Carnival: Championships to go to the wire

Bankfin Off-Road Championshipsg go to the wire. For the second year in a row the Carnival City Casino 400 on November 29 and 30 will provide a grandstand finish to the Bankfin Off-Road Championship. Both the overall Production Vehicle and ...

Bankfin Off-Road Championshipsg go to the wire.

For the second year in a row the Carnival City Casino 400 on November 29 and 30 will provide a grandstand finish to the Bankfin Off-Road Championship.

Both the overall Production Vehicle and Special Vehicle drivers and co-drivers championships will go all the way to the wire, and that adds an additional touch of drama to the East Rand event. A couple of class championships in both categories also have to be settled, and those involved in the various championship chases will be living on a tightrope.

Following the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 the closest title race is the titanic struggle going on in the Production Vehicle category. Former champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, from the Ford Racing stable, and Nissan factory pair Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths are still locked together with both teams already having banked 183 points.

Just to make the situation a little more interesting both crews don't have to worry about the drop points situation which requires that all teams dump one result from throughout the season. Both teams each have one did not finish, and the Carnival City Casino 400 will be a straight fight -- with the odds slightly in favour of Woolridge and Skjoldhammer.

Vos and Griffiths have wrapped up the Class D drivers and co-drivers titles in the Nissan Hardbody, but their chances of winning overall at Carnival City are slim. The overall winners are almost certain to come from Class T -- where Woolridge and Skjoldhammer are clear leaders -- and Vos and Griffiths can only hope for a top five finish, another class win and problems along the way for the Ford Racing crew.

Woolridge and Skjoldhammer are the defending champions at Carnival City and that is likely to give them a boost. The pair has not won this year, with sheer consistency the key to their championship challenges, and with so much at stake the East Rand event would be a good place to break the ice.

The situation in the Special Vehicle championship is not as close, but with three crews involved offers up a few more permutations. With the championship, sponsored by Bankfin, the specialist vehicle finance division of ABSA Bank, having been rescored Class S championship leader Greg Daus (Nashua Mobile Racing) appears to have dropped out of the equation.

Daus, however, has challenged the rescoring and could be back in the frame with Class A leaders Greg Harvey and Boy Stone (Castrol Queen Motor Spares Jimco) and Class B leaders Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain in the Truck Time JRE. Harvey/Stone and Taylor/de Chalain are the better placed of the three crews with consistency also the key where Harvey and Stone are concerned.

The veteran Eastern Cape crew has also not won this season, but taking into account dropping their worst score, Harvey and Stone go into the Carnival City Casino 400 with an eight-point advantage over Taylor and de Chalain. The latter would look to have Class B in the bag but defending drivers champion Giel Nel, in the Luk Africa Truggy, still has a mathematical chance of sneaking in via the back door.

John Weir-Smith won the Queen Motor Spares Tarka 400 in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam BMW Jimco and now leads Atang Makgekgenene (SAM Racing Jimco) in the fight for the runners-up slot in the Class A drivers championship.

"We could not have asked for a better championship situation going into the final round," said MSA Off-Road Car Racing Commission president Piet Swanepoel. "It is going to be a very tense situation for the competitors involved, but it is going to lead to some outstanding racing at the Carnival City Casino 400 on November 29 and 30."

-msa-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Duncan Vos