GROBLER (PRODUCTION VEHICLES) AND DU PLESSIS (SPECIAL VEHICLES) TAKE THE HONOURS IN FORD/MOTORITE LIMPOPO 400 National championship off road racing came to Limpopo Province for the first time with the running of the Ford/Motorite Limpopo 400 ...
GROBLER (PRODUCTION VEHICLES) AND DU PLESSIS (SPECIAL VEHICLES) TAKE THE HONOURS IN FORD/MOTORITE LIMPOPO 400
National championship off road racing came to Limpopo Province for the first time with the running of the Ford/Motorite Limpopo 400 this weekend. Overall winners of the 400-km two-day event, which ended at the old Polokwane airport this afternoon, were Nissan's Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan in the production vehicle category and Gerhard du Plessis and brother-in-law Ferdi Seegers (Jimco) in the special vehicle category.
Reigning champion Grobler and Jordaan (Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody) finished 25 minutes ahead of team-mates Alfie Cox and Ralph Pitchford in the second 3,5-litre V6 class F Hardbody, who won Friday's prologue and led the event until just before the end of the second of three laps that made up Saturday's 345-km route. Fuel starvation problems slowed them to such an extent that they were forced to struggle to the finish using second and third gears for much of the route.
Third overall in the production vehicle category and first in class D were Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin in their Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i, a further 10 minutes in arrears. Close on their heels after a race-long battle were Manfred Schroder and Alec Harris in a Ford Racing Ranger.
Winner of a close-fought battle for honours in class E were Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst in the Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux, who were fifth overall. Mark Cronje's brother Gavin and Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i) were sixth overall and third in class D and combined with Cronje/Birkin and Visser/Badenhorst to give Toyota the manufacturers' team prize for the day.
Special vehicle category winners Du Plessis and Seegers finished 18 minutes ahead of second-placed Terence Marsh and brother-in-law Michael Whitehouse (Nashua Mobile BAT), who in turn were six minutes ahead of Lesotho Sun 400 winners Nick and son Ryan Harper (BAT).
Fourth overall was the Polokwane pair of Naeem Moosajee and Naazim Moti in their Automoti/Tyre Rack Raceco, recording their first ever class S win in the vehicle's maiden off road event.
Evan Hutchison and Trevor Ormerod (Motorite Racing BAT) recorded their fourth class B win with a well-earned fifth overall. Sixth were Motorite team-mates Brandon Harcus and SA Sports Illustrated editor Steve Smith (having his first-ever off-road race) in their class A BAT.
The event, organised by the Koepel Club with the support of the Pietersburg 4x4 Club, was a great success and was voted by the majority of the competitors as one of the best events of the year so far.