After an emotional -- and winning farewell to circuit racing at AA Kyalami over the weekend -- superstar Sarel van der Merwe is fired up for his off-road swansong on the Carnival City Casino 400 on Friday and Saturday. The event is the final...
After an emotional -- and winning farewell to circuit racing at AA Kyalami over the weekend -- superstar Sarel van der Merwe is fired up for his off-road swansong on the Carnival City Casino 400 on Friday and Saturday.
The event is the final round of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship and will mark the legendary Supervan's final appearance in a competition vehicle. Van der Merwe will be sharing the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jeep with Scott Abraham, and intends finishing his off-road career on the same note that he ended his circuit racing career -- by winning.
"I am going to drive the wheels off the Jeep and if it holds together those guys in the fancied works vehicles running in Class T could be in for a shock," said van der Merwe. "Winning my final circuit race was a thrill, and I would like a repeat performance."
Supervan was out testing the Jeep with Abraham the day after his AA Kyalami farewell and was more than satisfied with the outing. The Jeep will run in two-wheel drive in Class F, with van der Merwe confident the vehicle has the potential to win overall on the Carnival City Casino 400.
"Every time I have driven the vehicle I have led a race at some stage or other," said van der Merwe. "Now that the reliability problems appear to have been sorted out I think Scott and I have a realistic shot at an overall victory.
"The intention is to go like hell from the start and if we have a clean run the rest of the field can play catch up."
Van der Merwe also thinks the current state of the overall championship in the Production Vehicle category will be a plus factor for himself and Abraham. Two crews -- Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer in the Ford Racing Ranger and Duncan Vos/Mike Griffiths in the factory Nissan Hardbody are neck and neck with Hannes Grobler/Richard Leeke in another factory Nissan Hardbody also in the running -- and Supervan thinks this will be an advantage.
"The leading contenders are all experienced crews, but they are racing for a championship and that puts pressure on them," said van der Merwe. "They will be occupied with tactical and other considerations while Scott and I can just blast away.
"The test session in the Jeep went well, all the emotion of the AA Kyalami event is over and I am looking forward to what should be a very interesting weekend."