GROBLER/JORDAAN DOMINATE TOYOTA 1000 DESERT RACE Gaborone, Saturday -- Veteran former South African champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan dominated the first racing section on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, round three of the Absa ...
GROBLER/JORDAAN DOMINATE TOYOTA 1000 DESERT RACE
Gaborone, Saturday -- Veteran former South African champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan dominated the first racing section on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, round three of the Absa Off Road Championship, which started here today.
At the overnight halt back in Gaborone late in the day provisional results saw the Proudly South African Nissan Navara crew, leading the Production Vehicle category, the Super Production Class and the overall standings, finished eight minutes ahead of Special Vehicle category and Class A leaders Gary Bertholdt and Henry Kirstein in the Atlas Copco BAT. That sounds straight forward enough but Grobler and Jordaan started the day in 16th place, four and a half minutes behind Bertholdt and Kirstein, after a disappointing performance in the prologue to determine start positions.
The former champions, with Grobler something of a hero in Botswana, simply carved their way through the field. At the end of the first 500 kilometre racing section Grobler and Jordaan led the Production Vehicle category by 12 minutes ahead of Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin, in the Castrol Toyota Hilux.
Third in the Production Vehicle category and the SP Class were factory Ford Racing Ranger pair Rob Gurney and Graham Stainbank. Team-mates Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer, who set the fastest time overall in the prologue, were among crews to suffer mechanical problems and gradually drop out of contention.
In Class D, lead overnight by Bosal Toyota Hilux father and son crew Cliff and Louis Weichelt, a dogfight was brewing. The Weichelt's were two minutes ahead of Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst, in the Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux, who were just four seconds ahead of Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr in the Century Property Developments Nissan Hardbody.
The KwaZulu-Natal pair of Manfred Schroder and Ward Huxtable, in the works Ford Racing Ranger, were in control of Class E. They held a 24 minute lead over Jannie Visser and Joks le Roux, in a Toyota Hilux, who were having their first outing of the season.
On the Special Vehicle front and in Class A Bertholdt and Kirstein had a good day to finish nearly five minutes ahead of the steady father and son crew of Nick and Ryan Harper in the BAT Audi. The Harpers, however, were under a little pressure from motorcycle legend Alfie Cox and Hennie ter Stege, in the Motorite BAT, who were less than half a minute behind.
Former champions Marcus Taylor and Marc de Chalain, in the JRE Ford, also had a good day and were in control of Class B. The KZN crew were around 13 minutes ahead of Swaziland crew John Thompson and Clinton McNamara in the Zarco Lite.
Veteran crew Richard Schilling, a former Desert Race winner, and Chris Davies were also in a comfort zone. In a fine performance in the Plastotech Aceco the pair were sixth overall in the Special Vehicle category and around 25 minutes ahead of Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire in the Nashua Mobile BAT.
The race restarts on the outskirts of Gaborone at 07h30 tomorrow. The crews tackle the same route as today, but this time in reverse, with the finish at Game City in the Botswana capital.