Championship update after Gaborone

SULLWALD'S STILL LEAD SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP With the season at the halfway mark, some top names are conspicuous by their absence from the top echelons of those chasing national titles in the Special Vehicle category in this year's Absa...

SULLWALD'S STILL LEAD SPECIAL VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP

With the season at the halfway mark, some top names are conspicuous by their absence from the top echelons of those chasing national titles in the Special Vehicle category in this year's Absa Off Road Championship.

Missing from the top five in the overall championship are reigning South African champions Evan Hutchison and Achim Bergmann (Motorite BAT), last year's runners-up Nick and Ryan Harper (Atlas Copco BAT), Brandon Harcus and Richard Leeke in the second Motorite BAT and Gary Bertholdt and Andre Vermeulen who slipped down the table after a non finish on the recent Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race. Still leading the drivers and co-drivers title chases are Karl-Heinz and Quintin Sullwald in the Sullwald Racing BAT.

The Sullwald's, who won last year's event, were third this time around and in the overall standings have a nine point lead over former champion Terence Marsh and Pieter Groenewald in the Regent Racing BAT. Marsh and Groenewald were back in the points in Botswana with victory for Shameer Variawa and Siegfried Rousseau, the Total Motorsport Porter, leapfrogging them into third place. The triumph for the Total Porter team was former SA champion Variawa's first Desert Race win in 15 attempts. He also became a father for the second time on the Thursday before the event.

The father and son Sullwald combination also lead the Class A standings. Anomalies in points allocations for overall and class finishes see to it that Variawa and Rousseau move ahead of Marsh and Groenewald in the class positions.

There is a case of cross pollination in Class B. Louw de Bruin (Ruwacon BAT) leads the driver standings with regular partner Rudi Britz second among the co-drivers. Veteran Bez Bezuidenhout (Adenco BAT) is second in the driver standings while his regular partner, Johann de Bruyn, leads the co-driver championship.

It is a situation brought about by Britz missing the Nissan Sugarbelt 400. The Bezuidenhout/de Bruyn pairing scored their second win of the season -- despite a 10 minute penalty for not attending drivers briefing -- on the Desert Race.

Out of the points in Class P are reigning Class S champions Richard Schilling and Chris Davies (Aceco RS) who missed the Botswana race, and failed to finish in their three other starts. Sitting pretty on top of the Class P pile are KwaZulu-Natal crew Don Thomson and Don Blakey (Zarco Lite) who have an 11 point advantage over brothers Johan and Etienne Bezuidenhout in the Adenco BAT.

The Bezuidenhout's won Class P in Botswana - ahead of Thomson and Blakey - to give father Bez a timely father's Day present. It also completed a highly successful Botswana outing for the Bezuidenhout family.

-credit: absa

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