GROBLER/JORDAAN (NISSAN) AND BRANDON HARCUS (BAT) HEAD ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 1 Former production car champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan established an early lead in the 2006 Absa Off Road Championship with a...
GROBLER/JORDAAN (NISSAN) AND BRANDON HARCUS (BAT) HEAD ABSA OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 1
Former production car champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan established an early lead in the 2006 Absa Off Road Championship with a win in the season-opening Nissan Dealer 400 in the Western Cape.
They lead the driver and co-driver points standings with a full-house 25 after taking the overall and new Super Production class honours in their Proudly South African Nissan Navara pickup.
Former champions Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer gave the brand new class SP 4.0 Ford Racing Ranger an encouraging debut in the Western Cape, finishing second overall and scoring 19 championship points.
Third overall and also third in class SP are former production car champion Duncan Vos and reigning co-driver champion Ralph Pitchford in Nissan Motorsport's second 4-litre V6 Navara.
They have 15 points from their fighting third place in the Nissan Dealer 400 overall after winning the 40-km prologue in Darling.
Fourth overall with 12 points are production vehicle rookie Bevan Bertholdt and former co-driver champion Robin Houghton in the Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i entered in class D. Mark Cronje rolled the new class SP 4.0 V6 Castrol Toyota Hilux in testing and was unable to start the event.
Bertholdt, who will share a second class SP 4.0 V6 Hilux with Houghton from the Nissan Sugarbelt 400, has left behind a successful career in the Special Vehicle category to try his hand in production vehicles and made an impressive start.
Fifth in the points standings with 11 points and leading class D after the first event are reigning class E champions Chris Visser and Japie Badenhorst in their Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux. Circuit racer Brian Martin, in his first season of off road racing and Ockie Fourie are sixth overall with 10 points and first in class E in their Castrol Toyota Hilux 2.7i.
Second in class D and eighth overall with eight points are privateers Coetzee Labuschagne and Johan Gerber in their Raysonics Nissan Hardbody. Third in class and ninth overall are Kobus van Tonder and Riaan Guelpa (Mitsubishi Pajero) with seven points.
Second in class E and 7th overall are former champion and reigning class D champion Manfred Schroder and Ward Huxtable in a Ford Racing Ranger Diesel. Third in class and 11th overall are former circuit racer Fabio Tafani and Mike Baron (Club Refrigeration Toyota Hilux) with 5 points.
Jaco Swanepoel and Graham Bishop in the IDM Cement Toyota Hilux were the only other production car team to score points in the Nissan Dealer 400, finishing fourth in class E and 12th and last overall to earn four points.
Special Vehicle veteran Brandon Harcus pulled off an impressive win in his single seater Motorite Racing BAT in the season opener in the Western Cape and leads the points standings with 25.
Second are reigning champions Terence Marsh and brother-in-law Michael Whitehouse (Nashua Mobile Racing BAT) with 19 points ahead of Colin Mathews and Juan Mohr (Century Property Development BAT) who have 15 points.
Fourth overall and fourth in class A are John Moore and former champion co-driver Ashley Thorne (Koloi Chev) with 12 points. Fifth in class A and eighth overall are Giel Nel and Johan Smalberger (Bosal Luk Truggy Zarco) with eight points, ahead of James Kennerley and Colin Howell (BAT) with seven points.
Bez Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruyn (Adenco Sandmaster), who won class B in the Western Cape and finished fifth overall, have 11 points. Second in class B and sixth overall are Century Property Development's Ernest Corbett and son-in-law Warwick Goosen in their BAT with 10 points. Third in class B and 11th overall are John Thompson and Clinton McNamara (Zarco Lite) with five points, ahead of Jan and Hendrik Kraaij ((BAT) with four points.
Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire (Nashua Mobile Racing BAT) took class S honours in the opening round and are seventh overall with nine points. Nic Goslar and Richard Carolin (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco) are second in class S and 10th overall with six points. Third in class S and 13th overall are Limpopo's Naeem Moosajee and Naazim Moti (Tyre Rack Raceco Chev) with four points.
Perennial rivals Nissan and Toyota jointly lead the Manufacturers' Championship with 48 points from Ford (28) and Mitsubishi (7).
The next round of the Absa Off Road Championship is the Nissan Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu Natal on May 5 and 6.