Adenco 400: Series event summary

PRODUCTION VEHICLE LEADERBOARD HAS FAMILIAR LOOK IN ABSA SERIES After only one event -- the Adenco 400 in Darling -- the leaderboard in the Production Vehicle category in the Absa Off Road Championship has a familiar look about it The Donaldson...

PRODUCTION VEHICLE LEADERBOARD HAS FAMILIAR LOOK IN ABSA SERIES

After only one event -- the Adenco 400 in Darling -- the leaderboard in the Production Vehicle category in the Absa Off Road Championship has a familiar look about it The Donaldson Nissan Navara factory crews of Duncan Vos/Ralph Pitchford and Hannes Grobler/Juan Mohr lead the overall and premier SP Class championships after a one/two result in the Western Cape. Vos is the reigning South African driver's champion and Mohr the current co-driver's champion.

The two lead Donaldson Nissan crews dominated at the Adenco 400 in Darling with Vos and Pitchford, who was second on the Dakar Rally this year, coming home 41 seconds ahead of the veteran Grobler and Mohr. A Nissan clean sweep of the podium places was ruined when Ivar Tollefsen and Quin Evans picked up a puncture 30 kilometres from the finish, and were passed by the RFS Toyota Hilux crewed by Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst.

Tollefsen/Evans were fourth with Anthony Taylor and Robin Houghton completing the top five in the first of the factory Castrol Toyota Hilux entries. Tollefsen and Evans also finished fourth on the Dakar Rally in a Nissan Navara designed and built in Midrand.

Former driver's champion Cliff Weichelt and son Louis got their campaign off to a solid start, and gave Toyota one of two class wins on the Adenco 400, when they took Class D in the N1 4x4 Toyota Hilux D4D. The Weichelt's had loads of time in hand over Dewald van Breda and Johan du Toit (Northam Toyota Hilux D4D), the 2008 Rookies of the Year who have moved up from Class E.

Johan Fouche and Wentzel Pretorius were a brave third in a lone Mitsubishi Colt. The major casualties in Class D were Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber (Raysonics Nissan Hardbody) who blew a motor in the prologue.

The 4x4 Megaworld Toyota Hilux pair of Deon Venter and Ian Palmer scored their second national championship win to set the early pace in Class E. They overcame a series of suspension and wheel problems to outlast Louw de Bruin and Riaan Greyling, who were having their first outing in the ex Jack Peckham Ford Ranger now running in Ruwacon racing colours.

Reigning champion Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux (RFS Toyota) salvaged third place after running into prologue problems. Starting from the back of the field they ground out what could be an important result when points are totted up at the end of the season.

The next event on the calendar is the Eastern Cape 400 which is this year based in Jeffreys Bay. The event will be run on April 17 and 18 and the Algoa Motorsport Club has come up with another tough route.

Ends ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE MSA OFF ROAD CAR RACING COMMISSION. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT CHARMAINE FORTUNE 011 462 6243. VISIT www.saoffroadracing.co.za Ref 2009 PR EC 400 POINTS AFTER RACE 1

ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP IRONIC TWIST TO SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP IN ABSA SERIES

After 2008 seasons they would rather forget, two crews this year find themselves in the early lead in the Special Vehicle category of the Absa Off Road Championship.

Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann, in the new Motorite Revo1 4x4, got their season off to a dream start when they won the opening event of the season, the Adenco 400, in Darling in the Western Cape. That gave former champions Hutchison and Bergmann an early lead over Naeem Moosajee/Mohammed Moultson (Tyre Rack Jimco) and the father and son pair of Nick and Ryan Harper in the Atlas Copco BAT.

In an ironic twist Hutchison and Bergmann and Moosajee/Moultson were involved in a massive accident in last year's Darling event. The Motorite BAT they were campaigning at the time was totally destroyed, and the rest of the season was a nightmare with a lone victory interspersed by a string of non finishes.

For their part Moosajee and Moultson last year made only one more appearance after the Darling accident -- in the final event of the season. They entered the RFS Magalies 400 but were among the non finishers.

For reigning champions Kallie and Quintin Sullwald, in the Sullwald Racing BAT, there was a hugely disappointing end to the Darling event. After dominating the race they suffered a mechanical breakdown 10 kilometres from the finish and could only watch in frustration as Hutchison/Bergmann and company went by.

In both the overall and Class A standings the first three crews are followed by Mike Whitehouse and Mathew Carlson (Regent Racing BAT) and brothers Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout in the Adenco BAT. The Bezuidenhout's are the reigning Class P champions and got their 2009 campaign off to a strong start with a top five finish on the Adenco 400.

The Darling result also had another spin-off for the Bezuidenhout brothers who were the only Class P finishers. Highly rated crews like Don Thompson/Don Blakey (Zarco), Richard Schilling/Chris Davies (Cultura Aceco), David and Gary White (Ruwacon BAT) and John Weir-Smith/Richard Carolin (Men's Health International Zarco) all fell by the wayside and the Bezuidenhout's immediately enjoy a healthy cushion at the top of the championship log.

The Adenco 400 turned into something of a triumph for the Bezuidenhout family. Father Bes and son Deon, in another Adenco BAT, overcame a string of electrical problems to win Class B ahead of Simon Beckett and Steve Harris in the Century Racing BAT. Third were Derick du Toit and Ian Palmer, in the Orange Tree BAT, in a category which this year could be highly competitive.

The Absa series moves to the Eastern Cape for the next event on April 17, and 18. The Eastern Cape 400 will this year be based in the Jeffreys Bay and promises to be another tough outing.

-credit: saorc

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Ian Palmer , Ralph Pitchford , Quin Evans , Duncan Vos