HARCUS WINS NISSAN DEALER 400 IN SINGLESEATER Brandon Harcus drove the "race of his life" to win the Special Vehicle category on the Nissan Dealer 400, the opening round of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended in Darling...
HARCUS WINS NISSAN DEALER 400 IN SINGLESEATER
Brandon Harcus drove the "race of his life" to win the Special Vehicle category on the Nissan Dealer 400, the opening round of the Absa Off Road Championship, which ended in Darling today.
What made the Harcus win all the more memorable is that he was out in a singleseater Motorite BAT, and had to contend with both driving and navigation duties. In a car he built himself Harcus, the son of the legendary late Arthur Harcus, surged to victory over reigning Special Vehicle champions Terence Marsh and Mike Whitehouse in the Nashua Mobile BAT, to also take the Class A honours.
The magnitude of Harcus's performance can be appreciated by the fact that he finished just over 23 minutes ahead of Marsh and Whitehouse. The champions, in turn, were 10 minutes ahead of third placed Colin Matthews and Juan Mohr in the Century Property Development BAT.
Harcus took the lead on the second of three 125 kilometre loops after Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in a Motorite BAT, and Gary Bertholdt and Henry Kirstein, in the Atlas Copco BAT, had fallen by the wayside. The two crews set identical times in the prologue to determine start positions for the race, and were locked in battle until the Motorite car went out with a broken clutch.
Bertholdt and Kirstein then went out immediately after the start of the second loop. The right rear suspension on the BAT collapsed and that left Harcus in the clear.
"At the start of the final loop I had my mind set of catching Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan in the Production Car class," said Harcus. "I wasn't sure how far ahead they were, so I was pushing hard.
"Then I decided finishing ahead of the Nissan wasn't as important as making sure of the Special Vehicle win. It was the race of my life."
It was also an adventurous weekend for Harcus. The BAT only arrived from America on Thursday and, after driving through the night to Cape Town, Harcus made it to the start of the prologue on Friday with one minute to spare.
Fourth overall and fourth in Class A were John Moore and veteran co-driver Ashley Thorn, returning to action after a year off, in the Koloi Chev. The pair had a clear run with another solid performance coming from Bez Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruyn, in the Adenco Sandmaster, who completed the top five and took the Class B honours ahead of Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen in the Century Property Development BAT.
Class S honours went to Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire (Nashua Mobile Racing BAT) who came in seventh overall. They took control of the class when reigning champions Richard Schilling and Chris Davies, in the Plastotech Aceco went out on the opening loop with an engine problem.
Schilling and Davies did the Good Samaritan act by towing back to the pits Nick and Ryan Harper, in the BAT Audi, who also suffered an engine problem. A broken power steering pump sidelined Rob and Gareth Wark (Superpave Chenowth) on the startline, with former Class B champions Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain (JRE Nissan) forced out by a string of niggling mechanical problems.
Notable casualties after Friday's prologue included motorcycle legend and reigning Production Vehicle category champion Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Steege, in the Motorite BAT, and Kwa-Zulu Natal crew Clint Gibson and Marcelle Trethewey in the Gibson Plant Hire BAT. Both crews went out with blown motors in what turned out to be an expensive trip, with no reward, to the Western Cape.