Sun City 400 summary

Nissan swamped the opposition on the Sun City 400, round six of the SA Off Road Car Racing Championship...presented by Absa, in the Pilanesberg area this weekend by finishing first and second overall in the Production Vehicle category and first...

Nissan swamped the opposition on the Sun City 400, round six of the SA Off Road Car Racing Championship...presented by Absa, in the Pilanesberg area this weekend by finishing first and second overall in the Production Vehicle category and first and second overall in the Special Vehicle category and winning four classes.

There was no stopping Production Vehicle Championship leaders Hannes Grobler and Richard Leeke in the Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody who stormed across the line almost sixteen minutes ahead of Special Vehicle category winners Gary Bertholdt and Brandon Harcus in the Nissan V6 powered Adrenalise Corporate Entertainment BAT. The BAT pair picked up their second consecutive victory in what was a triumph for a locally designed and constructed off-road racing vehicle.

Reigning Production Vehicle champions Duncan Vos and Mike Griffith finished third overall and second in the Production Vehicle category in the Proudly South African Nissan Hardbody and were followed across the line by Clint Gibson in the Class B Nissan 2 litre powered Praesidium Financial Services BAT. Gibson recorded his third successive Class B win but this time without co-driver Mike Brown who was forced to withdraw after the Prologue because his 18-month old child was admitted to hospital on Friday.

Class E championship leaders Mark Cronje and Chris Birkin (Castrol Toyota Hilux 2700i) had matters all their own way in the Class E battle and despite three punctures they finished fifth overall, third in the Production Vehicle category and first in Class E.

Hein Grobler and Gerhard Prinsloo gave Nissan their fourth class win when they crossed the line sixth overall and first in Class D in the GBS Racing Nissan Hardbody. Teammates Coetzee Labuschagne and Johan Gerber finished second in Class D while MC Coetzee and Johan Liebenberg rolled out of contention and JP and Linda Augustin retired with suspension problems.

Months of development finally bore fruit for the Nashua Mobile Racing team when Terence Marsh and Trevor Ahier finished seventh overall, third overall in the Special Vehicle category and second in Class A. They were followed thirteen minutes later by John Moore and Fred Werner in the Class A Shell Connix Chenowth who are now contenders for the Class A championship after Atang Makgekgenene and Vic Campher (Total SAM Racing Jimco) and Gerald Mundell and Billy Bond (Prolong BAT) retired with engine and gearbox problems respectively.

Veteran Kassie Coetzee and new father Ockie Fourie finished ninth overall, fifth in the Production Vehicle category and second in Class E in the Castrol Toyota Hilux KZ-TE. Brothers Jurie and Andre du Plessis finished tenth overall, sixth in the Production Vehicle category and third in Class E in the BB Auto Nissan Hardbody.

The battle for the Production Vehicle honours was one of epic proportions with the Nissans of Grobler/Leeke, Vos/Griffith and Giniel de Villiers/Francois Jordaan, the Team Ford Racing Ranger of Neil Woolridge and Ken Skjoldhammer and the Castrol Toyota Land Cruiser of Apie Reyneke and Robin Houghton locked in battle for the first two 130km laps. De Villiers and Jordaan broke three drive shafts, Woolridge and Skjoldhammer lost the power steering on the third lap and then the battery internals collapsed and the gearbox on the Reyneke and Houghton Toyota failed, forcing all three crews into retirement.

Belgian Gregoire de Mevius and 'VZ' van Zyl had a torrid time in the Prologue and started the main event in 33rd position but they eventually got to grips with the Audi V8 powered Adrenalise Corporate Entertainment BAT and had moved up to ninth overall at the end of the first lap. De Mevius later retired with severe abdominal cramp.

Only 21 of the 68 entrants made it to the finish of what many rate as the toughest race of the season to date.

<pre> Production Vehicle results: 1. Hannes Grobler/Richard Leeke Nissan Class T 2. Duncan Vos/Mike Griffith Nissan Class T 3. Mark Cronje/Chris Birkin Toyota Class E 4. Hein Grobler/Gerhard Prinsloo Nissan Class D 5. Kassie Coetzee/Ockie Fourie Toyota Class E 6. Jurie du Plessis/Andre du Plessis Nissan Class E 7. Arnold du Plessis/George Baker Nissan Class D 8. Scott Abraham/Richard Carolin Jeep Class T 9. Coetzee Labuschagne/Johan Gerber Nissan Class D

Special Vehicle results: 1. Gary Bertholdt/Brandon Harcus BAT Class A 2. Clint Gibson BAT Class B 3. Terence Marsh/Trevor Ahier Jimco Class A 4. John Moore/Fred Werner Chenowth Class A 5. Rashid Noble/Faizal Noble Aceco Class A 6. Marcus Taylor/Marc de Chalain JRE Class B 7. Giel Nel Truggy Class B 8. Sam Moolla/Feroz Doodah Jimco Class A 9. Bez Bezuidenhout/Deon Bezuidenhout Sandmaster Class B 10. Mohammed Noor/Mohammed Moultsen Raceco Class S 11. Nic Goslar/Warren Bowie Raceco Class S 12. Andrew Fulton/Janet Fulton Sandmaster Class B

-msa-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Mike Brown , Giniel de Villiers , Gregoire de Mevius , John Moore , Duncan Vos