Desert Race: Off-road racing - a family affair

Motor racing has always been a family affair, and down the years some great family traditions have been established in the fast lane. On the international front the Andretti, Unser, Hill and Villeneuve families have all produced champions who ...

Motor racing has always been a family affair, and down the years some great family traditions have been established in the fast lane.

On the international front the Andretti, Unser, Hill and Villeneuve families have all produced champions who became household names. Closer to home names like Scheckter, van der Linde, Piazza-Musso, Olthoff and Damseaux spring to mind when blood being thicker than water in motor racing is discussed.

On this score South African off-road racing is not lagging behind. Nearly a quarter of the entries on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, round three of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in Botswana from June 21 to 23 have family connections.

Included in the entry for the Botswana race are six husband and wife combinations, five crews where brothers have teamed up, three father and son crews and a lone uncle and nephew combination. Support crews, too, feature a wide variety of wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts.

On the Toyota 1000 Desert Race husband and wife combinations include Gerhard and Zelda Niemandt, Marius and Tracey van Vuuren, Gawie and Elaine van Deventer, Neels and Zelda van der Walt, Frank and Dalene de Greef and Derrick and Tina de Bruyn. None of them, however, will admit as to who has the final say in the car!

The brother combinations include, Henri and Maurice Zermatten, Andre du Plessis and Jannie and Chris Visser. Bes Besuidenhout, Bodo Bertholdt, Alfred van Vuuren, Jaap de Bruyn and Roy Slabber are teamed with sons Deon, Gary, Tommy, Hugo and Milton respectively, and Max Mohr has his nephew, Hein, as co-driver.

"We have always promoted off-road racing as a family affair," said MSA Off-Road Car Racing Commission president Piet Swanepoel. "Judging from the entry for the Botswana event we are on the right track!"

-msa-

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