Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 preview

Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, Round 6 of the MSA Off Road Championship. All Set For Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 There is still a lot to fight for as the 2001 MSA Off Road Car Championship heads for the Tarkastad area of Border for round six,...

Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400,
Round 6 of the MSA Off Road Championship.

All Set For Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400

There is still a lot to fight for as the 2001 MSA Off Road Car Championship heads for the Tarkastad area of Border for round six, the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, on Friday and Saturday (August 10 and 11).

The popular event, which a lot of interest in this isolated and beautiful part of South Africa, has drawn a large entry with all the main contenders in both the Special Vehicle and Production Vehicle classes scheduled to line up for Friday's time trial.

Among the front runners in the Special Vehicle category is Greg Harvey, owner of Queen Motor Spares as well as Nissan and Toyota dealerships in Queenstown, who has arranged an Expo at both dealerships on Thursday, where off-road racing fans can see their favourite off-road vehicles at close quarters and rub shoulders with their racing heroes. Videos of local and overseas off-road races will be shown.

The Queen Motor Spares 400 starts with a 35 km time trial in Tarkastad on Friday, which will determine the starting order for Saturday's 400 km race. The time trial starts at 10:00 and the race gets underway at 07:00 on Saturday.

Heading the Special Vehicle category entry are championship leaders Franz Czepek senior and junior in their class A Vee Motors Chenowth. The father and son pairing has won each of the last five events and is heading for another championship title.

They can expect strong competition from John Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt (O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Raceco), who are second in the class A championship, Greg Harvey and Boy Stone (Queen Motor Spares Jimco), Atang Makgekgenene and Evan Hutchison (Hellmann Worldwide Logistics Jimco) and father and son team Gary and Bodo Bertholdt (M&E Glass Dirtco).

Reigning class B champion Giel Nel (Luk Africa Truggy), who leads the class championship after five rounds and is second behind the Czepeks in the overall championship, will again be under pressure from Kwazulu Natalians Gavan Gray and Graham Cunningham and newcomers to the class Henry Kirstein and Renier Jooste (Deeds Drilling Services Sandmaster), who won the class in the recent O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel 500.

Class T of the Production Vehicle category will most likely prove to be a big drawcard for the local fans. The Super Truck class, which is contested by no less than four manufacturers, has grown since last year and the battle is fast and furious.

Former touring car champion Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan comfortably won the last event in their Nissan Hardbody and will be looking for a third win after also taking the Nissan Sugarbelt 400. Team-mates Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke (winners of the Mitsubishi Barberspan 500) will be looking to make up for the disappointment of not finishing the last event. Toyota 1000 Desert Race winners and reigning Production vehicle champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer (Ford Ranger) and Lichtenburg 400 winners and privateers Cliff Barker and Malcolm Joubert (Barker Performance Products Land Rover) are also in with a chance of victory.

Reigning special vehicle co-driver champion Buks Carolin (Mitsubishi Pajero) is still looking for a win, but leads the class by 13 points from De Villiers and Woolridge after five consistent points-scoring runs. Also not to be discounted is former champion Apie Reyneke in the Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser, who has been plagued by mechanical problems to date.

The Vacation Vans Jeep is always a dark horse and has the capability to win outright and cannot be discounted. It is a firm favourite of the fans and this time the monster American-built truck will be in the hands of Arthur Abraham and Stratford Voogt, with Scott Abraham occupying the co-driver's hot seat.

Equally hotly contested is class D where current leader Shumie van Vuuren (Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser) also leads the overall Production Vehicle championship by 13 points from Carolin. Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr (Petronas Syntium Isuzu KB) have won the last two events and pose a real threat, while reigning champions Hein Grobler and Gerhard Prinsloo (Valid Value Nissan Hardbody) are well in the picture.

Former touring car driver Duncan Vos and Nissan team-mate Mike Griffiths will be looking for good results in their Valid Value Hardbody double cabs.

Class E sees Andrew and Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux) equal second with Manfred Schroeder and Jack Peckham (Ford Ranger) behind privateers Coetzee Labuschagne and Piet Heunis (Raysonic Toyota Hilux). All three crews have tasted success and have the class title in their sights.

The Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 is also a round of the MSA Off Road Motorcycle and Quad Championship with all the top motorcycle and quad riders expected to do battle on what promises to be a tough route.

-MSA-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Giniel de Villiers , Mark Corbett , Duncan Vos