Mmabatho: Class D preview

A war within a war is brewing in Class D off the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, with the next skirmishes scheduled for the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel 500 in North West Province on July 26 and 27. Adding to a little tension that has gradually built...

A war within a war is brewing in Class D off the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, with the next skirmishes scheduled for the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel 500 in North West Province on July 26 and 27.

Adding to a little tension that has gradually built up over the opening three rounds of the Bankfin series, is the fact that no fewer than six manufacturers are combatants on the Class D battlefront. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Land Rover and Jeep are all involved in a category that is now hugely competitive.

Apart from that, however, Class D crews are first and second in the current Production Vehicle overall driver/co-driver championship, with Piet Haasbroek/Christo Bosch (Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser) leading the factory Nissan Hardbody crew of Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths. And, just to sweeten the pot a little, there are five Class D crews in the top 10 in the overall championship with Mark Corbett/Juan Mohr (Isuzu) in sixth place, brothers Henri and Maurice Zermatten (Playstation Mitsubishi Pajero) in ninth place and Marius and Tracey van Vuuren (Land Rover) in 10th spot.

After winning Class D and picking up overall top five placings on the Barberspan 500, Vryburg farmers Haasbroek and Bosch faltered on the Toyota Desert Race where they picked up mechanical problems. They were sixth overall and third in class behind Vos and Griffiths, who came storming through the field after problems on the prologue, and the Zermatten brothers.

The threat the Class D runners pose to the hi-tech 'Super Truck' entries in Class T is illustrated by the fact that on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, four Class D crews came in behind the three leading Class T vehicles. Vos and Griffiths, the Zermattens and Haasbroek/Bosch were followed by Shumie van Vuuren and Hennie ter Stege in the Kwa Nokeng Lodge Land Cruiser, with Class D providing five of the top 10 finishers.

The Class D frontrunners have had the legs on Class T privateers for most of the season. As expected the three overall wins so far have gone to Class T entries, but the factory teams have shown a reliability Achilles heel.

With Class D crews topping the Production Vehicle championship, Class T noses are already a little out of joint. All the major players in the Class D battle will in action on the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel 500 and, given the vagaries of motorsport, a Class D overall victory may not be too far down the road.

-msa-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Mark Corbett , Duncan Vos