Carnival City 400 post-event notes

HIGH ATTRITION RATE ON FORD CARNIVAL CITY 400 The Ford Carnival City 400, the final event of the South African Off Road Championship, not only settled outstanding championship issues but also provided for the highest attrition rate of the ...


The Ford Carnival City 400, the final event of the South African Off Road Championship, not only settled outstanding championship issues but also provided for the highest attrition rate of the season.

The atrocious weather conditions saw to it that of 52 starters in the Special Vehicle category only nine made it to the finish. The percentage of finishers in the Production Vehicle category was slightly higher with 11 of the 34 starters making it to the end.

On the Production Vehicle front the overall and SP Class win for Bevan Bertholdt and Robin Houghton, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux, spearheaded Toyota's triumph in the prestige SA Manufacturers Championship. The final margin saw Toyota (418) finish comfortably ahead of Nissan (367) with Ford third with 242 points.

Second place behind Bertholdt/Houghton also saw the Ford Racing pair of Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer win the SP Class ahead of overall champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan in the Proudly South African Nissan Navara. In the final overall standings Grobler/Jordaan finished ahead of Woolridge/Skjoldhammer and Bertholdt/Houghton, while in the SP Class standings the Ford pair finished ahead of the Nissan and Toyota crews.

The Class D and Class E championships were decided before the Ford Carnival City 400, with Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst (Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux) winning Class D and Manfred Schroder/Ward Huxtable (Ford Racing Ranger) taking Class E. The final event, however, saw to it that Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Castrol Toyota Hilux) finished runners-up with Coetzee Labuscagne and Johan Gerber, who made a fast start to the season, finishing third in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody.

The Ford Carnival City event also put an end to a string of seven successive Toyota wins in Class D. The Toyota run was ended by Arnold du Plessis and Johan Knox in the BB Auto Nissan Hardbody who came in ahead of the de Bruyn's.

Down in Class E the Moffat brothers, Mark and Stewart finished second in the championship behind Schroder and Huxtable. Next up were Jannie Visser/Joks le Roux (Toyota Hilux) and Brian Martin/Ockie Fourie (Castrol Toyota Hilux) with Ford winning five times and Toyota three times via Martin/Fourie, the Moffat's and George and Sharon Barkhuizen in the Ruwacon Toyota Hilux.

As was the case in the Production Vehicle category, anomalies in the off road scoring system saw a different overall and Class A finish order among the top drivers in that Alfie Cox, Evan Hutchison and Brandon Harcus took the first three places in the overall championship.

In Class A, however, it was a slightly different story. Here outgoing overall champion Terence Marsh (Nashua Mobile BAT) edged out Harcus, by just one point, to spoil what would otherwise have been a perfect season for the Motorite team.

Cox, Hutchison and Harcus each scored two wins as the Motorite squad dominated the overall championship and Class A. The other wins went to Nick and Ryan Harper (Dermasun BAT) on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race and Gary Bertholdt and Henry Kirstein (Atlas Copco Porter) on the Ford Motorite 400.

A late run took veterans Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen (Century Property Development BAT) to the title in a highly competitive Class B. Corbett/Goosen edged out Jan and Hendrik Kraaij (Keymax BAT) and Johann and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco Bat).

Just how competitive it was in Class B can be gauged from the fact that six separate crews posted wins. Corbett/Goosen and the Kraaijs took two wins apiece with other victories going to Johann and Etienne Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT), Bez Bezuidenhout/Johan de Bruyn (Adenco BAT), Giel Nel/Johan Smalberger (Bosal LUK Truggy) and Rudi and Pierre van Graan in the Technochair Zarco.

The Ford Carnival City 400 also settled the drivers title in Class S. Despite a non finish Nic Goslar (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco), edged out reigning champion Richard Schilling in the Plastotech Aceco who was also among the race casualties. Archie Rutherford (Nashua Mobile Raceco) took third place among the drivers.

Reigning co-drivers champion Chris Davies, who sat alongside Schilling, retained his title ahead of Craig Doubtfire, who shared with Rutherford, and Richard Carolin who partnered Goslar. When Goslar called it a day on the Ford Carnival City event with blurred vision, Carolin took over the car but a brave effort was not enough to see him move ahead of Doubtfire.

"It was another hugely successful season for off road racing," said Motorsport SA Off Road Car Commission president Piet Swanepoel. "The racing was always highly competitive, drew big crowds and the season also marked our entry into world championship off road racing.

"A good working relationship existed between the commission and Absa, who will be back on board next year, and our other partners in Ford, Nissan and Toyota. Against this background there is every reason to expect that next year will also be highly successful."

-credit: msa

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Alfie Cox , Japie Badenhorst