Series Free State review

VISSER AND BADENHORST CLINCH PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP Privateers Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst have clinched the Production Vehicle category title in the Absa Off Road Championship - no matter what happens on the final event of the ...

VISSER AND BADENHORST CLINCH PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP

Privateers Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst have clinched the Production Vehicle category title in the Absa Off Road Championship - no matter what happens on the final event of the year.

Victory on the inaugural Human Auto 400 in the Free State, the penultimate round of the championship, was enough to put the RFS Toyota Hilux pair beyond the reach of Hannes Grobler and Hennie ter Stege, in the RFS BMW. Grobler and ter Stege can still finish level on points with Visser and Badenhorst if they win the RFS Magalies 400 in November, but will then be knocked out of contention on a count out.

If Visser and Badenhorst fail to score and Grobler/ter Stege win the Magalies event, the two crews will finish level on points. The title would then go to Visser and Badenhorst who will have scored three wins as against two for Grobler and ter Stege.

A non finish in the Free State blew outgoing drivers champion Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, in the Team Castrol Toyota Hilux, out of the championship reckoning. They are still a solid third in the championship with a terrific scrap behind them for the minor placings in the driver's championship

Here only six points separate Terence Marsh (Regent Racing Nissan Navara), former champion Neil Woolridge and Gary Bertholdt. Marsh has 69 points with Woolridge and Bertholdt on 65 and 63 respectively.

Behind the first three the situation among the co-drivers is also fluid. Here seven points separate Kenny Skjoldhammer (65), Andre Vermeulen (63) and Buks Carolin on 58 points.

Skjoldhammer partners Woolridge, Vermeulen sits alongside Bertholdt and Carolin partners Marsh. Business commitments are, however, likely to see Carolin, who missed the Free State race, also sit out the final event.

The situation in the premier SP Class championship is a little different, and Grobler and ter Stege can still sneak in via the back door. Anomalies in off road scoring would then see Visser/Badenhorst crowned the overall champions and Grobler/ter Stege the SP Class kingpins.

As matters stand Visser/Badenhorst lead Grobler/Ter Stege by 16 points with Vos and Howie a further nine points in arrears. Eleventh place on the RFS Magalies 400 will be enough to give the title to Visser and Badenhorst.

Two wins in a row have taken Deon Venter and Ian Palmer (4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux) to the top of the Class D championship. They are now nine points clear of early season pacesetters Dewald van Breda and Johann du Toit, with the Northam Toyota Hilux reclassified as an SP Class vehicle at the Human Auto 400.

The accident that put teenager Lance Woolridge and Ward Huxtable (Team Ford Ranger) out of action in the Free State has also thrown the Class E championship wide open. A come from behind win for Pikkie Labuschagne and Rickus Erasmus, in the 4x4 Mega World Toyota Hilux, brought the Wolmarranstad crew to within nine points of Woolridge and Huxtable.

Woolridge suffered a back injury when the Team Ford Ranger hit a ditch at speed, and is a doubtful starter for the RFS Magalies 400. In a close finish to last year's championship Labuschagne and Erasmus lost out by one point to Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux.

The RFS Magalies 400 will be held on November 19 and 20. Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service point will again be at the Tarlton International Raceway complex near Krugersdorp.

FIGHT TO THE FINISH IN SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP

It will be a fight to the finish between Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau and rivals Kallie and Quintin Sullwald in the Special Vehicle category championship decider at the RFS Magalies 400 on November 19 and 20.

A win on the inaugural Human Auto 400 in the Free State, the penultimate round of the Absa Off Road Championship, saw Kallie and Quintin Sullwald (Elegant Fuel BAT) move to within six points of championship leaders Variawa and Rousseau in the Team Total Porter. With 25 points for a win and 19 for second there is every prospect the two teams could tie on points, with the championship decided on a count out.

As matters stand Variawa/Rousseau have three wins and two seconds to their credit this season. After failing to pick up points in the first two events of the season, the Sullwald's have since then racked up two wins and three seconds.

There are other permutations that could also come into play. The bottom line, however, is that the championship is a straight fight between Variawa/Rousseau and the father and son team from Phalaborwa.

Class P champions Johan van Staden and James Rossouw (Atlas Copco BAT) are out of the overall championship picture, but could pip the Sullwald's in the runner-up stakes. A non finish on the Human Auto 400 dropped Herman and Wichard Sullwald (Sullwald Racing SVR) out of the overall picture and the best they can hope for is to displace van Staden/Rossouw in third spot.

Behind the top three there is also a good scrap in the offing for the minor placings in the driver's championship. Nick Harper (Atlas Copco BAT), Jimmy Zahos (Cobalt Racing Porter) and Class P driver Archie Rutherford (Regent Racing Jimco) are separated by just two points.

All three drivers have used more than one co-driver during the season, with Mike Lawrenson the third co-driver to have sat alongside Rutherford. This has seen Louis Alberts, who sits alongside father Nardus in the Wrapsa BAT, move into fifth place in the co-driver overall championship.

The picture in Class A is much the same as for the overall championship. Here Variawa and Rousseau lead Kallie and Quintin Sullwald by just four points with the second Sullwald team a further nine points in arrears.

A win in the Free State has also given Cape Town crew Bes Bezuidenhout and daughter-in-law Lindie (Adenco BAT) the Class B title. The Human Auto 400 result put the Bezuidenhout's out of reach of Coetzee Labuscagne and daughter Sandra (Raysonics Zarco) and the Makenete brothers, Keith and Andrew, in another Zarco.

Van Staden and Rossouw, who early in the season made history when they became the first Class P crew to win an Absa national event overall, also wrapped up their title in the Free State. Rutherford and Swaziland based John Thomson (Zarco Magnum) are second and third among the drivers, with Deon Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) and Rudi Balzer (Century Racing CR2) second and third among the co-drivers.

The final event of the season, the RFS Magalies 400, will be run on November 19 and 20 with race headquarters again based at the Tarlton International Raceway. The start and finish and the designated service point will also be located at the Krugersdorp complex.

-source: saorc

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Ian Palmer , Duncan Vos , Japie Badenhorst