Tarka: Kopanong Hotel Superteam plots comeback

The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam is plotting a come back to form on the penultimate round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, in the Eastern Cape on November 1 and 2. Round six of the series, the recent...

The O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam is plotting a come back to form on the penultimate round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400, in the Eastern Cape on November 1 and 2.

Round six of the series, the recent Caledon 400 in the Eastern Free State, was a disaster for the squad. None of the Superteam's four entries in the Special Vehicle and Production Vehicle categories made it to the finish, and team leader John Weir-Smith, in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jimco saw his hopes of taking the Class A drivers title go out the window.

"It was a black day for us," was Weir-Smith's wry comment after the Caledon debacle. "We were hoping for a good event but it turned out just the opposite, and all you can do is accept that these things happen in motorsport.

"The task ahead of us now is to make sure we bounce back on the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400."

Weir-Smith and Geoff Minnitt were sidelined on the Caledon 400 when a crankshaft oil seal broke, but he remains upbeat and added that morale was still high. "All the problems we ran into on the Caledon 400 were unforeseen, and it was frustrating seeing a lot of hard work in the workshop go out the window," he said.

Other Superteam casualties on the Free State race were the father and son combination of Rob and Gareth Wark in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Mighty Mag in Class B, and rookies Nic Goslar and Glen Steyn in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco in Class S. A broken gearbox took care of the Wark challenge while the Goslar/Steyn Raceco suffered terminal engine damage.

Reliability problems also continued for the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jeep crewed by Paolo Piazza-Musso and Scott Abraham, with rear suspension and propshaft problems ending their visit to the Free State. The Jeep ran in Class T but is at a big disadvantage to the factory Nissan, Ford and Toyota entries in that it runs to two-wheel drive configuration.

"The Jeep also weighs nearly 50% more than the opposition and is a handful," said Piazza-Musso. "For all that we can match them for pace, but four-wheel drive is a major advantage for the factory teams.

"We'll just have to keep plugging away, and hopefully we can bounce back and put together a good result on the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400."

Members of the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam may be out of the hunt when it comes to titles, but with only two events remaining they could still play a role in the ultimate outcome of various class championship battles. "We would upset a few apple carts," admitted Weir-Smith, "but the main objective is to finish the season on a high."

-msa-

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