Magalies 400: Series preview

PRODUCTION VEHICLE TITLES TO BE SETTLED ON RFS MAGALIES 400 Two Production Vehicle category championship will be settled at the RFS Magaliesberg 400, the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, on November 6 and 7. The overall and...

PRODUCTION VEHICLE TITLES TO BE SETTLED ON RFS MAGALIES 400

Two Production Vehicle category championship will be settled at the RFS Magaliesberg 400, the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, on November 6 and 7.

The overall and premier SP Class championships have been settled with Donaldson Nissan Navara pair Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford the stand out crew with five wins from seven starts. But the Class D and Class E championships fall under unfinished business, and the minor placings in the overall and SP Class championships also need to be settled.

In the overall championship Ivar Tollefsen and Quin Evans (Donaldson Nissan Navara) are back in second place after a solid third place on the recent Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga. Tollefsen has opened up a nine point lead over Highveld 400 winner Gary Bertholdt in the Atlas Copco Toyota.

Veteran Hannes Grobler, who will have his last outing under the Nissan banner in November, is fourth in the driver championship with his co-driver, Juan Mohr, third in the co-driver stakes. Mohr leapfrogs Andre Vermeulen, who sits alongside Bertholdt, who missed the Toyota 1000 Desert Race.

Fifth in the driver and co-driver championships are Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst in the RFS Toyota Hilux. The top five order is the same in the SP Class championship although there are slight differences in the points, a situation brought on by different scoring allocations in overall and class competition.

The Class D situation is interesting. On the driver front Dewald van Breda (Northam Toyota Hilux D4D) leads Cliff Weichelt (N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D) who won the first three events of the season.

Van Breda has an eight point advantage but his co-driver, Johann du Toit, is assured of the co-driver title. Louis Weichelt, who sat alongside his father in the early part of the season, is now driving the N1 4x4 Ford Ranger in the SP Class, and is likely to be overtaken by third placed Johan Gerber who shares the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody with former Blue Bull Coetzee Labuscagne.

Labuscagne is third in the driver championship but cannot overtake van Breda. However, Gerber is only four points behind young Weichelt who is no longer a factor in the championship. Reigning champions Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (RFS Toyota Hilux) have only won once this year but need only a couple of points on the RFS event to clinch back to back titles. Second on the Toyota Dealer 400 gave Visser/le Roux an 18 point advantage over Deon Venter and Ian Palmer in the 4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux.

Venter and Palmer lead team-mates Pikkie Labuschagne and Rikus Erasmus by three points with track star Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie fourth in the Ferodo Nissan Hardbody. Poulter/Howie scored their second win of the season in Mpumalanga with Venter/Palmer and Labuschagne/Erasmus also having won twice.

ONE SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE DECIDED AT RFS MAGALIES 400

A desperately close championship that is still to be settled will be one of the features of the RFS Magalies 400, the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, on November 6 and 7.

The recent Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga has set up a mouth watering finale in Class P in the Special Vehicle category. Only five points now separate the first three in the drivers championship, with a single point separating two co-drivers.

The overall and Class A driver and co-driver championships are done and dusted with Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the Motorite Revo1 4x4, already having clinched their second South African championship. But the fight for minor placings will also go all the way to the wire on the RFS event.

In the overall championship one point separates Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT) and former champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Porter) in second and third. Also in with a chance of finishing in the runner-up slot are Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT) who trail Variawa and Rousseau by 10 points.

Vagaries in overall and class scoring see a slightly different situation in Class A. Here the Harpers lead Whitehouse and Carlson by three points with both teams sporting 100 percent finish records.

Naeem Moosajee (Tyre Rack Jimco), who also has a 100 percent finish record, is fourth ahead of Variawa. There is a switch among the co-drivers, however, with Rousseau leading Mohamed Moultson who missed the Toyota Dealer 400.

With crews having to drop one result from their final tallies there is plenty of room for shifting sands.

On the Class B front a fifth successive win in Mpumalanga clinched the driver championship for Cape based Derrick du Toit in the Orange Tree BAT. Du Toit's regular co-driver, Ian Pienaar, missed the last event and needs a single point to make sure of the co-driver title.

Currently second in the driver and co-driver stakes are the Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew, who have also been models of consistency in the Zarco Lite. Simon Beckett (Century Racing BAT) is third among the driver's with Steve Harris, who deputised for Pienaar on the Toyota Dealer 400, third among the co-drivers.

A non-finish for David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT), a superb performance from Don Thompson (Zarco) and a solid result from reigning champions Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout on the Toyota event, has set up a hugely interesting situation in the Class P driver championship. Johan Bezuidenhout leads David White by a solitary point with Thompson, who came from 29th on the road to finish second overall in Mpumalanga, a further five points adrift. Among the co-drivers Etienne Bezuidenhout leads David White by a solitary point. Third, and in with a mathematical chance of taking the title, is James Rossouw (KEC BAT) who sits alongside Johan van Staden who is fourth in the driver championship.

The anomaly among the Class P co-drivers is the result of Thompson being partnered this season by three different co-drivers. Don Blakey, Gary Campbell and Hjalmar van Gessellen, who has partnered the KwaZulu-Natal flyer on the last three events, have all done duty this season.

-credit: saorc

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Series Other rally
Drivers Ian Palmer , David White , Ralph Pitchford , Quin Evans , Duncan Vos , Japie Badenhorst , Leeroy Poulter