There will be happy Sun City memories for championship contender Hannes Grobler when he returns to the Pilansberg resort for the Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, on Friday and Saturday (30/31 August). The 1986...
There will be happy Sun City memories for championship contender Hannes Grobler when he returns to the Pilansberg resort for the Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, on Friday and Saturday (30/31 August).
The 1986 Sun City 400 saw Grobler make his off-road debut in a Nissan Safari. Partnered by Piet Swanepoel, now president of the MSA Off-Road Car Racing Commission, Grobler won the Production Car category first time out.
Grobler, in fact, turned out to be a fast learner. So fast that he and Swanepoel won the 1986 Production Car championship.
In what was a memorable year for Grobler and Swanepoel, the pair for good measure also won the South African Rally Championship. Grobler added a second national rally title to his Curriculum Vitae in 1991, and more recently picked up a couple of national Group N titles.
When you think of Grobler you think Nissan, and the tubby little man from Schoemansville was also no slouch went it comes to pedaling a variety of Nissan products around South African racing circuits. Grobler drove a variety of Group N machinery, and in the early days of Touring Car racing in South Africa was a member of the Nissan squad -- and picked up a lone win in the pre Nissan Primera/Giniel de Villiers era.
Ever cheerful Grobler is one of the most likeable people in motorsport and there will be no shortage of people hoping his return to Sun City this weekend will produce another win in a long and distinguished career.
Grobler is not alone, however, in hoping for a winning return to Sun City. Ten years after Grobler's maiden win former South African champion Neil Woolridge, partnered by Paul Vermaak, won the event in a Nissan Sani.
Woolridge, now partnered by Kenny Skjoldhammer in the Ford Racing Ranger, has the distinction of winning national off-road titles on two wheels and four wheels. The Woolridge/Skjoldhammer combination currently lead the Class T championship, but will be looking for their first win of the season in the Toyota Dealer 400 at Sun City.