FORD PAIR CLOSE GAP ON ABSA CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS A good result on the recent Ford Motorite 400 has seen the Ford Racing pair of Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, close to within four points of the Production Vehicle championship leaders in...
FORD PAIR CLOSE GAP ON ABSA CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERS
A good result on the recent Ford Motorite 400 has seen the Ford Racing pair of Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, close to within four points of the Production Vehicle championship leaders in the Absa Off Road Championship.
Former champions Woolridge and Skjoldhammer finished second to the Proudly South African Nissan Navara, in the hands of Duncan Vos and Ralph Pitchford, on the Limpopo event. And with championship leaders Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan, in the second Nissan Navara, falling out of the fourth round of the championship, the overall and Super Production Class championships are delicately poised at the halfway mark in the season.
In the overall drivers championship Grobler and Woolridge lead Class E frontrunner Manfred Schroder (Ford Racing) and Class D leader Chris Visser (Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux) with Vos completing the top five. Among the co-drivers Jordaan and Skjoldhammer lead Japie Badenhorst, who sits alongside Visser, Pitchford and Juan Mohr who finished third on the Ford Motorite race with Mark Corbett in the Century Property Development Nissan Navara.
The SP Class championship is also delicately poised and here the Ford pair lead Grobler and Jordaan by nine points. Woolridge and Skjoldhammer, however, have a 100 percent finish record so far this season and still have to drop their worst score.
Nissan now have three wins this season via two from Grobler and Jordaan and the Vos/Pitchford triumph in Limpopo. Woolridge and Skjoldhammer won the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 and have been models of consistency in the Ford Racing Ranger, which made its SP Class debut this season.
Class D leaders Visser and Badenhorst have daylight between themselves and Coetzee Labuschagne and Johan Gerber in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody. The Nissan crew lead Cliff and Louis Weichelt (Bosal Toyota Hilux) and Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Castrol Toyota Hilux), but have a 100 percent finish record so far and they must also drop an event.
The Ford Motorite 400 win saw Visser and Badenhorst, the reigning Class E champions, score their third win of the season. The other win went to the father and son Weichelt team.
On the Class E front KwaZulu-Natal pair Manfred Schroder and Ward Huxtable are running away with matters. After a good start to the season Schroder, in the diesel powered Ford Racing Ranger, has hit a rich vein of form with three victories in a row.
Behind Schroder and Huxtable a string of Toyota crews are fighting it out for the minor places. Among the drivers former circuit racer Fabio Tafani, in his first season off road in the Club Refrigeration Toyota Hilux, is in second place ahead of Brian Martin (Castrol Toyota Hilux), Jaco Swanepoel (IDM Cement Toyota Hilux) and Jannie Visser, brother of Chris, in a Toyota Hilux.
Where the navigators are concerned Mike Baron leads Grayham Bishop, Ockie Fourie and Joks le Roux. The Visser/le Roux combination have only competed twice this season but a pair of second places has seen them rocket up the standings.
In the perennial battle between the pair in the prestige SA Manufacturers Championship, Toyota have opened up a 16 point lead over Nissan. Ford are in third place but a long way adrift of the frontrunners.
The next round of the Absa Off Road Championship will be the Lesotho Sun 400 in Lesotho on September 1 and 2.