Mmabatho: Mixed fortunes for Superteam

There were mixed fortunes for the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam on the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel 500, round four of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in North West Province over the weekend. The Superteam picked up its first ever ...

There were mixed fortunes for the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam on the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel 500, round four of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, in North West Province over the weekend.

The Superteam picked up its first ever Production Vehicle class win, and narrowly missed out on a second class victory. But the overall win the squad wanted on its own event eluded them on an event that took a heavy toll on man and machinery.

The class win came in Class F with Paolo Piazza-Musso and Scott Abraham giving the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam Jeep its first finish this season. The pair had to work hard, however, for their success.

"We ran into a string of rear brake problems that started on the prologue," said Piazza-Musso. "The vehicle has the potential to be a frontrunner, but something always seems to crop up and force us into retirement.

"The niggly little problems cropped up again on this event, but this time Scott and I were determined to finish come hell or high water. Just making it to the finish was a boost for us, and the class win was a bonus.

"Hopefully we can repeat the performance -- without the problems -- on the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga."

A second class win eluded the Superteam when Richard Carolin and Geoff Minnitt, in the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco ran into problems 20 kilometres from the finish. The pair were leading Class S when they strayed off the route and got caught up in some thick vegetation.

"We lost reverse gear somewhere along the route," said Carolin, "and had to manhandle the Raceco out of some thick bush. It was hard work, and by the time we got going again Frikkie Botha got past us to take the class win.

"It was a disappointing end, but we needed a good result and we'll go into the next event full of confidence."

There was disappointment, however, for Nissan Sugarbelt 400 winners and Class A frontrunners John Weir-Smith and Tony George, in the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam BMW Jimco, and Class B newcomer Rob Wark in the O'Hagan's / Kopanong Hotel Superteam Mighty Mag. Both teams ran into gearbox problems with Weir-Smith and George leading the Special Vehicle category early in the race.

"We were going well and had high hopes of the victory everyone in the team wanted," said Weir-Smith. "It would have been great to win our own event, but these things happen in off-road racing.

"The result saw us lose more ground in the championship, and we'll have to start playing catch-up."

The next event on the calendar for the Superteam is the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga on August 23 and 24. The route will be characterised by forest sections, and this offers something new for the off-road fraternity.

"It sounds like an interesting event," said Weir-Smith. "Racing in the forests will break new ground for us, but Tony and I need a win to get back into the championship race."

-msa-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Tony George