Mpumalanga: Superteam preview

The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam will mount a major attack on the Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in Mpumalanga on August 23 and 24. John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel ...

The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam will mount a major attack on the Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in Mpumalanga on August 23 and 24.

John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam BMW Jimco) in Class A, Rob and Gareth Wark (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Mighty Mag) in Class B and Paolo Piazza-Musso and Scott Abraham (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jeep) in Class F, will all tackle an event that opens new ground for off-road racing. Missing from the line-up, however, will be Richard Carolin (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Raceco) in Class S, who has a prior family commitment.

Standing in for Carolin in the Raceco will be off-road motorcycle racers Nick Goslar and Glenn Steyn. Both will be making their Special Vehicle debuts, and will share the driving duties.

In another change Weir-Smith links up once again with Geoff Minnitt who sat alongside the O'Hagan's Chairman for the whole of last season. Tony George, with whom Weir-Smith won the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, has parted company with the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam.

"We will be looking for solid results from all three crews," said Superteam spokesperson Arthur Abraham. "Two non finishes in a row for the Class A car mean that Weir-Smith now has to play catch-up in both the overall and Class A championships in the Special Vehicle category.

"With Minnitt back in the car with Weir-Smith, we are hoping for a change in fortunes. With Carolin ruled out of the event, it was decided to give Goslar and Steyn a taste of off-road racing on four wheels, and they should enjoy the experience."

There was also a non-finish for the Wark father and son combination on the recent O'Hagans/Kopanong Hotel 500 in North West Province. A gearbox problem sidelined them in their debut for the Superteam, and the pair will be aiming to break the ice and put some pressure on the Class B frontrunners.

Piazza-Musso and Abraham will go into the Toyota Dealer 400 brimful of confidence after winning Class F last time out. It was a long overdue success for the vehicle, and the crew will be hoping to go one better and finish among the frontrunners in the Production Vehicle category.

"The class win was a decided boost for us after a string of disappointments," said Piazza-Musso. "The Jeep has always had the potential to be among the frontrunners, and if we can keep the vehicle together we should do well."

The Toyota Dealer Team 400 will be centred around White River, with Mpumalanga better known as rally country. With his wide rally experience -- he is a former South African champion -- Piazza-Musso is looking forward to returning to the area.

"Conditions will be completely foreign to a large proportion of competitors," he said. "I know just what to expect, and this should give us an advantage."

-aa/stt-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally