Magalies 400: Series preview

ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER TAKES ALL IN PRODUCTION CAR CATEGORY AT RFS MAGALIES 400 It will be a case of winner takes all in the Production Car category at the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, the RFS Magalies 400, on...

ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER TAKES ALL IN PRODUCTION CAR CATEGORY AT RFS MAGALIES 400

It will be a case of winner takes all in the Production Car category at the final event of the Absa Off Road Championship, the RFS Magalies 400, on November 21 and 22.

Following the recent Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga, three drivers are in line to win the overall and premier SP Class championship with only four points separating Neil Woolridge in the Ford Racing Ranger and Sasol Nissan Navara pair Hannes Grobler and Duncan Vos.

In the co-driver championships it is a straight fight between Kenny Skjoldhammer, who sits alongside Woolridge, and Juan Mohr who partners Grobler. They are separated by only three points.

In the overall championship Woolridge has 121 points, Grobler 118 and Vos 117. Just to make it more interesting Woolridge and Vos have 100 percent finish records so far this season and, depending on the RFS Magalies 400 race, may have to drop one result from their final scores.

Out of the picture in the driver championship are Mark Cronje in the factory Castrol Toyota Hilux and Chris Visser in the privateer Castrol Toyota Hilux. The pair, along with the likes of Anthony Taylor/Robin Houghton (Castrol Toyota Hilux) and Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Micaren Exel Toyota Hilux) could influence the final outcome of the overall and SP Class championships.

In the co-driver battle Skjoldhammer (121) leads Mohr (118) by three points. And, depending on the Magalies results, Skjoldhammer may also have to drop one result from his final tally.

Anomalies in points allocations in overall and class results paints a slightly different picture in the SP Class. Here Grobler leads Vos and Woolridge, with only three points between the trio in the driver championship with Mohr leading Skjoldhammer by two points in the co-driver title chase.

"It is a fluid situation but once again demonstrates the competitive nature of off road racing in this country," said Motorsport SA Off Road Car Racing Commission president Richard Schilling. "It has set the scene for a fantastic final race with huge pressure on those in the championship race."

In Class D brothers Henri and Maurice Zermatten, in the Ryobi Nissan Hardbody, have all but clinched the championship. They could also be forced to drop a result but have a handy lead over Coetzee Labuscagne/Johan Gerber (Raysonics Nissan Hardbody) and Ramon and Maret Bezuidenhout (Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux) who are fighting over second place.

Veterans Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux, in the Team Barberspan Toyota Hilux, have also all but made sure of the Class E championship. Rookie Dewald van Breda (Potch Plastics Toyota Hilux) and reigning champion Jack Peckham (Ford Racing Ranger) lie second and third in the driver stakes.

Among the co-drivers it is a lot closer. Here just two points separate Johann du Toit, who sits alongside van Breda, and Lucio Santoro who shares the Ford Ranger with Peckham.

The RFS Magalies 400 is a new event on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar and will be based at the Tarlton International Raceway on the outskirts of Krugersdorp.

ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP GRANDSTAND FINISH TO SPECIAL VEHICLE CATEGORY AT RFS MAGALIES 400

There will be a grandstand finish to the Special Vehicle category championship at the RFS Magalies 400, the final event on the Absa Off Road Championship calendar, on November 21 and 22.

Three crews are in line to take the overall and Class A championships with the season headed for another nail biting climax. Current leaders Karl-Heinz and Quinton Sullwald (Sullwald Racing BAT) have a slender lead over former champion Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau (Total Motorsport Porter) with another former champion, Terence Marsh, and Pieter Groenewald also in the running in the Regent Racing BAT.

The situation at the top of the championship table is further complicated by the fact that the Sullwald's have a 100 percent finish record this season. This means that, depending on results on the RFS Magalies 400 event, they could be forced to drop one score from their final tally.

The situation is just as tight in the Class A championship. Here the Sullwald's also lead Variawa/Rousseau and Marsh/Groenewald but, because of anomalies in points allocation for overall and class results, the position is much tighter.

In the overall championship the top three crews are separated by 24 points. In the Class A, title race, however, the spread is only 17 points.

But tight finishes this season are not restricted to the premier Class A category. Championships are still up for grabs in Classes B and P and there will be plenty of pressure on crews at the RFS Magalies 400.

The Class B driver championship is headed by Louw de Bruin (Ruwacon BAT) who has a slender 12 point lead over veteran former champion Giel Nel in the Luk Africa Zarco Truggy. The co-driver championship is headed by Tiddo Voogt who this season has sat alongside both Jan and Hendrik Kraaij in the Keymax BAT.

Deon de Kock, who partners Nel and Rudi Britz, who co-drives for de Bruin, are tied in second place and trail Voogt by 12 points. Missing an event earlier in the season did not do Britz any good in the championship race.

There is also an interesting situation in Class P where brothers Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout, in the Adenco BAT, have 10 point leads in the driver and co-driver championships. Tied for second in the driver championship are KwaZulu-Natal driver Don Thomson (Zarco) and David White in the Ruwacon BAT.

White's brother Gary is second in the co-driver stakes with Don Blakey third. Blakey, who shares the Zarco with Thomson, missed the recent Toyota Dealer 400 where his place was taken by Gary Campbell.

"The championship issues ensure that interest in the Special Vehicle category will be maintained right to the very end," said Motorsport SA Off Road Car Racing Commission president Richard Schilling. "That is a bonus for the RFS Magalies 400 which is a new event on the calendar and could not have wished for a better debut."

The RFS Magalies 400 will be based at the Tarlton International Raceway on the outskirts of Krugersdorp.

-credit: saorc

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Series Other rally
Drivers Duncan Vos