Moreca: Championship battles delicately poised

Championship battles in various categories in the Bankfin Off-Road Championship are delicately poised after the Toyota Dealer 400 -- round five of the series -- at Sun City recently. The next event on the calendar is the Caledon 400 on September...

Championship battles in various categories in the Bankfin Off-Road Championship are delicately poised after the Toyota Dealer 400 -- round five of the series -- at Sun City recently.

The next event on the calendar is the Caledon 400 on September 27 and 28, and with three events remaining a number of championship battles, as was the case last season, look set to go all the way to the wire. At the end of the season, however, all competitors have to drop their worst score over the eight rounds, and in one or two cases this adds an interesting slant to current championship positions.

As matters stand the hardest hit by the 'drop an event' ruling is Eastern Cape veteran Greg Harvey in the Castrol Queen Motor Spares Jimco. Current points give Harvey a three point lead over Greg Daus (Nashua Mobile Racing Raceco) in the overall drivers championship in the Special Vehicle category.

Harvey and co-driver Boy Stone, however, have a 100 percent finish record this season and have to drop one score. On this basis Harvey, who so far has to drop 12 points, slips to second place where he trails Daus by nine points.

In the co-drivers overall title race Stone is more fortunate in that Daus has so far this season used three different co-drivers. Dropping 12 points still keeps Stone six points ahead of Marc de Chalain who shares the Truck Time JRE running in Class B with Marcus Taylor.

Also hard hit by the one event drop are current Production Vehicle championship leaders Duncan Vos and Mike Griffiths, in the factory Nissan Hardbody, and Mark Corbett and Juan Mohr in the Century Property Developments Isuzu with both crews running in Class D. Both teams have 100 percent finish records this season with Vos and Griffiths so far having to drop 26 points and Corbett/Mohr 14 points.

Current points give Vos and Griffiths a 31 point lead over former champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer in the works Ford Racing Ranger. The dropped points, however, cut the gap to just five points.

Working on current points Corbett and Mohr are fourth in the overall championship, sponsored by Bankfin, the specialist vehicle finance division of ABSA Bank, behind Vos/Griffiths/ Woolridge/Skjoldhammer and Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser pair Piet Haasbroek and Christo Bosch. By dropping 14 points, however, Corbett and Mohr slip all the way down to eighth place.

The unfortunate Corbett and Mohr are also hard done by in the Class D championship. Current points place them third behind Vos/Griffiths and Haasbroek/Bosch, but once the dropped points are taken into account they also fall behind Playstation Mitsubishi pair Henri and Maurice Zermatten.

The dropped points system is also a bit of a headache for reigning Class B champion Giel Nel, in the Luk Africa Truggy, who also has a 100 percent finish record this season and so far must drop 10 points. While this does not change Nel's current fourth place in the overall drivers championship in the Special Vehicle championship, it drops him 10 points behind Taylor in the class title race.

If one ignores the dropped points scenario, Vos and Griffiths currently lead the Production Vehicle drivers and co-drivers championships ahead of Woolridge/Skjoldhammer and Haasbroek/Bosch. Harvey and Stone lead the Special Vehicle championships ahead of Daus and Taylor on the drivers side and de Chalain and Anton Lombard where the co-drivers are concerned.

In the Class championships Woolridge and Skjoldhammer lead factory Nissan Hardbody crews Giniel de Villiers and Francois Jordaan and Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke. The Nissan crews have between them won four of the five events this season, but three seconds and a third have given the factory Ford Ranger crew a six point cushion.

Vos and Griffiths lead Haasbroek and Bosch in Class D with Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Toyota Hilux) continuing to hold off reigning champions Manfred Schroder and Jack Peckham in the factory Ford Racing Ranger. The de Bruyns picked up their first non finish of the season at Sun City, but were boosted by the fact that Schroder and Peckham also failed to see out the distance.

On the Special Vehicle front Harvey and Stone lead Class A with a dogfight in full swing in the drivers championship. Behind Harvey only two points separate Atang Makgekgenene (SAM Racing Jimco), Laurence du Plessis (Mobil Jimco) and John Weir-Smith in the O'Hagan's/Kopanong Hotel Superteam BMW Jimco.

Taylor and Nel are level pegging in the drivers championship in Class B, but where the co-drivers are concerned de Chalain is well clear of the opposition. De Chalain has a 51 point lead over Francois Smit and Tim Smook and looks assured of taking the title.

Daus has a 13 point cushion over Billy Bond, in the Prolong Raceco in the drivers championship in Class S, with the co-drivers title chase a closer affair. Here Anton Lombard, who sits alongside Bond, is seven points clear of Trevor Ormerod who is one of the three co-drivers utilized so far this season by Daus.

-msa-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Giniel de Villiers , Mark Corbett , Duncan Vos