O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel 'Most places gained' Award

Heroic Off-Road Racing "Come From Behind" Performances Rewarded The first winners of the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel award for the most meritorious come-from-behind performance in a national championship off-road car race have been announced. The...

Heroic Off-Road Racing "Come From Behind" Performances Rewarded

The first winners of the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel award for the most meritorious come-from-behind performance in a national championship off-road car race have been announced.

The novel award, introduced by the new sponsors of the off-road race previously known as the Mafikeng 500, which took place in and around Mmabatho in North West Province recently, recognises the driver/co-driver combination that makes up the most places during the event.

Winner in the Special Vehicle category of the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel 500, round five of the 2001 MSA Off Road Car Championship, was Giel Nel in his class B Luk Africa Truggy. Nel, the reigning class B champion, started 45th out of 61 starters (Special Vehicles and Production Vehicles combined) after experiencing problems in Friday's 45 km time trial. He recovered magnificently during Saturday's gruelling 500 km race, finishing sixth overall among the Special Vehicles and third in class B.

The Production Vehicle award went to brothers Henri and Maurice Zermatten in their Sony Play Station Mitsubishi Pajero, who started 60th overall and finished a remarkable sixth in their category and third in class D despite stopping to help three stranded fellow competitors along the route.

John Weir-Smith, chairman of O'Hagan's and himself a leading driver in the Special Vehicle category in his O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Jimco, said the awards would tend to recognise top performing privateers. "Sportsmanship as displayed by the Zermatten brothers is commendable. This is the true spirit of off-road racing and it is an inspiration and example to all competitors."

This year's championship has been characterised by some stirring come-from-behind performances. The challenge of picking off the field in front of you, often having to cope with dust and poor visibility and narrow tracks with little or no room for overtaking, is daunting and the new award is welcomed by those who successfully make it from the back into the top 10 at the finish.

The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel "Most places gained" award will be presented to the most deserving competitor in the Special Vehicle and Production Vehicle categories in each of the remaining three rounds of this year's MSA Off Road Car Championship.

-MSA-

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