PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP INTERESTINGLY POISED A hugely interesting situation at the top of the leader board in the Production Vehicle category, highlighted by anomalies in the scoring system, has developed in this year's Absa Off Road ...
PRODUCTION VEHICLE CHAMPIONSHIP INTERESTINGLY POISED
A hugely interesting situation at the top of the leader board in the Production Vehicle category, highlighted by anomalies in the scoring system, has developed in this year's Absa Off Road Championship.
While former champions Hannes Grobler and Francois Jordaan (Proudly South African Nisan Navara) lead the overall championship, another pair of former SA champions in Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer (Ford Racing Ranger) lead the premier Super Production Class. In the overall championship Grobler/Jordaan lead Woolridge/Skjoldhammer by eight points, while in the SP Class the Ford pair lead the Nissan pair by six points.
With two events left on the calendar it is all very interesting, and a little confusing, but in both championships the advantage lies with Grobler and Jordaan. The Ford combination have scored in every event so far this season, and must drop one result, something that gives the Nissan team a little breathing space.
Class E championship leader Manfred Schroder (Ford Racing Ranger) and Class D leader Chris Visser (Tyco Trucks Toyota Hilux) are third and fourth in the overall championship, but are too far back to be serious title challengers. Bevan Bertholdt (Castrol Toyota Hilux) is fifth among the drivers with only nine points separating Schroder and the two Toyota drivers.
Among the co-drivers Japie Badenhorst, who partners Visser, is third in the overall championship. There are, however, only six points separating Badenhorst, Ralph Pitchford (Proudly SA Nissan Navara) and Juan Mohr who partners Mark Corbett in the Century Property Developments Nissan Navara.
On the Class D front Visser and Badenhorst have a healthy 41 point advantage over Hugo and Jaap de Bruyn (Castrol Toyota Hilux) and Coetzee Labuscagne/Johan Gerber in the Raysonics Nissan Hardbody. A win on the recent Sun City 400 lifted the de Bruyn's up the leader board after they missed the Lesotho Sun 400.
Behind the de Bruyn and Labuscagne/Gerber combinations there is a tough scrap going on between Cliff and Louis Weichelt (Bosal Toyota Hilux) and Andre and Jurie du Plessis in the BB Auto Nissan Hardbody. The Weichelt's are seven points adrift of the de Bruyn's and Labus cagne/Gerber and just five points ahead of the du Plessis combination.
Down in Class E it looks as though something out of the ordinary will have to happen to stop Schroder and Ward Huxtable from walking off with the driver and co-driver titles. Huxtable is the more vulnerable of the two, but the Ford pair are very much the ones to beat in Class E.
Consistency has taken brothers Mark and Stuart Moffat (Bosal Toyota Hilux) into second place in Class E. They are, however, only two points clear of Jannie Visser, brother of Chris, and Joks le Roux (Toyota Hilux) who have also put together a string of impressive results since joining the fray.
Where the manufacturers are concerned a good return on the Sun City 400 saw Toyota increase their lead over perennial arch rivals Nissan. The gap is now 45 points and Toyota crews will be gearing up for a huge effort on the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga on October 27 and 28.
COX ON TRACK FOR YET ANOTHER SOUTH AFRICAN TITLE
Off road motorcycle legend Alfie Cox is on track to win yet another South African title in what has been a remarkable career on two and four wheels.
At the last count Cox was closing in on 30 SA championships, and the KwaZulu-Natalian now has a tight grip on the overall and Class A titles in the Special Vehicle category in this year's Absa Off Road Championship. After switching from two wheels to four wheels Cox last year won the Production Vehicle championship with Nissan, and winning the Special Vehicle title would give Cox a unique clean sweep.
In the overall championship Cox leads his Motorite BAT team-mate Brandon Harcus by 15 points with reigning champion Terence Marsh (Nashua Mobile BAT) a further 18 points adrift. A third Motorite BAT driver, Evan Hutchison, is in fourth place with Nick Harper (Kartek BAT) fifth.
Among the co-drivers Hennie Ter Stege, who partners Cox, has a healthy 33 point lead over Mike Whitehouse, who sits alongside Marsh. Achim Bergmann, paired with Hutchison, and Ryan Harper, who partners father Nick, are third and fourth with Collin Hunter (Wrapsa BAT) in fifth place.
It is much the same scenario in the Class A stakes. Here Cox again leads Harcus and Marsh among the drivers, while Ter Stege leads Whitehouse and Bergmann among the co-drivers.
A tight points battle has emerged in Class B with only 10 points separating the first three teams. Jan and Hendrik Kraaij (Keymax BAT), in their first year of off road racing, have a slender five point lead over veterans Ernest Corbett and Warwick Goosen (Century Property Developments BAT) who rocketed up the standings after successive wins on the Lesotho 400 and the Sun City 400.
Just five points behind Corbett/Goosen are the Adenco BAT pair of Bes Bezuidenhout and Johan de Bruyn. They have performed consistently throughout the season, and are by no means out of the championship picture.
Two successive wins, one with Gerhard Niemandt and the other with Richard Carolin, have given Nic Goslar (Kopanong Hotel Superteam Raceco), a more than healthy 29 point lead over reigning Class S drivers champion Richard Schilling in the Plastotech Aceco. Schilling and Chris Davies and the Nashua Mobile Raceco pair of Archie Rutherford and Craig Doubtfire were both excluded from the Sun City 400 results, and this did Goslar no harm at all.
Davies still leads the co-drivers but by a much reduced margin. He now has a slender seven point lead over Carolin with Doubtfire a further 14 points adrift.
With just two events remaining pre season predictions that there were going to be some tight Special vehicle championship battles are coming true. The next event is the Toyota Dealer 400 in Mpumalanga on October 27 and 28 and the stakes will be high for those in title contention.