough victory over Colin Matthews and Alan Smith in the Regent Racing BAT. Third were reigning champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann (Motorite BAT) and, for differing reasons, all three will be happy with a solid start to the championship.

"We went into the race just looking for a good finish in the points, so a win was a bonus," said Variawa. As far as Matthews and Smith are concerned they were happy to see an end to reliability problems that plagued them last year, while Hutchison and Bergmann were back in a rear-wheel drive car.

The 4x4 Motorite Revo1 in which they won last year's championship was mothballed via new FIA regulations. The new regulations stipulate that 4x4 Special vehicle must have the engine in the front.

"We had a power steering problem on the Donaldson Prologue and it took me a while to adjust to two-wheel drive," said Hutchison. "Under the circumstances it wasn't a bad result."

The steady Nardus Alberts and son Louis (Wrapsa BAT) slipped into fourth place with the top five in the overall championship rounded out by 2009 Rookies of the Year Johan van Staden and James Rossouw. Another impressive performance took van Staden and Rossouw to the Class P victory.

In the Class A championship the top four remain the same as in the overall championship. Boela Botes and Johann Pretorius (Botes Vervoer BAT) continue to improve race by race and round out the top five.

Reigning Class B champion Derick du Toit and rookie co-driver Adre Rheeder have taken the early lead in Class B in the Orange Tree BAT. They came in ahead of Marius Nicholson and Rod Jeffrey in an ageing Opel Sandmaster.

The Adenco 400 also provided proof that Class P is going to be very competitive this season. Van Staden/Rossouw got off to a dodgy start in the race when a puncture cost them a hatful of places.

The Pretoria crew did well to fight back but were helped along when Johan and Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) blew a motor early on the second of the two loops that made up the race. Veteran crews Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Aceco) and Archie Rutherford/Craig Doubtfire (Regent Racing Jimco) also showed they are still a force with which to be reckoned.

The next race on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar is the Toyota Dealer 400 in Lydenburg on April 16 and 17. Race headquarters, the Donaldson Prologue start/finish and designated service point will all be at that the Rooikat Club. The start of the race will be as in the past at Lydenburg Toyota in Voortrekker Street. Entrance to the start/finish and designated service point as well as all spectator points on the route is free of charge.

-source: saorc

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Japie Badenhorst