Two more top names have been added to the small band of competitors who will be hoping for a winning return to Sun City on the Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, at Sun City this weekend. Production Vehicle and...
Two more top names have been added to the small band of competitors who will be hoping for a winning return to Sun City on the Toyota Dealer 400, round five of the Bankfin Off-Road Championship, at Sun City this weekend.
Production Vehicle and Class T championship contenders Hannes Grobler and Neil Woolridge, from the Nissan and Ford stables respectively, won the Sun City 400 when it was still part of the national championship. Grobler, partnered by Piet Swanepoel who is now president of the Motorsport South Africa Off-Road Car Racing Commission, won in 1986 in a Nissan Safarai, and 10 years later Woolridge won with Paul Vermaak in a Nissan Sani.
Now a little further research has revealed that Springboks Kassie Coetzee and Richard Leeke won the Production Vehicle category on the 1995 Sun City 400. Coetzee and Leeke did the trick in the Castrol Toyota Hilux known affectionately to Toyota Motorsport technicians and crews as Fred.
Coetzee won't be a contender for overall honours this time around, but will be hoping for a win in Class E where he and Okkie Fourie campaign the Castrol Toyota Condor. Another of those drivers equally at home in an off-road or rally car, Coetzee was awarded Springbok colours in 1980 for his rally exploits.
Leeke and Swanepoel have the distinction of being the only competitors ever to have won overall both the South African rally and off-road co-drivers championships. Leeke won the rally championship in 1977 and the off-road title in 1984, while Swanepoel won both the rally and off-road championships with Grobler in 1986.
It is an ironic twist that this weekend Leeke will be teaming up with Grobler in the factory entered Nissan Hardbody. The pair already have one Production Vehicle win in the bag this season -- on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race -- and will be hoping that another Toyota sponsored event will produce another victory.